The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

modified 2018-11-08

Review:

[Disclaimer: I have not yet implemented her method, so the below is just my first impression from reading the text]

I liked this book far more than I was expecting. I had mostly heard about it through people mocking it. Generally one of: “She says you should talk to your socks!“ or “How is toilet paper meant to spark joy? Should I get rid of my toilet paper then, hah”.

So why did I read it anyway? Someone I trust must have recommended it because it was on my ‘to read’ list and therefore poped up in my inbox when amazon reduced it in price.

I think the criticisms above are missing the point.

For the first sort, who are put off by her suggestion that you might want to thank your bag in the evening, or caress your clothes to push energy into them through your hands: you are missing the point.

Whether or not you believe these objects are conscious (I don’t think she does herself, really), these suggestions can still be beneficial. In the same way that going to church can be good for you even if god doesn’t exist, because of the sense of community and the little biscuits they give out. Like many classics and religious texts, good ideas are sometimes hidden in metaphor. Humans are bad at rational thought, but great at ritual, pattern matching, stories. This is a book about rituals! “Tidying is not an everyday thing.” I would not be surprised if she suggests a small sacrifice to the rubbish bin before starting in a future book, and I bet it would be effective. The ritual of thanking her bag or caressing her items makes her more intentional about her items. Makes her care for them, prevents her from buying duplicates. It concentrates you on the ‘joy’ of the items you already have, instead of the lack of items you may not have. So why does she tell us to caress our clothes and talk to our bag instead of just writing “be intentional about your purchases, and value the things you already own” (very stoic)? Because that wouldn’t work so well, would it? If it were that easy the bible would be a two page pamphlet.

For the second type of critic, who says “The whole idea is silly. How can I find joy in [toilet roll/toothbrushes/medecine/cat litter]?“, you are missing the point. Maybe you can’t, maybe some people can. Maybe you could? Maybe buy some pretty patterned toilet paper? I don’t know. These are edge cases, and most of the stuff in your house is not going to be some essential item. If you follow her suggested tidying order, this sort of item comes under ‘konmono’. By the time you get to these, you have probably already picked up steam and will “know what to do”, intuitively. The true reasoning for using “spark joy” to choose what to keep is discussed early in the book:   > If I had been a little smarter, I would have realised before I became so neurotic that focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness. Why? Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of. She comes back to this a few times. The idea is to frame the ritual as a positive one. Instead of throwing away bad things we are focusing on the things that bring us joy. She also mentions that peoples ‘rational’ thoughts get in the way. By going on intuition we can avoid the sunk-cost fallacy that usually stops us throwing anything away. As well as thoughts on tidying, there are ocassional fun little moments of wisdom throughout the text: > You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember. I like this. Things we have read are incorporated into our way of thinking even if we do not remember details. 

Her discussion on storing papers made me realize that for my use case, there is no need to categorise. I add things every day, but only need to find a paper a few times a year, therefore paper storage should be O(1) storage O(n) retrieval, ie. stick them all in a big box! For higher efficiency, get a new box each year. (The box should, of course , be vertical.)

Anyway, the book is all about Buddhism really. And rituals. And tidying I guess. I liked it.

Highlights:

Loc:83 HAVE YOU EVER tidied madly, only to find that all too soon your home or workspace is cluttered again?

Loc:86 almost everyone has experienced a ‘rebound effect’ at least once, if not many times, after tidying their home. The KonMari Method is a simple, smart and effective way to banish clutter forever. Start by discarding. Then organise your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go. If you adopt this strategy, you’ll never revert to clutter again.

Loc:99 From my exploration of the art of organising and my vast experience of helping disorganised people to become tidy, there is one thing I can say with confidence: a dramatic reorganisation of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in your lifestyle and perspective. It is life-transforming. I mean it.

Loc:166 Do people who have been tidying for more years than others tidy better? The answer is ‘No’. Twenty-five per cent of my students are women in their fifties, and the majority of these have been homemakers for close to 30 years, which makes them veterans at this job. But do they tidy better than women in their twenties? The opposite is true. Many of them have spent so many years applying conventional approaches that don’t work that their homes overflow with unnecessary items and they struggle to keep clutter under control with ineffective storage methods. How can they be expected to know how to tidy when they have never studied it properly?

