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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

By Marie Kondo
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn’t just a guide to decluttering, it’s a best seller that’s changed lives in Japan, Europe and the United States. The Wall Street Journal even called Marie Kondo’s Shinto-inspired “KonMari” technique “the cult of tidying up.” Kondo explains in detail the many ways in which your living space affects all aspects of your life, and how you can ensure that each item in it has powerful personal significance. By following her simple yet resonant advice, you can move closer to achieving your dreams.

Key idea 1 of 7

The first step to achieving your dream lifestyle is visualizing your dream life in your dream space.

Before you can begin to tidy up, you first need a vision for your ideal life and your living space. Before reading further, take a moment to visualize what that would look like.

For example, when one of the author’s clients, a woman in her twenties, did this exercise, she confided that she wanted a more “feminine” lifestyle. So she visualized arriving home to find a room free of clutter – as tidy as a hotel suite – with a pink bedspread and an antique lamp.

Before going to bed, she would take a relaxing bath and enjoy the scent of aromatic oils, listen to classical music while doing yoga and drinking herbal tea, and finally fall asleep feeling totally at ease and unhurried.

Once you’ve figured out what you want in your life, you’re in a position to start tidying and moving closer to your ideal life.

A tidy environment is one where you can efficiently access the things you need and like, which is why it’s so important to first understand what it is that you want.

Your space should be filled with things that you truly love. Don’t, for example, turn the clothes you don’t like into your pajamas. Though it might feel pragmatic, it would be better for you to respect your belongings if they’re going to reflect your vision.

Take your books, for example. By ridding your space of books you don’t read and keeping the ones you are truly passionate about, you become more passionate about reading.

Don’t be afraid to discard things. Even if you have to give away a dusty book that you really meant to read but just never found time for, these pangs of regret show you that the book is something you’re truly interested in. Now’s not the right time for the book, but you can always buy it again later.

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