“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo: Part One

  1. When you put your house in order, you put you affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.
  2. People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.
  3. Success depends on experiencing tangible results immediately.
  4. Tidying in the end is just a physical act. To work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it.
  5. When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see any issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them.
  6. 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 cycle of tidying. To avoid this, I recommend tidying by category.
  7. Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.
  8. All you need to do is take the time to sit down and examine each item you own, decide whether you want to keep or discard it, and then choose where to put what you keep.
  9. The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.
  10. We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
  11. Look more closely at what is there. I 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. 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, dispose of it.
  12. The best criterion for choosing what to keep and what to discard is whether keeping it will make you happy, whether it will bring you joy.
  13. In addition to the physical value of things, there are three other factors that add value to our belongings: function, information, and emotional attachment.
  14. 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 depart with.
  15. My criterion for deciding to keep an item is that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it.
  16. Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more.
  17. When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many things you possess have already fulfilled their role.
  18. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
  19. Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono (miscellany), and finally things with sentimental value.
  20. Categories for clothing:
    1. Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.)
    2. Bottoms (pants, skirts, etc.)
    3. Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
    4. Socks
    5. Underwear
    6. Bags (handbag, messenger bags, etc.)
    7. Accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.)
    8. Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, uniforms, etc.)
    9. Shoes
  21. What things will bring you joy if you keep them as part of your life?
  22. Make sure you gather every piece of clothing in the house and be sure to handle each one.
  23. 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.
  24. To truly decide whether you want to keep something or to dispose of it, you must take your things out of hibernation.
  25. Categories for books:
    1. General (books you read for pleasure)
    2. Practical (references, cookbooks, etc.)
    3. Visual (photograph collections, etc.)
    4. Magazines
  26. The criterion is, of course, whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it. Remember, I said when you touch Make sure you don’t start reading it. Reading clouds your judgment.
  27. Very rarely will you find ordinary people like me who read so many books. Let’s face it. In the end, you are going to read very few of your books again.
  28. 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 their just being on your shelf. 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. So when deciding which books to keep, forget about whether you think you’ll read it again or whether you’ve mastered what’s inside.
  29. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it. There’s no need to finish reading books that you only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway.
  30. So if, like many of my clients, you have any books that fall into this category, I urge you to stop insisting that you will use them someday. Get rid of them today. Why? Because the odds are very low that you’ll ever read them.
  31. “Bulk Reduction Method”: realizing that what I really wanted to keep was not the book but certain information or specific words it contained. I decided that if I kept only what was necessary, I should be able to part with the rest.
  32. My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away. My clients are stunned when I say this, but there is nothing more annoying than papers. After all, they will never inspire joy, no matter how carefully you keep them. For this reason, I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.
  33. Papers are only organized into only three categories: needs attention, should be saved (contractual documents), and should be saved (others).
  34. A seminar’s value begins the moment we start attending, and the key to extracting the full value is putting what we learning into practice the moment the course ends.
  35. The basic order for sorting komono is as follows:
    1. CDs, DVDs
    2. Skin care products
    3. Makeup
    4. Accessories
    5. Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.)
    6. Electrical equipment and appliance (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely electric)
    7. Household equipment (stationary and writing material, sewing kits, etc.)
    8. Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc.)
    9. Kitchen goods/food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders, etc.)
    10. Other (spare change, figurines, etc.)
  36. Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need “just because.”
  37. When receiving a gift it’s okay to admit that it simply doesn’t suit your taste. The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.
  38. It’s a shame to let a boring box take up room in your house just because you might need it someday.
  39. If you put them in a piggybank, you are simply transferring the place where they will be ignored.
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