Loc:200 The moment you begin moving furniture around and getting rid of things, your room changes. It’s very simple. If you put your house in order in one mammoth effort, you will have tidied up completely. Rebound occurs because people mistakenly believe they have tidied thoroughly when in fact they have only partially sorted and stored things. If you put your house in order properly, you’ll be able to keep your room tidy always, even if you are lazy or messy by nature.

Loc:225 The root cause lies in the fact that they can’t see the results or feel the effects. This is precisely why success depends on experiencing tangible results immediately. If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time, you’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.

Loc:249 Objects can be counted. All you need to do is look at each item, one at a time, and decide whether or not to keep it and where to put it. That’s all you need to do to complete this job. It is not hard to tidy up perfectly and completely in one fell swoop. In fact, anyone can do it. And if you want to avoid rebound, this is the only way to do it.

Loc:276 WHAT IS THE first problem that comes to mind when you think of tidying? For many, the answer is storage. My clients often want me to teach them what to put where. Believe me, I can relate, but unfortunately, this is not the real issue. A booby trap lies within the term ‘storage’. Features on how to organise and store your belongings and convenient storage products are always accompanied by stock phrases that make it sound simple, such as ‘organise your space in no time’ or ‘make tidying fast and easy’. It’s human nature to take the easy route and most people leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter.

Loc:289 ‘Why does my room still feel cluttered when I’ve worked so hard to organise and store things away?’ I wondered. Filled with despair, I looked at the contents of each storage unit and had a flash of revelation. I didn’t need most of the things that were in them. Although I thought that I had been tidying, in fact I had merely been wasting my time shoving stuff out of sight, concealing the things I didn’t need under a lid. Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and ‘easy’ storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral.

Loc:309 Many people are surprised to hear that such a seemingly viable approach is actually a common pitfall. The root of the problem lies in the fact that people often store the same type of item in more than one place. When we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we’re repeating the same work in many locations and become locked into a vicious circle of tidying. To avoid this, I recommend tidying by category. For example, instead of deciding that today you’ll tidy a particular room, set goals like ‘clothes today, books tomorrow’.

Loc:331 Using this approach, people who can’t stay tidy can be categorised into just three types: the ‘can’t-throw-it-away’ type, the ‘can’t-put-it-back’ type and the ‘first-two-combined’ type. Looking at my clients, I further realised that 90 per cent fall into the third category – the ‘can’t-throw-it-away, can’t-put-it-back type’ – while the remaining 10 per cent fall into the ‘can’t-put-it-back’ type. I have yet to find someone who is purely the ‘can’t-throw-it-away’ type, probably because anyone who can’t throw things away will soon end up with so much stuff that their storage space overflows.

Loc:343 I BEGIN MY course with these words: tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day. This usually elicits a moment of stunned silence. Still, I repeat: tidying should be done just once. Or, to put it more accurately, the work of tidying should be completed once and for all within a single period of time.

Loc:370 never tidy my room. Why? Because it is already tidy. The only tidying I do is once, or sometimes twice a year, and for a total of about one hour each time. The many days I spent tidying without seeing permanent results now seem hard to believe. In contrast, I feel happy and content. I have time to experience bliss in my quiet space, where even the air feels fresh and clean;

Loc:374 Although not large, the space I live in is graced only with those things that speak to my heart. My lifestyle brings me joy. Wouldn’t you like to live this way, too? It’s easy, once you know how to truly put your home in order.

Loc:384 The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart. The same impact can never be achieved if the process is gradual.

Loc:385 To achieve a sudden change like this, you need to use the most efficient method of tidying. Otherwise, before you know it, the day will be gone and you will have made no headway. The more time it takes, the more tired you feel, and the more likely you are to give up when you’re only halfway through.

