This is a continuation from last week’s post on Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”
How often should one be tidying? Kondo urges us to make tidying marathons a special occasion to prevent rebound. The reason being is that one-big tidying session has far more positive mental impact on us than a gradual tidying. Also, with tidying that is done piecemeal we are most likely to give up or postpone completing the tidying session until some other time. Once a successful tidying session has been completed, there will come a point when the person knows just how much stuff they really need, then they can stop discarding and focus on storing items. After doing this, then the person only has to engage in daily-tidying which just means putting things back where they belong.
Kondo believes that the best order in which to tidy is to start with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, and then items of sentimental value. The reason is that things that are not rare or things that lack much personal value are the easiest to start with. If you start with precious things first, you can easily get discouraged from continuing. For clothing, I found that Kondo’s recommendation to store things standing up instead of laying them flat works best to see all the clothes in a drawer which would be difficult to do if you just laid one set of clothing over another set. For books, the suggestion is to only keep the ones that spark joy and would make it into a special book “hall of fame.” I enjoyed Kondo’s remarks that the true meaning of a book is to convey information not to sit permanently on a shelf. Once the book has been read we have experienced what the book had to offer, so we are ready to part with it. For papers, Kondo’s rule of thumb is to discard everything. For miscellaneous items, store only those things that bring you joy.
Now for the precious sentimental items, these should actually be handled (as with everything else listed above) one by one. Kondo’s main point is that the importance that keepsake items had was fulfilled at the moment they were either created or when the information they contained was read. When we work with the sentimental items we are actually sorting out our past and putting it in order.
My favorite quotes on the keepsake items are cited below:
Page 117, “The purpose of a letter is fulfilled the moment it is received.”
Page 118, “It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”
Page 119, “The meaning of a photo lies in the excitement and joy you feel when taking it. In many cases the prints developed afterward have already outlived their purpose.”
Finally, I thought it valuable to note that Kondo believes we should properly send off discarded items with a greeting so that we launch them on a new journey.