The Magic of Tidying

Have you been reading THIS BOOK? The one that promises you that this will be  the last time you declutter your house, and you spend the rest of your life simply “tidying up”?  The book that promises a clean line-of-sight, clutter-free counters, and a stress-free space, devoid of extra bad energy?

Personally, I can’t imagine using the word “tidying” in relation to anything that needs cleaning in our house. Power cleaning is more of the word that comes to my mind.

But the delicate word “tidying” is what drew me to the book. Tidying is how I would much rather spend my cleaning sessions.

I want to simply “tidy.”

I realized how far I was from simply tidying when, on a school night, a night. a night with homework and a test the next day, and I heard my son, frustrated that he couldn’t find a single sheet of plain notebook paper, even though the cupboard was stuffed with such items. But, it was also stuffed with everything else, pushing the paper into accordion folds.

This is no way to live. It disrupts his studying time, makes it harder to find everything, and leads to stress.

I could do much better for my family.

So I listened to the audio version, and I realized that there is something different about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing that sets it apart from all the other decluttering books out there.

First, there is an order. Rather than decluttering an entire room, you start with groups of things, beginning with clothing. You must follow the order, because you are developing your skills at editing as you move onto more challenging items– like sentimental things. Those are last.

Just the mandatory step of collecting all the clothing from every part of the house into one space will do wonders for you. That step alone creates a sense of order and lightness.

When you walk though the house and you see that pile on the dining room table, you can start to edit, focusing only on the clothes, and leaving the rest behind to tackle on another step, another day.

Decluttering by category, rather than by room, helps your mind focus.This simplifies your decluttering immensely.  Imagine decluttering your bedroom. In that case, you would have sentimental items, linens, books and kid’s toys to deal with all at once. You would end up taking those items to another room, closing the door, and forgeting about it until next July 4th.

Don’t do that ever again.  It’s too hard and stressful, and we have people to take care of with our precious time.  Follow the book and keep your mind focused on one thing at a time. It takes too much mind strategy to edit all of those categories at once.

The second differentiator of this book is that you are to keep only things that bring you joy. This edict turns all the other decluttering books on its edge. This may mean you end up keeping a half-deflated pink balloon for awhile, but throwing out the perfectly functional robe that makes you feel dreary. Because, functional or not, is there every a time when it’s time for you to put on the “dreary” robe? Foolish waste of your energy.

Soon, as you continue to make choices like this, you will begin to feel empowered around your stuff, freely editing as things begin to loose their luster. You become the creator of your environment, letting go of what no longer sves you. try it, and you’ll see what I mean, even after a few hours of doing this.


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