How Learning to Fold Changed My Life
This summer I read a book that delivered on the promise in its title.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in two words is in fact life changing.
If you are someone who struggles even just the littlest bit to keep your home in order, this post and this book is for you!
While it may seem like a tidy home is a little out of context for what I usually write about, I want you to know that this book is one of the best ‘self-enrichment’ books I have read in a long time.
It goes beyond the external appearance of your home and deep into your heart, begging you to answer the question, “What brings you joy?”
Honestly, is there a better question to ask oneself? I think not.
Before I dive into the lessons that I learned from the book, you need to know something about me. While clutter makes me a little crazy, the last thing I would consider myself is naturally tidy.
I love to clean and I love a clean home, but it’s usually a cycle that goes like this:
I make everything look beautifully spic and span. Truly spotless. Then, within two to four days, everything is pretty much a mess and so I do the whole thing over and over again.
In fact, I had a running text message joke with my husband.
ME: Love, oh my goodness. I think someone broke into the apartment!
ME: Yeah, I came home and there is stuff, clothes and shoes, absolutly everywhere! I can hardly see the floor. It’s not how you left this morning. It’s a disaster. We definitely had robbers. I don’t think they took anything, but they most definitely made a huge mess.
HIM: Love, did you make a mess today?
ME: Yes, I’m so sorry. Don’t hate me. (prayer emoji) I promise to clean tonight when I get home.
Let me just say we had ‘robbers’ more often than I care to admit.
At some point, I accepted the fact that this is just how it goes. You clean, you make a mess, and you clean again, right?
Not when you are following the KonMari method.
If this book, written by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo, can turn me into a gal who keeps things tidy on an ongoing basis, then surely she can do it for you.
Ever since reading and implementing the principals in the book, even my husband can’t believe the changes that have occurred.
My closet REMAINS beautifully organized, day after day.
My desk STAYS in clean and clear. Nothing extra on it.
Our home has continually maintained a sense of calmness and peace.
Not a single robber has paid a visit since.
No more cycle of clean, mess it up, clean again.
It just. Stays. Clean.
Below, I am sharing the THREE things that completely changed my outlook on tidying and why the method works.
I am also sharing a few pics of my closet. And… you guys! I fold my underwear now! WHAT?! I never did this before. That alone will change your life!
Although these are rather short snippets as I encourage you to read the book, I want to give a little glimpse into my takeaways of the KonMari Method.
1. Everything in your home should elicit joy.
While I have heard this principal before in other organizing books, Kondo takes it a step further. Or, deeper I should say.
It’s not about what GAVE you joy (“I loved this when I bought it two years ago”) or what MIGHT give you joy in the future (“Maybe one day I will wear this!”), it’s about asking yourself “does this give me joy TODAY, in this moment?”
If there is an object in your home that gave you joy when you bought it (like that dress that you haven’t worn for 2 years but spent a lot of money on so don’t want to get rid of it) then it has served its purpose in your life which was to provide you with joy back then. But the only moment that truly exists is now.
So that other top in your closet that you think you might wear ONE day? Ask yourself, does it bring you joy today, right now?
You will be amazed at how clear this answer becomes.
2. When letting go of the things that no longer bring you joy, thank them for the wonderful job they did when you had them.
In the past when I would go through my closet, I would just stuff everything I no longer wanted into a bag for donation.
However, because I was looking closely at each piece, asking if it gave me joy, I wanted to treat each item with the utmost respect. With the things that no longer gave me joy, I took a moment to literally thank that item for the joy it had brought me.
Whether it provided me with a cool look on the beach of Nantucket, or when purchasing the item I felt the rush of excitement about owning something new, each item served a purpose.
So, rather than chuck all the items on the floor, I thanked them and sweetly folded them into beautiful piles.
And as a result, I now look at all the things I CHOSE to keep and every day I thank my little items.
I say thank you to my skirt for allowing a cool breeze to flow on my legs on this hot day.
I say thank you to my bag for carrying my computer as I bounce around the city.
I say thank you to my sandals for keeping the soles of my feet comfortable so that I could walk many blocks today.
Because I have gained a new sense of respect for the things I own, I tend to take better care of them. I want to put them away in their rightful home. I want to fold them properly so they have air to breathe. As a result, each item gets put away beautifully in its place and with pleasure. This is the KonMari method.
3. Upright folding.
Kondo doesn’t believe in making piles with your clothes. She says it like this, “If you were at the bottom of a pile with a bunch of things stacked on you, how would you feel?”
She says that piles don’t allow you to see all the items (hence you likely won’t use them) and that it doesn’t give your things an opportunity to do their best work for you.
So she has a technique of folding where you find the sweet spot.
Take a look at my workout pants and jeans. I just take a pair out and then put them back in the slot when I am done. No more messy piles.
Doing this alone has changed my ENTIRE getting dressed experience. Finding that pair of pants I want? No problem.
This was just a small portion of what I gave away.
And, well, my underwear drawer. I could resist sharing this. Okaaaay!?!!
Now, it’s your turn.
Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve read it (I love hearing other success stories with this book) & what you think about the KonMari method, or share your biggest challenge when it comes to cleaning!