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I’m sure you’ve all heard of the KonMari Method by now? Marie Kondo is a Japanese author who wrote the #1 best-selling New York Times guide to decluttering your home and your life. It’s been all the rage for the past 3 or so years.

I listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast about her a couple weeks ago, and it inspired me to finally read her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

I finished reading the book last weekend and started the process last night.

There are no rules such as “get rid of anything you haven’t used in 2 years”. The premise of the book is to keep only what sparks joy. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it makes sense. Doesn’t everyone want to surround themselves with joy?

Keeping only what brings feelings of joy is important but also very difficult for someone like me who is so practical.

The order in which you declutter is critical:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Documents
  4. Miscellaneous
  5. Sentimental items

The reason for this is that you’ll hone your ability to accurately assess joy as you move on to more important categories, such as sentimental items.

You need to take everything out of your dressers/closets/bookshelves/file cabinets/etc. and lay them out in one location. You must touch each item and ask yourself whether it brings joy. Only keep what is useful or brings joy.

For those items you’ll be getting rid of, it’s important is to thank each one for the joy it once brought or the lesson it taught you before getting rid of it. As silly as it sounds, it is key to not letting guilt cloud your decisions. By realizing what function it served, you can let go of the guilt.

Last night I tackled my tops, bottoms, outerwear, belts, and scarves. I am not sure I did a great job – it was a start – but I did get rid of an amount I’m happy with for now. I still need to practice listening to my heart and listening for joy. I thanked some older items I no longer wore for making me happy when I loved them and wore them often. I thanked some items for bringing me joy when I received them as gifts but never or rarely wore because they weren’t my style. This included a scarf given to me by my ex sister-in-law as well as a couple sweaters Hayden gave me as a Christmas gift. Believe me, those were tough to let go of.

I’m not yet finished with clothing – I still need to tackle shoes, underwear, and socks – and then will move onto the next category: books.

The process has got me thinking about what in my life brings me joy, including my relationships. (Marie Kondo did say that one of her clients divorced her husband after going through this process.)

I only want to surround myself with things and people who bring me joy.