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Steve Alvest


Change Your Life with the Magic of Tidying Up


This list was adapted from an article on my website, Shock Notes.

In The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, decluttering expert Marie Kondo teaches how you can clear the clutter out of your life so you can focus only on the things that “spark joy.”

Tidying and simplifying your home will help you discover your true passions. Being surrounded only by the things that spark joy in your life makes you happy.

Here are my favorite takeaways:

    1. The two steps for tidying

    There are really only two steps involved in tidying: discarding and deciding where to keep things. Discarding anything that does not spark joy in your life must come first. Do not start putting things away until you have finished discarding. That is because putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.

    2. Your clothing

    The recommended first step of tidying your home is to gather every article of clothing from your entire house and throw it all into one giant pile in the middle of the floor. Then take each item from the pile one by one into your hand and ask, “does this spark joy?” If not, discard it. If it does, keep it.

    3. The ideal way to store clothing

    The ideal way to store clothing is to fold each item into a smooth, neat rectangle and stand them up inside a drawer with the spine facing out, just like books on a bookshelf.

    4. Discard unread books

    It’s safe to say that any book on your bookshelf that you haven’t read yet will probably never be read. Discard all of your unread books. If you regret discarding a book (which is unlikely), simply buy it again, and this time read it immediately. The only books worth keeping are the small collection that is part of your “hall of fame.”

    5. Papers

    As a rule of thumb: discard any papers that aren’t currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely. The exception is sentimental papers like love letters or diaries, which you would treat as sentimental items. Simply file your papers into two collections: papers that need to be dealt with, and papers that need to be saved.

    6. Don't cheat

    Don’t cheat and store mementos at your parents’ home. If you store things outside of your home, you need to sort through and tidy those as well.

    7. A place for everything

    Designate a place for each thing you own. Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, focus on reducing the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.

    8. No piles

    Never pile things. Always store things vertically, as you would put books vertically on a bookshelf. Anything that can be stood up should be stored vertically.

    9. Empty your pockets

    Completely empty your bag and pockets every day upon returning home. This includes purses.

    10. Your personal shrine

    Make the top shelf of a bookcase your personal shrine. Use that spot to store all of your special charms and lucky items.

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