Loc:388 From my experience, ‘quickly’ means about half a year. That may seem like a long time, but it is only six months out of your entire life. Once the process is complete and you’ve experienced what it’s like to be perfectly tidy, you will have been freed forever from the mistaken assumption that you’re no good at tidying. > that is longer than I was expecting

Loc:390 For the best results, I ask that you hold faithfully to the following rule: tidy in the right order. As we’ve seen, there are only two tasks involved – discarding and deciding where to keep things. Just two, but discarding must come first. Be sure to completely finish the first task before starting the next. Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding. Failure to follow this order is one reason many people never make permanent progress. In the middle of discarding, they start thinking about where to put things. As soon as they think, ‘I wonder if it will fit in this drawer,’ the work of discarding comes to a halt.

Loc:416 Her description was as vivid as if she actually lived that way. It’s important to achieve this degree of detail when visualising your ideal lifestyle and to make notes.

Loc:454 If I had been a little smarter, I would have realised before I became so neurotic that focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness. Why? Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of. > hence, spark joy

Loc:457 had been so focused on what to discard, on attacking the unwanted obstacles around me, that I had forgotten to cherish the things that I loved, the things I wanted to keep. Through this experience, I came to the conclusion that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, throw it out. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.

Loc:466 Are you happy wearing clothes that don’t give you pleasure? Do you feel joy when surrounded by piles of unread books that don’t touch your heart? Do you think that owning accessories you know you’ll never use will ever bring you happiness? The answer to these questions should be ‘no’. Now imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dream of?

Loc:480 I recommend that you always think in terms of category, not place. Before choosing what to keep, collect everything that falls within the same category at one time. Take every last item out and lay everything in one spot.

Loc:483 You start by deciding that you are going to organise and put away your clothes. The next step is to search every room of the house. Bring every piece of clothing you find to the same place, and spread them out on the floor. Then pick up each outfit and see if it sparks joy. Those and only those are the ones to keep. Follow this procedure for every category.

Loc:486 Gathering every item in one place is essential to this process because it gives you an accurate grasp of how much you have. Most people are shocked at the sheer volume, which is often at least twice what they imagined. By collecting things in one spot, you can also compare items that are similar in design, making it easier to decide if you want to keep them.

Loc:499 things that are hardest to make decisions about. Things that bring back memories, such as photos, are not the place for beginners to start. Not only is the sheer volume of items in this category usually greater than that of any other, it is far harder to make a decision about whether or not to keep them.

Loc:503 People have trouble discarding things that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information (informational value) and that have sentimental ties (emotional value). When these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder to throw away.

Loc:510 The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, miscellaneous items (komono) and, lastly, sentimental items and keepsakes.

not sure if konmono includes things like toilet brushes etc?

Loc:538 In an overwhelming percentage of cases, it is the mother who retrieves things from her daughter, yet mothers rarely wear the clothes they take. The women I work with who are in their fifties and sixties invariably end up throwing out their daughters’ hand-me-downs without ever wearing them. I think we should avoid creating situations like this where a mother’s affection for her daughter becomes a burden.

Loc:579 To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy. As if drawn into your wake, they will begin weeding out unnecessary belongings and tidying without you having to utter a single complaint. It may sound incredible, but when someone starts tidying it sets off a chain reaction.

Loc:585 If you feel annoyed with your family for being untidy, I urge you to check your own space, especially your storage. You are bound to find things that need to be thrown away. The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space. This is why you should begin by discarding only your own things. You can leave the communal areas to the end. The first step is to confront your own stuff.

Loc:653 Human judgement can be divided into two broad types: intuitive and rational. When it comes to selecting what to discard, it is actually our rational judgement that causes trouble. Although intuitively we know that an object has no attraction for us, our reason raises all kinds of arguments for not discarding it, such as ‘I might need it later’ or ‘It’s a waste to throw it out’. These thoughts spin round and round in our mind, making it impossible to let go. > this is not rational  thought, more rationalisation. This is another reason for the ‘spark joy’ rule, it bypasses your usual habits of keeping things just in case. People have trouble with sunk cost fallacy even when they remind themself about it constantly.

Loc:661 If you bought it because you thought it looked cool in the shop, then it has fulfilled the function of giving you a thrill when you bought it. Then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realised that it didn’t suit you when you tried it on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or colour, then it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you. In fact, that particular article of clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say, ‘Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you,’ or ‘Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,’ and let it go. Every object has a different role to play.

Loc:669 When you come across something that you cannot throw away, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.

