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The Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

by Lihong McPhail

Marie Kondo is a famous Japanese consultant who stars on the Netflix original TV shows “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”, which are based on her bestselling book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. Each show centers around how Marie changes the life of one family by applying her approach to clean and organize their living space. Marie believes that people can't change their habits without first changing their way of thinking. Before you start tying up, you need to get into a mindset of having your living space for the person you are becoming now, not for the person you were in the past. What makes her approach unique is that she always begins with a short meditation with the family. They greet and thank their living space for providing them a safe, warm, and comfortable place. Next I will summarize three key rules that make her approach effective.

The first and the most important rule of tidying up, is to only keep things that spark joy and discard things that don’t. Her organizing approach starts with clothing. You take out all your clothing items and put them in one pile. Then you go through these clothing items one by one and keep the clothing item that sparks joy and thank the item that doesn’t spark joy and discard them. As she pointed out,"The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past." After organizing all your clothes, you can move to the next task. Don't move onto the next task until you completely finish the previous task.

The second rule of her approach is to organize in a way that you can see every item you own. When the items we own are not visible, we tend not to use them, which makes them clutter; or we buy more of the items that we already have. Her specific folding method allows clothing items to stand up in your drawer and you can easily see them. For other non-clothing items, she suggests to use clear bins to store them, so you can easily see what’s in these bins.

The third rule of her approach is for every item to have its home. For example, every item in the Kitchen needs to have its own home. After you use these items, please return them back to their home. For families with kids, toys need to have their homes too.

To summarize, Marie’s approach begins decluttering and cleaning by showing gratitude to your house. keep only things that spark joy and ensure everything has its place that is visible. These simple rules can be life changing because they provide extremely helpful guidance for tidying up your living space."A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming."

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