The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

On a recommendation from a friend, I've started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. (There aren't photos or diagrams, so feel free to grab the Kindle version.)

I was skeptical that I even needed to read this book. I've moved 13 times in 3 years, and purged dozens of garbage bags of unwanted clothes, books, jewelry, and stuff in the process. Every few months I gather items around the house and take them down the street to the Salvation Army.

Everything in my home has a place, and we aim to put items back where they belong. So why does it still feel like we're going to be swallowed alive by clutter? Stacks of mail, piles of books, random power cords and matchbooks and vases and...okay, enough. I need this book.

Marie talks about making this great change in your home all at once, quickly and suddenly, so you don't even have time to ponder it and lose steam. The first step is to discard all of the things in your home that don't bring you joy. “I can do that,” I thought. I woke up this morning ready to roll up my sleeves and get all this junk out of my house now.

Then I read that it usually takes about six months for this process to be complete. Six months?! I thought this was going to be done today. Just when I was ready to chuck the book and fall back into my old decluttering tactics, which clearly aren't working, Marie asks you to consider why you bought this book in the first place.

I picked up this book because I want to live in a creative home. Spacious, clean, comforting. It looks like a lot less stuff and a lot more light. I need more open space to have more open thoughts. I need more open thoughts to expand my mind. I need to expand my mind to be a better artist. I need my home to support me being an artist. 

It's true that no matter how many times I put things away, they always ooze out again. I guess that's how I know I really need this book, even if I don't want to admit it.

Following the rules of this book will be good for me in a philosophical sense. I'm always in a hurry to get to the end, whether it's learning a new skill or trying a new craft. I don't like following instructions. I never make it through tutorials. Just following Marie's advice to the letter will be a struggle for me. But, like most things in life, the things we don't like doing are the things we should be doing. 

So far that looks like this:

Bad bad so bad. Must stick to the process.