Loc:693 For the first category – clothing – I recommend dividing items further into the following subcategories to increase efficiency: Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.) Bottoms (trousers, skirts, etc.) Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.) Socks Underwear Handbags, etc. Extra items (scarves, belts, hats, etc.) Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, uniform, etc.) Shoes

Loc:705 THE FIRST STEP is to check every wardrobe, cupboard and drawer in the house and gather all your clothes in one spot. Don’t leave a single wardrobe or drawer unopened. Make sure you have gathered every last piece of clothing. When my clients think they have finished, I always ask them this question. ‘Are you sure there’s not a single piece of clothing left in the house?’ Then I add, ‘You can forget about any clothes you find after this. They’ll automatically go in the discard pile.’ I let them know I’m quite serious. I have no intention of letting them keep anything found after the sorting is done.

Loc:722 Because off-season clothes are not immediately necessary, it is much easier to apply the simple criterion of whether or not they bring you joy. There’s one question I recommend asking when you sort off-season clothes: ‘Do I want to see this outfit again next time it’s in season?’ Or, to rephrase it, ‘Would I want to wear this right away if the temperature suddenly changed?’

Loc:743 To me, it doesn’t seem right to keep clothes we don’t enjoy for relaxing around the house. This time at home is still a precious part of living. Its value should not change just because nobody sees us. So, starting today, break the habit of downgrading clothes that don’t thrill you to loungewear. The real waste is not discarding clothes you don’t like, but wearing them even though you are striving to create the ideal space for your ideal lifestyle. Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love.

Loc:767 Hanging just can’t compete with folding for saving space. Although it depends somewhat on the thickness of the clothes in question, you can fit from 20 to 40 pieces of folded clothing in the same amount of space required to hang 10.

Loc:799 The goal should be to organise the content so that you can see where every item is at a glance, just as you can see the spines of the books on your bookshelves. The key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat. Some people mimic store displays, folding each piece of clothing into a large square and then arranging them one on top of the other in layers. This is great for temporary sales displays in stores, but not what we should be aiming for at home, where our relationship with these clothes is long-term.

Loc:807 Once you have an image of what the inside of your drawers will look like, you can begin folding. The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle. First fold each lengthwise side of the garment towards the centre and tuck the sleeves in to make a rectangular shape. It doesn’t matter how you fold the sleeves. Next, pick up one end of the rectangle and fold it towards the other end. Then fold again in halves or in thirds. The number of folds should be adjusted so that the folded clothing when standing on edge fits the height of the drawer. This is the basic principle. If you find that the end result is the right shape but too loose and floppy to stand up, it’s a sign that your way of folding doesn’t match the type of clothing.

Loc:836 Arrange your clothes so that they ‘rise to the right’. Take a moment to draw an arrow rising toward the right and then another descending to the right. You can do this on paper or just trace them in the air. Did you notice that when you draw an arrow rising to the right it makes you feel lighter? Lines that slope up to the right make people feel comfortable. By using this principle when you organise your wardrobe, you can make the contents look far more exciting. To do so, hang heavy items on the left side and light items on the right. Heavy items include those with length, those made from heavier material, and those that are dark in colour. As you move towards the right side of the hanging space, the length of the clothing grows shorter, the material thinner and the colour lighter. By category, coats would be on the far left, followed by dresses, jackets, trousers, skirts and blouses. This is the basic order, but depending on the trends in your wardrobe, what counts as ‘heavy’ in each category will differ.

Loc:859 Never, ever ball your socks. I pointed to the balled-up socks. ‘Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?’ That’s right. The socks and tights stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday. They take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest. But if they are folded over, balled up or tied, they are always in a state of tension, their fabric stretched and their elastic pulled.

Loc:949 Books are essentially paper – sheets of paper printed with letters and bound together. Their true purpose is to be read, to convey the information to their readers. It’s the information they contain that has meaning. There is no meaning in them just being on your shelves. You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember. > Yes! Things we have read are incorporated into our way of thinking even if we do not remember details.

Loc:1,008 For books, timing is everything. The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it. To avoid missing that moment, I recommend that you keep your collection small.

