is everywhere lately, or so it seems — Japanese author Marie Kondo's unique, joy-based organizational method has spread across the States like wildfire, drawing millions of new followers to her "" — including the team at HouseBeautiful.com. Here's what we learned.
The specter of organizing — how much work and time it will take — will always hang over your head like the Damocles' sword of housework... unless you just start. Stressing over the specifics is causing you just that: Stress. Whether you use Kondo's organizational method or just want to tackle things on your own, just starting is the most important thing to remember.
Guilt isn't a good reason to stay cluttered.
Sure, guilt is a powerful emotion. You feel guilty you bought that T-shirt and never wore it; you feel guilt about leaving that pile of papers unsorted for more than a year. But don't let guilt trick you into keeping things you don't need or avoiding work that needs to be done. And on that note....
What your mother doesn't know won't kill her.
(Or your father. Or your sister. Or your wife.) Really. She won't know you donated that dress she bought you three years ago that makes you look lumpy. She won't know you donated the super-sparkly gold purse that goes against all of your fashion ethos. They're nothing more than clutter — and someone out there will appreciate them more than you do. If they're causing you guilt and anxiety, just get rid of them.
Does it bring you joy? Because a lot of things don't.
Seriously. Does it? Kondo repeats this throughout The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: "We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of," she says. "Take each item in one's hand and ask: 'Does this spark joy?' If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it." I was shocked to find most things did not bring me any joy — even things I thought I liked! Into the donate bin they went.
Things will get worse before they get better.
Right now my apartment is in shambles: Our hallway is filled with items to donate, we're in the middle of rearranging our furniture. It may feel like the set of a disaster movie, but there's promise on the horizon: A totally clean, hyper-organized apartment that brings us endless joy.
You can't make anyone organize but you.
You know the secret to happiness now, and we totally understand not wanting to keep it to yourself. Throwing things away is awesome! Cleaning up your space is amazing! And it would be so much better if everyone else you lived with did it, too. But! Forcing your significant other, child, or roommate to organize will end with nothing but strife. Maybe it's just not time for them yet — or perhaps they need to see how much joy organizing brings you before they're ready to dive in themselves. Show them how happy you are and they might just get inspired.
It may be hard, sometimes-stressful work, but at the end it's all worth it.
Having a clean, neatly-organized home feels really, really good. And it makes you feel good in return — and that's a . Five stars for getting your home in order.
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