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Easy Organizing Tips Inspired by Tidiness Expert Marie Kondo

03 January 2017

How is that list of resolutions coming along? Is it just an uninspired iteration of the same overgeneralized goals you've had for the past ten years? I thought so. I think we can all agree that 2017 is the year of doing. Want to knock that triple-dessert day down to a single-dessert day? Want to upgrade the car that's older than your dog? Call it quits on a toxic relationship? According to the organization consultant and author of the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo tells us that surrounding ourselves by only necessary things we love can help us achieve more than just organization. Her category-by-category method of organizing will ensure that your tidiness will last for the long haul. Here are some easy tips to get started today.

1. Tidying is not a chore, it's a special event.

Put on your favorite dress and red lipstick because you're going tidying! Seriously, Marie Kondo dresses up when assisting clients in the discarding and organizing process because she likes to treat household objects with respect. Like going to the gym for the first time after the new year, it's all about showing off those fresh pair of kicks and fluorescent leggings. Go for the gold!

2. Discard everything!

When considering whether your three-year-old will eventually want your old calculus notes from high school, Kondo promotes a simple and powerful mantra: discard it all. If your toddler really want to learn complicated math, you can look up tutorials and notes online or buy another textbook (at this point, there is probably a brand new edition of the book anyway). We all have a million pictures both sentimental and unflattering. Carefully choose those which you cannot live without, frame them or stow them in a photo album, then discard the rest. Kondo ensures that we will remember the moments that are the most meaningful to us.

3. After discarding, do the remaining items spark joy?

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of this item? Does it make me happy and/or improve my life? Clutter is often a sign of uncertainty and stress while trying to achieve another goal. When your space is clear of clutter that causes anxiety, you are now free to think clearly about other goals you want to achieve. You are surrounded with items that you love.

4. Organize by category, not by location.

Do you have pairs of socks in three different drawers? Sigh. Kondo stresses the importance of organizing by category in order to place items in areas that make sense. Follow this order for success: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items (tchotchkes), sentimental items, and photos. For each category, discard as much as possible. With the clothes that remain, fold them so they stand upright in drawers like books. That way, you can see each piece of clothing. Avoid vertical piles because items on the bottom of the pile will be smooshed and have to carry the weight of their comrades. That's not fair.

5. Thank your items.

It sounds silly, but at the end of your day, each of your personal belongings has helped you. Take off one item at a time. Thank your coat for keeping you warm before hanging it up. Thank your jewelry for making you feel beautiful. This works with people, too; when people are no longer in your life, thank them for teaching you and helping you be the person you are today.

For more, check out Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her most recent book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

That's one resolution that's a joy to keep.

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