Can Tidying Up Really Be Life-Changing?

Tidying up just got a whole lot easier.

If you are one of the few people left on the planet who have not read the Marie Kondo book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, which is based on the Japanese art of decluttering (aka throw most of your stuff away) then let me explain how it works. I did it and it does work.

To really get organised and live the lifestyle you imagine for yourself you need to get serious. Stop moving things from room to room, don’t be fooled by storage, tidy by category not by room and do the whole thing in one go even if it takes a few weeks or months. 




1. Visualise your destination

What kind of person will this spanking efficiency reveal? Having a visual of the new you will inspire motivation.

2. Discard first and organise later

This is key – you should not start putting things in their place until you have multiple rubbish bags snaking their way along your hallway. Discard your belongings in the following order: clothes, books, papers, Komono (or miscellany) and lastly personal belongings (photos, letters, momentos). Don’t start on one section until you have discarded every last unneeded bit from the category before.

3. How do you decide what to keep and what to discard? 

You are only allowed to keep things that truly ‘Spark Joy’ – instead of deciding what to get rid of you must decide what to keep. This is where you can be tempted to cheat – ‘I may one day fit in to it’ or ‘It’s not broken so I can’t throw it away’ – Pah, says Ms. Kondo – just keep the stuff you love and donate, ditch or delete the rest.

4. Clothes

Only hang those that ‘would be happier hung up’ and ‘arrange your clothes so they rise to the right’ (heavy coats on the left graduating up to silky/wafty stuff on the right). Fold everything else which will solve your storage problems. This ‘act of folding’ shows your clothes love and helps us spot when they need mending or discarding. Marie raves about folding and insists we fold things standing upright (not flat on top of each other) and is not happy with the way we disrespect our socks by balling them up in to sad potatoes.

Finding it hard to get rid of some stuff? Maybe it has already served its purpose (reminded you maxi dresses don’t suit you or that green does you no favours).

5. Books and Papers

Ditch pretty much everything. This includes the books you probably won't read, instruction manuals, credit card statements and other papers you think you might refer back to and won't.  Just keep your absolute favourite books, papers you must save (i.e. valuations and Birth Certificate) and those to still be dealt with (i.e. bills to pay and invite to answer).  


6. Komono

A charming Japanese way of staying all your other stuff such as makeup, toiletries, kitchen stuff, clutter – electronic boxes your iPhone or blender came in, unidentified cords, stuff you never use and spark no iota of joy. Put any coins you find straight in your wallet.

7. Personal Stuff

Now you are an expert at this discarding get stuck in to the nostalgia pile – kid’s drawings, old photos, love letters – handle them all (which allows you to process your past and let lots of it go). Reserve your sentimentality for only a handful of must keeps. Designate a place for each thing and keep all the same things in the same place. You will never need to tidy again but can just gloriously put things back where they belong.

8. Appreciate your home and your belongings

And they will love you back. I have yet to implement Marie’s final suggestion of talking to my house or saying thank you to my clothes but agree with the sentiment.

9. You can now start to change your life

Once I got my house in order I started my blog, which was particularly life changing, as I had always been the type of person who was never ever going to be the type of person who wrote a blog.


By Charlotte Sherston - For more self-help with a side of sarcasm head to Thin.Rich.Happy 

Instagram: @thinrichhappy

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