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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

by Marie Kondō

Tidying up isn’t just about cleaning the house; it’s also about detoxifying the space you live in so you can have a clear, healthy mind. When you tidy up, you hone your decision-making skills by deciding what to keep and what to discard, learn a little bit more about your gut instincts and yourself, and give yourself a nice environment in which to spend time. Plus, once your home is clean, you will be able to focus on the things that really matter to you without the distraction of unnecessary clutter.

Summary Notes

Chapters 1 and 2: Why Can’t I Keep My House In Order?

Tidying brings visible results. Tidying never lies.

There are classes on almost everything—from meditation to economics to cooking, nearly every skill has a teacher willing to teach it and students willing to learn it—except for the skill of tidying. It is generally assumed that knowing how to properly tidy up is an innate ability, or that it is naturally learned when growing up. However, this is not the case, most people have no idea how to properly tidy up after themselves.

The biggest problem most people have with tidying up is that the neatness they achieve rarely lasts for long. Soon enough, their house is in the same mess it was before they started tidying. Proper tidying skills will ensure that your living space is always tidy, which reduces your workload in the long run.

What truly holds people back from tidying properly is their mindset. It’s often difficult for us to part with the things that are cluttering up our homes, but when we discard them, we free ourselves from the mess they bring. We need to learn to throw away the things we don’t need and the things that don’t bring us joy. After all, once you get into the right mindset to tidy up, you’ll have no problem keeping your house neat and free of clutter.

Skills to acquire

Chapters 3 and 5: Tidying By Category Works Like Magic

The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.

Tidying is fun! When you tidy by category, starting from the easiest to the hardest things to tidy up, you make the process a whole lot simpler and you will definitely enjoy yourself. While it may seem like a daunting and impossible task at first—and this is especially true for those with particularly messy houses—as you go through the process of tidying up and begin to reduce your belongings, you will come to a point where it all just “clicks.” Basically, you will instinctively know how many of your belongings are necessary for you to be happy. Then, you will have no problem discarding the rest.

Tidying up can also provide insight into what you really like and who you truly are. As a big part of tidying is discarding the things that do not bring us joy, what we are left with will show us what does bring us joy. Plus, tidying up will hone your decision-making abilities and as a result, turn you into a more confident person. It will reduce your stress as you will no longer panic when you can’t find something. When you have a tidy home, you know exactly where everything is! Truly, keeping a neat and tidy home has benefits far beyond the aesthetic appeal.

Skills to acquire

Chapter 4: Storing Your Things To Make Your Life Shine

Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong.

Designating a specific spot for everything that you own is absolutely essential in maintaining a tidy home. You must establish a routine to follow every time you step into your house that involves storing each item of yours in a specific spot. Not only will this make it a lot easier to find things when you need them, it will reduce clutter and keep your house neat and tidy at all times.

Another factor in maintaining a tidy home is learning how to store your items. For example, storing things side by side will ensure that your items are easy to view and retrieve. Properly folding your clothes will maximize the space in your closet. Following these tips will make the maintenance of a tidy house so much easier.

Skills to acquire

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