Here are some of Kondo’s guid­ing lights:

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE -

Tidy once. And tidy all in one shot. This in­volves only two acts, de­cid­ing what to dis­card and what to keep. Don’t worry about where to put things un­til you’ve gone through ev­ery­thing. Ask the magic ques­tion. Hold items one at a time and ask each whether it sparks joy. Don’t think about whether it’s in or out of style, or if it fits, flat­ters or cost a lot. Just take a gut check. Joy is the only goal. “What’s the point in tidy­ing if it’s not so that our space and the things in it can bring us hap­pi­ness?” Kondo asks. Work by cat­e­gory. Don’t clean a room at time; clear a cat­e­gory at a time, and in this or­der: clothes, books, papers, mis­cel­lany (komono), and, last, me­men­tos and photos. Start with the eas­ier stuff, be­cause you will get bet­ter as you go. Ap­ply the physics of fold­ing. Think of a bas­ket of laun­dry. Now pic­ture the items in the bas­ket folded. The mass is smaller. Folded clothes take up less space. You can fit two to four times

more clothes in the same amount of space if you fold them in­stead of hang them. Fold pre­cisely, and, rather than lay­ing items flat, store them stand­ing up, so you can see edges.

Toss mys­tery cords. They will al­ways re­main a mys­tery and are easy to re­place. With books, keep the col­lec­tion small and to only what you will truly read. Dis­card all papers. “They will never in­spire joy.” Okay, she al­lows a few ex­cep­tions: cur­rently in use, need for a lim­ited pe­riod, must be kept in­def­i­nitely. Let­ters ful­filled their pur­pose the mo­ment they were re­ceived. About sen­ti­men­tal value. The hard­est cat­e­gory, by far, are me­men­tos and photos, which is why you do this last. “We live in the present. No mat­ter how won­der­ful things used to be, we can­not live in the past. The joy and ex­cite­ment we feel here and now is more im­por­tant.” Yup. The prom­ise. “Tidy­ing dra­mat­i­cally changes one’s life,” Kondo says. That is the magic art of tidy­ing.

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