I don’t talk about books too often here on GG (Side note: Would you like if I shared more books? Spill your thoughts. Ready, go. ) but despite this fact, I felt very compelled to publicly gush about Marie Kondo’s books after recently finishing her second one, Spark Joy.
You may have heard of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven’t read it yet, well, it’s–well, magical. I highly recommend reading this first, and then moving onto Spark Joy. You can think of the first as the introduction to the Kon-Mari method, and the latter as a more detailed, step-by-step guide.
I read both of these books over the span of a few hours, and they’ve it completely changed how I view the “things” that I own. Both, essentially, discuss the importance of keeping only the things in your life that bring you joy, and discarding the rest.
While I admittedly haven’t had the time to yet implement everything I learned in her books, I can’t even express how much organizational knowledge I’ve soaked up from simply reading them. (And when I do eventually turn my apartment upside down to Kon-Mari everything, you know there will be a step by step blog post about it.)
Here are five of the unexpected lessons I learned from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy.
1. Buying organizational bins will not make you organized
Gasp! It doesn’t?! Suddenly everything is clear.
This is a struggle I’ve had all my life. Every few years I decide I’m going to turn over a new leaf and “be organized,” so I go out and buy all these fancy organizers–plastic bins, drawers, dividers, different racks, organizational cubes–you name it. Two days later, it looks like a bomb went off again. I was hopeless. (Has this ever happened to you?)
Well, the Kon-Mari method taught me, essentially, that you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig! The only way to get rid of said pig is to throw out all that crap that has been piling up in your closet for years. No fancy bins are going to help something that is already helpless. Organizers, in fact, do not make you an organized person. (And also, save your money, and store your things in shoeboxes instead.)
2. Throw out everything that doesn’t make you happy
The underlying theme of both of these books is to keep only what “sparks joy.” The process of determining this involves dumping everything you own out in one place (one category at a time), holding each item in your hands, and asking yourself if it makes you happy. If not, get rid of it. When you’re done, you’re only surrounded by things you absolutely love. There is no unnecessary excess, and therefore, your home is no longer messy and cluttered.
3. Feel better about chucking sentimental items by “thanking them” before you put them in the “give away” pile
This is a big one. I always keep gifts that people have given me even if I don’t like them. I truly appreciate them, but I don’t really like them, and oh my goodness do they pile up fast. You can accept the love that was once in the gesture (you know, those “it’s the thought that counts” gifts?) and thank the item for making you happy at one time, but its job is now finished, and because it no longer makes you happy anymore…BYE!
This method also works great for things like the 15 old sorority t-shirts I have piled up in my drawers. Let’s be honest, how many IU Tridelt t-shirts does one need? But it’s been so hard to give them away because there are so many memories tied to them. This book helped me see that just because you discard the item doesn’t mean you’re getting rid of the memories!
4. You’ve been folding your clothes ALL WRONG. Forever.
Well, crap. It would appear that I’ve been folding my clothes wrong ALL my life. No wonder my drawers are always a giant mess, even after I do laundry. I’ve given up on folding my stuff all together. Half my t-shirts are just stuffed in there unfolded. Goop actually has a really awesome article that includes little gifs on the Kon-Mari method of folding! I have to admit I have not yet implemented this method in my closet, but I’ve used it while packing with MAJORLY great results! (You can fit so much more in your suitcase that way!)
5. Beautiful and functional wins every time
Friends and family think I’m crazy for being such a stickler for pretty things. I don’t care if something is functional or not, it still needs to be pretty. I don’t care if it’s a water pitcher or a salad bowl or a tea kettle–if it doesn’t give me joy when I look at it, I don’t want it in my house. So often we choose function over form, and it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. There are too many options out there, there is no excuse for buying any item that doesn’t fit in both categories. The lesson that these books taught me is that I’m in fact not crazy in my views here–it makes sense! In this instance, you can have your cake and eat it too, so don’t settle for anything less.