Your Favorite Tips from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

April 18, 2015

There are so many great conversations on the Hotlineit's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledgeand to keep the conversation going.

Today: It's time for some spring cleaning—what are your best tips for getting a cleaner, more organized house?

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Have you heard about Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method? Or, as my dad asked me the other day, "That Japanese cleaning thing?" If you haven't, here's a quick review:

Marie Kondo is a lifestyle and organizing consultant from Japan. She advocates strict methods for cleaning and organizing your things—mainly, take everything you own by category (books, clothing, kitchen tools) and hold each object one by one. Ask yourself if the object "sparks joy" while you're holding it. If yes, put it in the keep pile. If it does not, get rid of it. But before it gets the heave-ho, thank the object for its service. Repeat. These two actions, practicing gratitude and saying goodbye, are the foundation of the KonMari method.

Assistant Editor Ali Slagle read Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, cleaned out her closet, and found the results truly life changing. So, over on the Hotline, she asked if any Food52ers have also had success with the KonMari Method and offered bonus points for spring-cleaning tips. As always, you have plenty of opinions, and a whole lot of joy:

  • Slice of Life says that "The thing that still brings me joy is [Kondo's] instructions on folding and organizing laundry. I smile now when I fold."
  • Bevi says that she loves the KonMari Method, but that there’s only so much she can do: "I can only really clean out much of our 'stuff' with the approval of our kids, who need to tell me what goes and what stays when it comes to their possessions."
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard claims the book helps her take her penchant for organizing to a whole new level. She explains: "I used to ball up my socks and was skeptical when Kondo claimed that those 'potato-like lumps' take up more room (and are harder on your socks), but she was right. Folding my socks into compact rolls saved me room in my sock drawer."

  • QueenSashy organizes her shoes in white photo boxes. She says, "Every morning I walk into my closet, look at the white neatness, and feel happy all over."
  • AntoniaJames shared her best organization tip: "Treat it like any other project to be managed, and break it down into bite-sized pieces." She does this by planning tasks that can be accomplished in 2-, 5-, or 15-minute chunks and writes them all down on index cards. She says: "When a pocket of time becomes available, I simply scan the cards, pick one or more tasks, do them, check them off, and move on with my life. On the weekend, I update the cards."
  • Cara Rosaen started organizing her home by putting all of the clothing in her house into one pile. She says, “The mountains in front of me were embarrassing—it inspired much more purging. I really think I got rid of 60 to 70% of my closet and now I only have things I love. It's inspiring to try to live simpler and teach my new son about living with less—as a way of living more."

What are your best tips for spring cleaning and organizing? Tell us in the comments.

Photos by James Ransom

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Mei Chin

Written by: Mei Chin

Let's have dinner sometime. There will be champagne and ice cream for sure; everything else is up in the air.

1 Comment

AntoniaJames June 24, 2015
What does "tidying up" mean? I can imagine it meaning different things to different people, depending on their circumstances. ;o)