The Tidying Technique That Will Make You Happier

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  • In the past month, 31-year old Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm with her revolutionary ‘KonMarie’ (based on her nickname) tidying technique.

    Her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, has sold over 5 million copies on five continents, spawning legions of ‘Konvert’s and seeing Kondo named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people. Even celebrities from Jamie Lee Curtis to Kate Hudson have sung her praise.

    Do you feel like you’re always tidying, but never getting anywhere? Kondo believe that tidying is something to be learned, and doesn’t need to be done everyday, just once or twice a year. It’s all about holding onto items that “spark joy”, and thanking unwanted possessions for their services before chucking them out.

    Although her instructions are clear, they aren’t as regimented as you might think. Kondo writes, “focus…on choosing things that inspire joy and on enjoying life according to your own standards.” She believes that we can all achieve happiness, reduce stress and even lose weight by following her method. Some of her clients have shed pounds since culling their homes of unwanted possessions, a side-effect Kondo attributes to increased activity and a change in mindset towards mindless eating.

    Can the ‘KonMarie’ method help YOU change your tidying habits and achieve happiness? Read on for five top tips from Marie Kondo’s book to help you get started…

    Don’t rely on storage

    You may think it makes sense to find storage solutions to tidy your possessions, but Kondo warns against this, saying that “putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.” First, you must discard the items that do not “spark joy”, then find ways to store what you have kept.

    Sort by category rather than location

    Don’t think ‘I’ll start with the bedroom, then work on the kitchen’, as we tend to store similar items in more than one location. For optimum efficiency, Kondo advises that we tidy by category in this order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items.

    Choose an exact location to store every item

    Whilst this sounds complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually fairly simple once you’ve sorted through your possessions. “The reason every item must have a designated place,” Kondo writes, “is because the existence of an item without a home multiples the chances that your space will become cluttered again.” Since you’ve sorted through items that belong to the same category, it’s just a matter of storing them near each other.

    ‘Sometime’ means ‘never’

    It may be one of the trickiest tasks, but it’s essential to rid yourself of items such as books that you keep because you ‘may read them sometime’. If they aren’t fulfilling their purpose of being read, then they’re unnecessary and add to your clutter problem. Similarly with clothes, be wary of demoting lesser-worn clothes to ‘loungewear’ or ‘just for the house’ – if they aren’t treasured and don’t bring you joy, throw them out.

    How to deal with other people’s mess

    Focus on your own possessions, and don’t throw out something that isn’t yours without permission. Set an example with your tidying, and hopefully, your family should follow in your footsteps. Also, don’t unload your unwanted items onto other people – if you don’t need it, neither do your family or friends.

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo, £10.99, is out now.

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