Justine Harrington on August 1, 2017 1 Comment If you’re living on Planet Earth, then you’ve surely heard of Marie Kondo by now. Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, was a runaway bestseller last year, and was praised by everyone from Oprah to Kate Hudson (and probably all your friends and family, too!) Yes, Marie Kondo’s method — called the KonMari method — of cleaning and organizing a home set off a true decluttering craze around the world, and has inspired millions of people to create a joyful, streamlined home environment. And while the entire book itself is worth reading, these are our favorite takeaways and lessons we learned from The Life-Changing Magic. Get ready to feel inspired to declutter! 1) Practice Empathy With Your Stuff It may sound incredibly silly, but one of the most important Kondo-derived lessons is to empathize with your stuff. You may be wondering, “What the heck does that mean? How can you empathize with inanimate objects?” Well, here’s the thing: according to Kondo, you should try to consider the feelings of your clothing (we know it sounds weird, but it works!) in order to mentally prepare for getting rid of clutter. This means considering how comfortable an object is. Trust us, you may feel strange holding up your old T-shirt collection and attempting to think about your clothing’s “feelings”, but this technique really does help do the trick! When you try to be considerate of how your clothes are placed in your closet, you just may find yourself folding and hanging everything as neatly as possible. 2) Figure Out What Brings You Joy This is the lesson that even non “Konverts” (yep, people who follow Kondo’s tidying methods) have likely heard of. That’s because Kondo repeats it consistently throughout The Life-Changing Magic – the idea that every item we own should bring us joy is a core tenant of her entire philosophy. In the book, Marie Kondo states::“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” This may seem like an obvious sentiment, but the truth is that most of us have more things we should get rid of than things we actually love. To combat this, Kondo recommends holding up objects and verbally asking yourself, “Does this bring me joy?”, as well as considering whether you use the item in question or not. In Short: When you rid yourself of belongings that don’t spark joy, you’ll be surrounded solely by the things that do spark joy. What could be better than that? 3) Tackle Categories If you’re like most people, your natural instinct when it comes to cleaning is to tackle clutter by rooms – first, you work to declutter the bedroom, organize the kitchen, clean the laundry room, etc. However, Kondo preaches a different sort of approach. She advocates for tackling your cleaning and decluttering according to category, not room. This means dealing with only like objects first, such as all your clothes or books. Kondo also advises starting with the objects that have the least sentimental value, then working your way up to the hard stuff (like old photos or cards). The reason for this? If you spend a giant chunk of time getting rid of your old books in one room, and you come to the end of the process only to find more books in another room, you’re probably more likely to abandon the project altogether. Kondo recommends starting with clothes, papers and miscellaneous items, then ending with keepsakes and family heirlooms. It makes sense, and more importantly, it actually works! 4) The Joy of Purging Can’t Be Overstated It may provoke anxiety, and things may get worse before they get better (meaning your home may be in complete disarray before it gets clean again!), but purging your junk is ultimately an incredibly enjoyable exercise. Once you start the process, you’ll likely find it way easier — and way more fun! — than you originally thought. That sense of pure panic you felt before the purge? It’ll be replaced by sheer relief and pure joy. 5) Don’t Fall Prey to Nostalgia It’s a normal human tendency to feel nostalgic from time to time, particularly when you’re gazing at shoe-boxes full of old college photos and letters. But, as Kondo asserts, sometimes falling prey to feelings of nostalgia can just derail your decluttering progress. Going down the rabbit hole of nostalgia can also just be a convenient way for you to procrastinate (yet again!) instead of cleaning – when possible, it’s important to bypass nostalgia to figure out what you actually need, and what items bring you real joy. 6) Fold, Don’t Hang Anyone who’s read The Life-Changing Magic knows – Marie Kondo is a major advocate for folding, not hanging, clothes. She suggests that clothing is always “happier” inside your dresser, and she even outlines a special folding technique called the vertical fold (basically, you make a long rectangle with your item of clothing, then fold from the bottom up into a small package). With the vertical fold, the idea is that everything is easy to see, and you don’t have to dishevel all of your clothing to get to the shirt or pair of pants that you want to wear. Kondo also suggests using shoe-boxes to divide items in your dresser drawers. KonMari Method: The Magical Art of Tidying Up Of course, the tremendous upside about following the KonMari method is that you don’t have to follow every rule. Rather, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can act as a guideline for decluttering your home. Regardless of which rules you do choose to follow, one thing is for sure: you’ll be left only with the things that you love, which will allow you to cultivate a new (and improved!) relationship with your belongings. Did you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What were some of your favorite lessons that you learned? Share them in the comments below!