Book Talk: A tidy approach to spring cleaning from Marie Kondo

26 March 2020

By Alanna Warwick-Smith

Spring is my favourite time of year. I love the newness of spring and the hope of fresh possibility and change. What I don’t love is spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is traditionally defined as “a thorough cleaning of a house or room, typically undertaken in the spring.” It’s less of the cleaning that I find perpetual issue with, it is the associated decluttering, which is why I sought out the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo.

I’d heard of the KonMari method and seen the Netflix series, so I was sceptical about what else there was for me to learn when approaching the small pastel book as a cure-all to my clutter problems. It turns out there were many more things to learn. This small but mighty book breaks down the KonMari method/checklist into the ideal order for your tidying up: clothes, books, papers, komono (or miscellaneous items) and sentimental items.

My biggest takeaways from “Tidying Up” were: Start with categories, designate a place for each thing and keep things because you love them — not just because.

The KonMari method is strategic in starting with categories rather than rooms for your tidying process. Everything must be in one place, so yes, you have to bring all of your clothes from every room to one place. Then you decide which items truly “spark joy” in your life. Once that’s done, everything needs a home — a very simple theory that when practised makes more sense than you’d think. How many knick-knacks and old receipts are sitting on countertops and drawers with no assigned place? When everything has a designated location — there is no longer room for excess clutter.

A wise woman once said, “We are living in a material world and I am a material girl.” You may not agree with Marie Kondo, or Madonna, in full — but that isn’t the point of this experience. “Tidying Up” is a lesson in appreciating your things and subsequently through these lessons, the people and experiences in your life. Maybe, just maybe, I will now focus a little less on the material things in life and no one will ever again recommend me for an episode of “Hoarders.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” is available at Books & Books in Camana Bay.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “A tidy approach to spring cleaning.”

About the Author 

Alanna Warwick-Smith is a Marketing Coordinator supporting the real estate marketing team for Dart. Alanna has worked in Dart’s flagship development of Camana Bay for the past eight years, when she began her career working at the town’s bookstore, Books & Books. A lover of the written word, Alanna reads and writes poetry in her spare time, and has written content for a range of platforms in the past, including her own blog and Camana Bay Times.