Books: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This was such a pleasant. simple, wise, and easy book to read. As with other very simple things, it’s difficult to do. Simple solutions are almost always the best solutions but also the hardest. The book is about getting rid of clutter, organizing what is left, and never going back. If you have any desire to simplify your life, stop letting your possessions overwhelm you, and surround yourself with simple beauty, then I recommend this book highly.

Here are the notes I took:

“Storage experts are hoarders.”

“It’s human nature to take the easy route, and most people leap at storage methods that promise quick and easy ways to remove visible clutter.”

“Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.”

“Instead of deciding that today you’ll tidy a particular room, set goals like ‘clothes today, books tomorrow’. One reason so many of us never succeed at tidying is because we have too much stuff. This excess is caused by our ignorance of how much we actually own.”

“There are only two tasks involved – discarding and deciding where to keep things.”

“Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.”

“Focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness. Why? Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” I AM TOTALLY GUILTY OF THIS!!

“Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”

The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.

“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.”

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

“Downgrading to ‘loungewear’ is taboo.” I took this one to heart and got rid of some race tshirts that I was using as pajama tops. From now on, I will buy clothes specifically for lounge-wear and not use downgrading clothing. 

On books: “You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it.”

“There’s no need to finish books that you only got halfway through.” Once I learned this lesson I was able to read more than 100 books per year. 

“My basic principle for sorting papers is to through them all away.”

“Make sure you keep all papers in one spot. Never let them spread to other parts of the house.”

“Papers are organized into only three categories: needs attention, should be saved (contractual documents), and should be saved (other). …refrain from subdividing them any further by content.”

“The basic order for sorting komono (miscellany) is as follows: CDs and DVDs, skin care products, makeup, accessories, valuables (passports, credit cards), electrical equipment and appliances (cameras, cords, etc), household equipment (stationary, writing tools, sewing kits, etc), household supplies (medicine, detergent, toilet paper, etc), kitchen goods/food supplies, other (spare change, collectibles).”

“I beg you to rescue those forgotten coins wasting away in your home by adopting the motto “into my wallet!”

“My storage method is extremely simple. I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.”

“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out. For people who are lazy, I strongly recommend focusing storage in one spot.” This is clearly the issue in my house – it’s not easy enough to put things away.

“Never pile things: vertical storage is the key.”

“Letting go is even more important than adding”. This reminds me of Antifragile and that best results in health come from subtraction, not addition

“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”