Magical Organizing

I read the first of two books written by Japanese organizer Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A few of my clients have read it, and many of their friends have been discussing “magical organizing.” People everywhere are asking themselves if their clothes “spark joy,” as she suggests.

Organizing Magic

I think people buy it because of the word “magic” in the title. Perhaps we believe if we wave a magic wand – ta-da! – we’ll have an organized house. Marie Kondo proclaims throughout the book that tidying is very easy. However, I beg to differ on behalf of the many people I have worked with over the years. Tidying is relatively simple if you live in a small space and don’t have a lot of belongings. In her book, Marie describes living in a tiny Japanese home. It does seem, however, that she enjoyed shopping hence the need to be constantly weeding out clothes and shoes. That is easy for her and me because we love letting go of stuff!

The book was my quickest read in years, and Marie’s storytelling is enjoyable. She talks about how she grew up and tells us about some of the clients she has worked with. I agree entirely that tidying up or decluttering and storing things neatly way can be life-altering. However, finding the time to go through every single item in your house is more challenging than she makes it sound.

Kondo’s Magical Organizing Philosophy

Marie’s philosophy is to put your nose to the grindstone and blast through your house as fast as possible so you don’t prolong the tedious exercise of purging your stuff. But most busy professionals I know would need to take several weeks away from work and do nothing but organize from morning until night to accomplish that. Now that I say that, I would love to try that with someone. Is anyone up for it? If so, contact me!

There is one particular part of the book that I believe is actually life-changing for those who want to fit a lot of stuff into their space. It’s “the life-changing magic of a good folding job.” Marie describes in detail how to fold your clothes to form an envelope of sorts. Then stack them vertically in your dresser drawers. She says each piece of clothing has a sweet spot for folding. And if you’re wondering, yes, I have re-folded all of the clothes in my dresser and purged a few pieces in the process. Because I don’t have a lot of stuff, my drawers are now half empty. It’s kinda freaky. Now I know what my clients feel like when they suddenly have a clear surface in their home that was never there before. There is a strange compulsion to fill the space again.

five unfolded sweaters filling the entire space of the drawer
Five unfolded sweaters in a drawer.
five sweaters in a drawer folded in the way recommended by Marie Kondo results in only one-third of the space used
The same five sweaters folded in the drawer.

Anyway, back to the folding. If you follow Marie Kondo’s folding method, you can fit three times as many t-shirts in a drawer and twice as many sweaters. And your socks will be a thing of beauty, all standing on edge.

I think the socks are my favourite part. I know, sick, huh? Most of us ball up our socks to find the pairs. Here’s what Marie says about that, “Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?” She carries this philosophy to all your belongings by suggesting you treat everything you own with respect. Now that I also love.

The Magic is Care and Respect

I could never understand why so many of us have drawers, closets, and garages piled high with stuff that is wrinkled, scratched and broken. Yet people tell me those items are all important to them, and they can’t let it go. I question whether that makes sense when you are not taking the time to respect and take care of your stuff. It is much better to pass it along to someone who will care for and respect it, and use magical organizing to change your life in the process.

What sparks joy for you?

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