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15 Tips From Marie Kondo That Have Genuinely Changed My Life

Here's the most inspiring and practical advice that I took away from the KonMari book nearly four years ago, and that I still use.

I’ve been a fan of Marie Kondo’s organization method since I first read her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in 2015.

A lot of people are now coming to KonMari-ing through her new Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, which debuted this month. But since I found the book way more helpful and inspiring than the show, I thought I’d put together a list of the best/most practical tips from her book that I still think about/use a lot.

1. “Does it spark joy?” is actually a pretty useful way of looking at the world.

2. Decanting household products is completely worth it.

3. After you fold your clothes the KonMari way, put them in your drawers standing up.

4. Don’t just dump all your excess stuff on your parents.

5. Related: don’t let your family (or other people in general) see you tidying.

Did you know there’s an anti-Marie Kondo, who constantly sends you stuff despite you having no place to store it? Did you know it’s my mom?

And not because it's some kind of shameful activity. Kondo (again, accurately!) points out that loved ones — especially parents — can get very anxious about the amount of things we’re getting rid of. They will often try to save things from the pile, even if they have no real use for them; at the very least, they are likely to make you feel guilty/hesitant. I’ve found that getting rid of stuff privately both feels good — owning your choices about what you’ll, well, own, is really empowering — and allows you to tidy way more effectively.

6. Take the tags/packaging off new things you buy right away.

7. Don’t buy storage containers before you tidy/figure out what you actually need to store.

8. Why? Because more storage isn’t the solution.

9. Also: instead of buying a bunch of storage bins, make use of the boxes you already have.

10. Take everything out your purse/backpack at the end of each day.

11. It’s really OK to get rid of gifts.

12. It’s also deeply OK to rid of all the free swag that you don’t want/need.

13. Stop saving your sample-size beauty products to “take on trips.”

14. Books aren’t sacred.

WHAT MARIE KONDO SAYS: Think about getting rid of books you aren't going to read or reread. WHAT TWITTER HEARS: Let's burn all books and slay the writers! Let the streets run red with their blood as our literary pyre's smoke blocks out the sun! FUCK BOOKS.

People have always had a LOT of feelings about Marie Kondo’s feelings about books. not one of those people. I’m not *totally* sure why we want to believe that getting rid of books is morally reprehensible, but throwing away clothes, shoes, and food is not. Books are just things, and most of us have too many things! It's not that deep!

Anyway, I recently had a moment where I was overwhelmed by books (most of which I didn’t even buy; my coworkers and I get sent a truly obscene amount of books at work) and I thought, Hm, should I buy another bookshelf for my apartment? And then realized I didn’t need to spend a bunch of time and energy buying/assembling another thing; I could just get rid of some books. And that’s the whole thing about this whole faux controversy: Marie Kondo doesn’t say you should get rid of all your books; she actually writes, “Keep only the books that will make you happy just to see them on the shelves, the ones that you really love.” This is good advice!

15. And remember that tidying is actually about choosing what to keep, not what to get rid of.

[slowly lowering myself into a trashcan as marie kondo watches] this no longer brings me joy [she nods cheerfully]

This is such a small shift, but it's a good one!

Whether you choose to organize using Marie Kondo’s method or not is up to you! But in any case, I’ll leave you with this quote from the book, which I like a lot:

“To tell the truth, I still don’t have a lot of self-confidence. There are times when I am quite discouraged by my inadequacies. I do, however, have confidence in my environment. When it comes to the things I own, the clothes I wear, the house I live in, and the people in my life, when it comes to my environment as a whole, although it may not seem particularly special to anyone else, I am confident and extremely grateful to be surrounded by what I love, by things and people that are, each and every one, special, precious, and exceedingly dear to me. The things and people that bring me joy support me. They help give me the confidence that I will be all right. I want to help others who feel the way I did, who lack self-confidence and find it hard to open their heart to others, to see how much support they receive from the space they live in, and the things that surround them.”

Get The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up from Amazon for $11.09.