Loc:1,010 Sorting papers Rule of thumb: discard everything ONCE YOU’VE FINISHED organising your books, it’s time to move on to your papers. For example, the letter rack bursting with envelopes where it hangs on your wall; the school announcements stuck to your fridge; the unanswered invitation to your school reunion lying by the phone; the newspapers that have accumulated on your table over the last few days. There are several spots within the house where papers tend to pile up like snowdrifts.

Loc:1,028 Once you’ve gone through those papers that don’t evoke any pleasure, what should you do with the ones that you’ve decided to keep? My filing method is extremely simple. I divide them into two categories: papers to be saved and papers that need to be dealt with. Although my policy is to throw away all papers, these are the only categories I make for those that can’t be discarded. Letters requiring a reply, forms that need to be submitted, a newspaper that I intend to read – make a special corner for papers like these that need to be dealt with. Make sure that you keep all such papers in one spot only. Never let them spread to other parts of the house. I recommend using a vertical organiser in which papers can be stored standing up and designating a specific place for it. All papers requiring attention can be placed in here without separating them.

Loc:1,035 Infrequently used papers include insurance policies, guarantees and leases. Unfortunately, these must be kept automatically regardless of the fact that they spark no particular joy in your heart. As you will almost never need to access papers in this category, you don’t have to put a lot of effort into storing them. I recommend putting them all into a single ordinary clear plastic folder without worrying about further categorisation.

Loc:1,038 The other subcategory consists of papers that you will take out and look at more frequently, such as outlines of seminars or newspaper clippings. These are meaningless unless they are stored in a way that’s easy to access and read, which is why I recommend inserting them into the book-like pages of a clear plastic file folder. This category is the trickiest of them all. Although papers like this are not really necessary, they tend to multiply. Reducing the volume of this category is key to organising your papers.

Loc:1,061 Why do people pay expensive fees for such courses when they can read the same content in a book or elsewhere? Because they want to feel the passion of the teacher and experience that learning environment. Thus the real material is the seminar or event itself, and it must be experienced live. When you attend a course, do so with the resolve to throw away every handout distributed. If you regret throwing it away, then take the same seminar again, and this time apply the learning. It’s paradoxical, but I believe that precisely because we hang on to such materials, we fail to put what we learn into practice.

Loc:1,080 Most people save not only the warranty but also the operation manual in the same file. First, let’s start by throwing these manuals away. Take a look at them. Have you ever used them? In general, there are only a few manuals that we actually need to read, such as our computer or digital camera manual, and these are so thick that they won’t fit in a file anyway. So basically, any manuals contained in your warranty folder can be discarded without causing any difficulty.

Loc:1,088 Warranties are only used once a year if at all. What point is there in carefully sorting and separating them when the odds that they will be needed are so low. Moreover, if you’ve filed them in a file folder, then you’ll have to flip through the pages to find the right warranty. In that case, it’s just as easy to keep them all in one file, pull out the entire stack, and search through > Paper storage should be O(1) storage O(n) retrieval, ie. stick them all in a big box! For higher efficiency, get a new box each year. The box should, of course, be vertical.

Loc:1,105 PULL OUT a drawer in a client’s home and discover a strange little box, just waiting to be opened like a tantalising book that promises some fascinating tale. But for me there is no excitement whatsoever. I know exactly what I’ll find inside. Loose change, hairpins, erasers, spare buttons, wristwatch parts, batteries that may or may not be dead, leftover medicine, lucky charms and key holders. And the list goes on. I already know what the client’s answer will be if I ask why these things are in that box: ‘Just because.’

Loc:1,116 The basic order for sorting komono is as follows: CDs, DVDs Skincare products Make-up Accessories Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.) Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely ‘electric’) Household equipment (stationery and writing materials, sewing kits, etc.) Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc.) Kitchen goods/food supplies Other (If you have many items related to a particular interest or hobby, such as ski equipment, then treat these as a single subcategory.) > this is where toilet paper might appear. Household equipment. Maybe you really should change toilet paper, something fun with a pattern? I don’t know.

Loc:1,155 The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not ‘things’ but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for throwing a gift away. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it.

