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The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

Marie Kondo

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1. Finish discarding before storing i.e., Reclaim the storage space you already have

"One of the most common mistakes that individuals make when tidying is that they spend so much effort storing things that they may no longer even want or need," Kondo tells AD. Guilty as charged—who among us hasn't complained about needing more closet space when we only wear 10 of the 100 articles in a regular rotation? "Before considering storage," she continues, "remove all of your belongings from where they are currently kept. Hold them one by one as you ask yourself, 'Do I truly need this?' or 'Does it spark joy for me?'" Yes, it's a bit of an ordeal, taking out all your things and sorting them, but you'll end up getting rid of so many unnecessary things that it will all be worth it in the end.

i.e., Never lose another anything again

Pretty self-explanatory: Shirts go with shirts, stationery goes with stationery, electrical cords go with electrical cords. That way, there won't ever be a question as to where the heck the thing you're looking for is when you need it. And when it gets down to the wildly miscellaneous items in your junk drawer—which Kondo calls komono—she recommends sticking to categories (e.g., any and everything you'd need to write a letter can go in your "stationery" location).

3. Store belongings standing upright i.e., Bye forever, wrinkles!

Sounds like magic, and it kind of is. Consider your dresser: Instead of storing your shirts in an up-and-down stack, so all you can see is the one on top, store them folded side-up, side by side—they'll read a bit like a row of book spines. "This will allow you to see what's inside at a glance and take inventory of what you own," Kondo says. "If you store your clothes in a drawer standing upright, you will be able to survey how many articles you own that are the same color. This will prevent you from unknowingly buying more of the same type of clothing." And, you know, forgetting about the articles that are unlucky enough to land on the bottom of the stack, forever. Stand your folded shirts upright, and you'll free them of wrinkles (which are caused by weight from the stack).

Kondo's other mantras, such as "treat objects as if they are alive," might seem opaque at first. "I will often say, 'It's not good to ball up socks, because the socks can't rest this way,'" she admits, "But what I mean by 'allowing the socks to rest' is that the elastic will get stretched over time and will wear out sooner if you roll socks into a ball." If this kind of thinking makes you very, very happy, then maybe you will enjoy the books. Otherwise, just get to discarding, categorizing, and uprighting your things on the double.

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