Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Book Review - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo

Both my husband and I are messy people. There I said it.

I used to think it was mostly him, he would think it was mostly me, I would blame it on genetics, or being too busy or having a small house, but there was really no getting away from the fact that we are messy and and things were not getting any better.

Then I came across this book through one of the blogs I follow and it really is life changing.  I have not completed the whole process yet, but we are getting there.  One really important message I got from the book was that if you are a messy person it's not your fault, you aren't lazy, you aren't missing the gene for being tidy, in actual fact you just never learnt how to be tidy.

After reading this it seemed obvious.  My mum won't be offended when I say I grew up in a messy house (though the insides of her cupboards were always immaculate!). Through no fault of my own and no intention of my parents I failed to acquire those skills necessary for keeping my house in the style that I so envy in our friends.

So when I came across a book that not only claimed to be able to teach me how to be tidy, but to be tidy for the rest of my life, I thought I must be onto a winner.

The basic principle in the book is to go through all your things, hold each one in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy.  If it does you keep it and if it doesn't you get rid of it thanking if and wishing it well.

Marie Kondo gives you an order in which to go through your things, clothes, books, paper work, miscellaneous items and sentimental items.

I have been through the first three categories, but stuck on the third because it is so vast.  I keep re-addressing the first three categories and getting rid of more things that I felt I needed to keep the first time round.

So far it's been a great experience, I have got rid of almost all my paperwork, including all my notes from my degree and teacher training, I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to keep them! I also got rid of all my old bank statements and pay slips (keeping anything essential).  I got rid of about two thirds of my clothes so now nearly everything I own is in my wardrobe and three draws, there is one box in the loft with maternity clothes and that is it.  Books was harder but when I stuck to thinking about if it brought joy or not, that made it a lot easier.

I now need to look at DVDs, CDs, craft materials, art materials and toys (eugh), and I will be well on the way to having the house I dream of (in terms of what is achievable in this house)

Here is a before and after of my undies drawer:

Marie Kondo also gives instructions for how to fold your clothes.  At first I thought it was such a waste of time folding all my pants and socks, but now I love it.  Sometimes if I am having a really stressful, chaotic, messy day I'll go up to my bedroom and just take a quick look in my drawers and it just calms me down and gives me a tiny sense of control in the chaos. So I am really glad I do carefully fold all my pants and socks, not just for this reason, but also because it just makes it so much easier to find what I need, I have certainly saved time in looking for things that I may have wasted in folding. 

This is the boy's shelves.  I have done Boris' shelf and in this photo Biscuit's shelf hasn't been done yet.  What I have been doing here is stacking the clothes horizontally instead of vertically as it was before. Storing the clothes this way means we use the clothes we like rather than the ones at the top of the pile. 

Hopefully soon I will have more before and after photos for you, my main challenge is in actually finding the time to get stuck in. Marie Kondo says that once you have compled this process you will never need to tidy again, but I do see myself continually going though things and keeping areas up-to-date, especially as we so frequently have more stuff brought into the house, I have to make culls of the old stuff.   

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