Loc:1,196 Free Novelty Goods A mobile phone screen cleaner that came with a pop bottle, a ball pen engraved with your school’s name, a fan you got at an event, a mascot that came with your soft drink, a set of plastic cups won in a raffle, glasses bearing a beer company logo, post-its stamped with a pharmaceutical company’s name, a folder with just five sheets of blotting paper, a promotional calendar (still in its tube), a pocket calendar (unused even six months into the year). None of these are going to bring you any pleasure. Throw them out without any qualms. > I feel annoyed when someone gives me something like this, because I know it is easier to accept than it will be to get rid of it. It will cause me to feel unhappy later on when I have to throw it away. Giving someone tat is harmful to them!

Loc:1,217 Now I realise that people who have a convenient place to send things, such as a parents’ house, are actually quite unfortunate. Even if the house is large with rooms to spare, it is not some infinitely expanding fourth dimension. People never retrieve the boxes they send ‘home’. Once sent, it will never again be opened.

Loc:1,289 The ultimate, however, was a stockpile of 20,000 cotton buds, a cache of 100 boxes with 200 buds each. If my client used one cotton bud a day, it would take her 55 years to use up her supply. By the time she had finished, she might have developed amazing techniques for cleaning her ears. The last bud used on the last day would appear almost sacred.

Loc:1,356 I did not give you this account to boast about my beautiful lifestyle, but rather to demonstrate what it’s like to have a designated spot for everything. Keeping your space tidy becomes second nature. You can do it effortlessly, even when you come home tired from work, and this gives you more time to really enjoy life.

Loc:1,366 You only need to designate a spot for every item once. Try it. You’ll be amazed at the results. No longer will you buy more than you need. No longer will the things you own continue to accumulate. In fact, your stock will decrease. The essence of effective storage is this: designate a spot for every last thing you own. If you ignore this basic principle and start experimenting with the vast range of storage ideas being promoted, you will be sorry. Those storage ‘solutions’ are really just a means within which to bury possessions that spark no joy.

Loc:1,421 It is impossible to remember the existence of every item we own even when we simplify our storage methods. There are still times in my own house, where I have worked hard to keep storage simple, that I notice an item I had completely forgotten about in a cupboard or drawer. If my storage were more complex, for example if I divided my things into three levels according to frequency of use or according to season, I am sure that many more items would be left to rot in the darkness. If so, then it makes more sense to keep storage as simple as possible.

Loc:1,438 If you live with your family, then first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member. This is essential. For example, you can designate separate corners for you, your partner and your children, and store whatever belongs to each person in their respective corners. That’s all you need to do. The important point here is to designate only one place per person if at all possible. In other words, storage should be focused in one spot. If storage places are spread around, the entire house will become cluttered in no time.

Loc:1,451 I realise that when you begin tidying, there is a real temptation to start with spaces or things that belong to the entire household, such as the living room, soaps and medicines, or various appliances and household supplies. But please leave those for later. First, start by sorting only your own things. Choose what you want to keep and store it in your very own space. By doing so, you will learn the basics of how to put your house in order. Just as with choosing which belongings to keep, following the right order is crucial.

Loc:1,465 A common mistake many people make is to decide where to store things on the basis of where it’s easiest to take them out. This approach is a fatal trap. Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out. When we use something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Unless for some reason it is incredibly hard work, we usually don’t mind the effort involved. Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong. > moving friction around. trivial amounts of friction prevent us from doing things all the time!

Loc:1,493 THERE ARE PEOPLE who stack everything in piles, be it books, papers or clothes. But this is a great waste. When it comes to storage, vertical is best. I am particularly obsessed with this point. I store everything vertically if possible, including clothes, which I fold and stand on edge in my drawers, and tights, which I roll up and stand in a box. The same is true for stationery and writing tools: whether boxes of staples, measuring tapes, or erasers, I stand them on edge. I even store my laptop in the bookcase as if it were indeed a notebook. If you have storage space that should be sufficient yet falls short, try standing things vertically. You’ll find that this solves most problems.

Loc:1,499 if you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can be stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it harder to notice the increasing volume. In contrast, when things are stored vertically, any increase takes up space and you will eventually run out of storage area. When you do, you’ll notice, ‘Ah, I’m starting to accumulate stuff again.’

Loc:1,504 When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the bottom are used less and less frequently. The outfits that no longer thrill my clients even though they loved them at the time of purchase are very often the ones that spent a long time at the bottom of the pile.

