Possessions can become a weight on our shoulders. Decluttering can be a liberating experience, restoring the time formerly spent looking for lost items, and releasing us from the burden of untidiness. Most importantly, it allows us to fully appreciate the possessions that we love, and often inspires a renewed enthusiasm and energy in other areas of our lives.
In her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, author Marie Kondo shares her secrets to organising your home.
1. Tackle categories, not rooms.
It's dispiriting to sort out the books in one room, only to later discover another pile hidden on a bookcase in a spare room. Marie recommends gathering every item of that category into one big pile. She suggests beginning with clothes - the items least likely to hold nostalgic or sentimental value. Go through your home, room by room, and gather up every single piece of clothing that you own. It's only when you are confronted by every coat you own, or every T shirt, that you realise how many almost identical or unused items there are.
2. What to keep and what to discard.
The next step is the difficult one. Marie feels that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask, “Does this spark joy in me?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge. This way, you will end up surrounded only by possessions that you love and treasure.
3. Follow the right order.
It is: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany) and finally, sentimental items. Have you ever come across old photos while tidying and found that hours have passed whilst you were looking at them? This is very common, and clearly illustrates the point of tidying in the proper order, which is designed to help you hone your ability to distinguish what sparks joy. Clothes are ideal for practising this skill, while photos and other sentimental items are the epitome of what you should not touch until you have perfected it.
4. Discard before you put things back.
You must discard first. Don’t put anything away until everything you are going to discard is removed.
5. Designate a Place for Everything.
This is the difference between people who always lose their keys, glasses and wallets, and those who rarely lose anything. When everything you own has a “home,” there’s never a question about where you put it. And if a thing is forever “homeless,” you may not really need that thing in your life.