So, I jumped on the bandwagon and read Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up".
First, is there anyone here who hasn't heard of this book yet? The general gist is pick up every item you own, ask yourself "does this spark joy?", and if the answer is anything other than an enthusiastic YES, out it goes.
Obviously, if you only have 3 bras and none of them feel good or fit well, you're in some trouble with this system. But most of us have quite a bit more stuff than we actually need, like, or use. We tend to hold onto things either because we're worried we'll need it in the future, or we feel like we should hold onto it because of the history involved with the item.
I'm not very sentimental when it comes to most items, and I thought I was great at purging items, but I got started with this program and was inspired to get rid of a bunch of things that have been flying under my radar.
Part of it lies in her method for dealing with items - she has you get ALL your clothes, put them on the floor in front of you, and handle them individually. Then the same with your books - they all come off the shelves, and as you pick up each one, you either say that you love it, or respectfully thank it for its' service and send it on its' way. (She used to be a Shinto temple maiden, she's big on energy inherent in items, and she anthropomorphizes personal items as all wanting to be of service to their owner in some way.) The next category is papers, and generally she says to pitch them all. Manuals, warranty paperwork, old school work - get rid of it. Then it's a category she calls komono, or miscellaneous. Personally, I think she covers too much ground with this, because it's EVERYTHING except sentimental items. Toys, makeup, kitchen things, housewares, furniture - everything. Then and only then do you deal with sentimental keepsakes.
Of course, the other part of this is what you do with the things you keep - she's big on treating your items with respect, even thanking them for their hard work at the end of the day. That goes a bit far for me, but her folding and storing of clothes is like art. Seriously - go check out KonMarie folding tutorials on youtube - it's gorgeous!
Now, Kondo claims that no one who does her method EVER relapses to clutter. I call bull on that - I think the folks she works with keep it nice for months, maybe years, but eventually they'll hit an emotional upheaval in their lives and THEN the clutter starts to come back. And I guarantee you, if you're under the depression cloud and your clutter is building around you while you have no force of will to make it nice again, when you see Kondo's number on your phone, you're not picking up. Or returning her email. Or opening the door. Because you don't want to admit that you let it happen again! She claims she only has to tidy her own house twice a year, for about an hour each time. I'd say that's because she's a single woman living alone - if she had to deal with kids growing in and out of clothes, toys, books, furniture, fads, etc, she'd realize that for MOST of us, it's a lot more of an ongoing project.
Even so, it's worth a good run through - she really has you look in all the dark, shadowy corners and pull out the junk you forgot was sitting there. It's full bore, hard level cleaning out, and sometimes you just NEED that. It gets you to a good base, so you have a place to return to every few months when the kids belongings overflow again.