Loc:1,509 Try taking a pile you already have and standing it up. Just by doing that you will become more aware of the volume of things in that pile. Vertical storage can be used anywhere. Messy fridges are common but their contents can be organised quickly and simply by standing things on end. I happen to love carrots, for example. If you open my fridge, you’ll find carrots standing in the drink holders on the door.

Loc:1,576 To summarise, the best way to store clutches, handbags and other bags is to make sets according to the material, size and frequency of use, and to store them one inside the other, like nested boxes. All straps and handles should be left in plain view. If the handbag used for storage came in a bag, you can store the set in that.

Loc:1,582 Empty your bag every day THERE ARE SOME things you need on a daily basis, such as your wallet, your bus or train pass and your diary. Many people see no point in taking these things out when they come home because they will use them again the next day, but this is a mistake. The purpose of a purse or bag is to carry your things for you when you’re away from home.

I like this, I tend to accumulate papers in my bag.

Loc:1,622 HOW MANY BOTTLES of shampoo and conditioner surround your bath? Different family members may use different products, or you may have several kinds that you use depending on your mood or for once-a-week treatments. But these are such a bother to move when you clean the bath. Kept on the floor in the shower or on the edge of the bath, they become slimy. To avoid this, some people use a wire basket as a container, but from my own experience, this makes things even worse.

Loc:1,634 Whatever is used in the bath should be dried after use anyway so it makes far more sense to just wipe down the few items we use with our bath towel and then put them away in the cupboard. While this may seem like more work at first glance, it is actually less. It is much quicker and easier to clean the bath or shower without these items cluttering that space, and there will be less slime build up. > love this.

Loc:1,637 The same is true for the kitchen sink area. Do you keep your sponges and washing-up liquid by the sink? I store mine underneath it. The secret is to make sure the sponge is completely dry. Many people use a wire sponge rack with suction cups that stick to the sink. If you do, too, I recommend that you remove it immediately. It cannot dry out if it is sprayed with water every time you use the sink and it will soon start to smell. To prevent this, squeeze your sponge tightly after use and hang it up to dry. You can use a clothes peg to attach it to your towel rack or to the handle of a kitchen drawer if you don’t have a rack. Personally, I recommend hanging sponges outside, for example, on the washing line. > love.

Loc:1,648 Rows of bottles in this area also make it much harder to keep clean and the kitchen area will always be covered in a film of oil. Kitchen shelves and cupboards are usually designed to store seasonings and spices so put them away where they belong. Quite often, a long narrow drawer or cupboard is located next to the oven which could be used. > here I genuinly do not have enough storage. We have far too many spices and liquids and powders and leaves to fit in our current cabinets.

Loc:1,704 When I visited her house, it was tidy but, just as she had said, something didn’t feel quite right. The first thing I do at times like this is open the doors of all the storage areas. When I opened the main cupboard, I found what I had been expecting. Labels proclaiming ‘Great Storage Solutions!’ were stuck to the clear plastic drawers, packages of room deodorisers were emblazoned with ‘Freshens air instantly!’, the cardboard boxes announced ‘Iyo Oranges’. Everywhere I looked, words, words and more words leapt out at me. Here was the last ‘step’ my client was seeking. A deluge of information whenever you open a cupboard door makes a room feel ‘noisy’. Particularly if the words are in your own language, they jump into your line of vision, and your brain treats them as information to be sorted. This creates commotion in your mind.

Loc:1,833 During the selection process, if you come across something that does not spark joy but that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away, stop a moment and ask yourself, ‘Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of fear for the future?’ Ask this for every one of these items. As you do so, you’ll begin to see a pattern in your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories: attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future or a combination of both. It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life.

Loc:1,977 After tidying, many clients tell me that their worldly desires have decreased. Whereas in the past, no matter how many clothes they had, they were never satisfied and always wanted something new to wear, once they had selected and kept only those things that they really loved, they felt that they had everything they needed.

Loc:2,058 I can think of no greater happiness in life than to be surrounded only by the things I love. How about you? All you need to do is to get rid of anything that doesn’t touch your heart like this. There is no simpler way to contentment. What else could this be called but ‘the magic of tidying’?