The Life-changing Magic of Throwing Stuff Out

kondoI read this book ages ago. I’ve had it on my Kindle since November, and I even encouraged my book club to  read it. I know loads of people have already read, adopted as practice, and written about Marie Kondo’s book on the internet so I am admittedly late to this party, but it has made such an impression on me that I would be remiss not give it some inches.

First off, the title doesn’t lie. My life is changed. I am changed.

In the past year, I have become a person whose space is less cluttered and generally tidier, and the effects of this shift in my environment have spilled over into all other aspects of my life.

Back in late fall 2014, friend of the blog Steph Johns came over to help me tackle what Marie Kondo suggests should be Step One in ditching excess: Clothing.

When we started, I had my half of the walk-in stuffed with current season clothing, plus a cedar chest, plastic tote and the guest room closet full of off-season stuff. My side of the closet was so crammed that the hangers probably would have stayed in place without the benefit of a hanging rod. And I was using those terrible felt-covered skinny hangers that permit even more hoarding of clothing. I hate those things.

The Konmari Method requires that you start with all your stuff on the floor. Okay. I would normally use the bed, but I went with it. I didn’t take a before picture, although now I wish I had, for shock value. The pile, she was large.

Next step in deciding what to keep is to pick up each item, one at a time, and discern if that item “sparks joy” as you handle it. This is a hard concept to explain, but an easy one to grasp if you play along. If you feel joy when you interact with a garment, then it stays; if not, out it goes. I know it sounds a little weird, but it really resonated with me.

I’m not going to get into the mechanics of the whole day, but once we were done, I was left with a pile on the floor…wpid-wp-1439818924312.jpg

…and all of my remaining clothing hung in the closet.


That’s all four (or six, or three, depending on the year) seasons on one hanging rod.

All my folding fits in two drawers.

That was how my closet looked for a good three months, until I decided to take another pass and pruned even further. It’s now at about 2/3 of the above and I am this close to being able to ditch all those rotten felt crap hangers forever. I didn’t move two boxes of wooden hangers to the new house for nothing!

Once I’d completed Step One, I didn’t follow the rest of the Konmari method too precisely. I felt equipped to handle the rest of my space and its remaining stuff at a more methodical pace, and I’ve managed to de-clutter MOST of my house. I’d say 90%.

Marie Kondo’s book doesn’t really address one of the most prolific causes of clutter in my home: my child. It’s definitely a book written for the individual, but since this whole year is about changing MY habits, it was a perfectly appropriate place to start.

I find I am now able to enjoy having people in my space much more, since every occasion for guests is no longer accompanied by a week-long cleaning spree whereby things start out orderly, but end in a dozen “miscellaneous” bins being shoved in whichever room I don’t think people will see.

So that’s a little glimpse into how my life has changed in a very real way this year. Progress, not perfection.


2 thoughts on “The Life-changing Magic of Throwing Stuff Out

  1. I have been eyeing this book for some time now. We have a definite clutter problem in our home. We live in a fairly small space and I feel very strongly that we need to pare things down to make our live simpler. You may have inspired me to really tackle this.


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