Letting go of things you no longer need or that don't make you happy can create valuable physical and emotional space around you. In her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Ten Speed Press, 2014), Japanese master organizer Marie Kondo illuminates some strategies for living the life you want by getting your environment unstuck and free of clutter. When we put our house in order it gives clarity on what else in our lives we need to put in order or take action on. It's empowering.
How we care for the place we live and the place we work in is a reflection of our self-esteem. A cluttered, messy house can make people anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. Kondo suggests that she has seen big emotional, career and family improvements as she helps her clients weed through their belongings and houses. Perhaps by identifying what in our houses, closets and bookshelves really inspires us and makes us happy we can cut to the core of our truest self.
Marie Kondo suggests we don't make "tidying up" an everyday occurrence. If we do it right and eliminate the places where stuff gathers and reduce the amount of stuff we have, we may be able to create a home for needed and loved items and only "tidy up" a time or two each year. It's a special event. How do we transform our lives through clearing space? Here are a few of her practical suggestions:
1. Start with your clothes. Gather them all up. Put them into categories: coats, jackets, shirts, pants, dresses, shorts, sweaters, socks, shoes, etc. Go through one category at a time.
2. Discard first.
3. Discard alone. Family members may want to deter you or steer you off course.
4. Sort through all like items at the same time by gathering them all together in one room with you.
5. For selection criteria: Does it spark joy? (If yes, save. If no, discard.) Is it broken or beyond repair?
( If yes, discard.)
6. Don't start with mementos, it will slow you down.
7. With your books, identify those that go in your hall of fame. These books really mean something to you. Donate the rest.
8. Keep all papers only in one spot. Categorize into: currently use, needed for a limited period of time and keep indefinitely. Consider shredding and letting go of old paperwork you really don't need.
9. Miscellaneous items: keep only if you love them. This includes CDs, DVDs, accessories, skincare and grooming products, makeup. household cleaning products, kitchen items and food items, electrical appliances, loose change and valuables like passports and credit cards.
10. Save photos for last.
11. Make a place or home for each thing you are saving.
12. Floor space is valuable. Don't take up floor space with things that can be neatly housed in a closet.
I liked The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up very much. It helps the reader to reflect on our home and office and think of it as sacred space. Honoring yourself with breathing space is a great beginning to step to moving through any life transition. It can help you to have clarity about what's really important and feel empowered to focus on the most essential things.