Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo (and sorting out my photographs)

I recently posted about my February decluttering challenge, and how I was really inspired by having a sort through all my things and a clear out. As a little reward to myself at the end of the month I treated myself to a new book (for my Kindle of course to avoid more book clutter!) which I'd seen talked about in various places - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo (affiliate link).

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo - Photographs

Now I am regretting that I didn't buy it in paperback, because this little book has inspired me so much that I just want to run out and lend it to everyone! Marie Kondo's methods don't align exactly with the way that I've been decluttering, as she advocates doing a big sort out in a short period of time rather than getting rid of things gradually, but the way that she focusses on choosing things to keep rather than to give away really resonates with me.

Her method is to take out every item from a particular category at once, starting with easier categories like clothes and books and moving on to more personal ones, like photographs. You should take out one item at a time, touch it, and say to yourself 'does it spark joy?'. If the answer is no then you should get rid of it. Many items that you keep around have served their purpose, and so you should thank them and then pass them on. You'll learn to appreciate the possessions that you do have because you have chosen them, and therefore your home will be happy because it is filled only with the things that you love.

You can find plenty of information about Kondo's methods online, and there are many videos on YouTube showing her folding techniques for clothes (something that I've not really got into yet as most of my clothes are stored on shelves rather than in drawers, but they seem to work well for a lot of people!) But I'd really recommend getting hold of the actual book if you can, I can honestly say that it's been a life-changing read!

This week I tackled one of Kondo's more challenging categories - Photographs. My Mum recently gave me a big stack of old photographs of me, and I loved looking through them, they were definite keepers. All my photographs are stored in two photo boxes, and I was going to just add them in, but I couldn't help going through my photos while I had the boxes down from the top of the wardrobe.

Box of old photographs

To my surprise, with Kondo's voice in my head, I found it easy to go through them year by year and discard heaps of photos - many that I took when I was younger of random, blurry wildlife, along with duplicates and unidentifiable landscapes. I got rid of photos taken at various university events, where I can't remember the name or even the face of anyone in the photograph, and photos taken of stages at festivals in the dark where there is no hope of recognising a singer or band.

I did keep most of the photos that contained either me or a family member though, as long as they weren't duplicates. Some of them were a little blurry, and others weren't that great but they triggered a happy memory. We hardly ever print out photos any more, so there was plenty of space to store them all, along with making room for any more that might crop up. Now that they aren't quite so crammed in it's easier to look through them, and I enjoyed going through them so much that I'm determined to keep them more accessible so that I can see them.

I picked out a few favourites to put on display, with the plan to rotate them around. It inspired me to make some cool Hama bead frames for them (look out for a post shortly!) and I also saved some of my many duplicate baby photos for other crafty projects, like a page for each of the children's baby books and for my smash book.

I also purchased a small photo album which holds 100 photographs. I chose my favourite photos to keep in this album and it now sits on my desk where I can easily pick it up and leaf through it. This was something that I was inspired to do having read Marie Kondo's second book, Spark Joy (affiliate link), and you can read more about how I display the things that spark joy in my home here - My Marie Kondo approach and sparking joy.

I'd love to hear from anyone else that has read Marie Kondo's book and how it has worked for them, because it really has been amazing for me!


  1. I couldn't decide between the eBook and paper, so I'm waiting for my paperback to arrive!! But what I've seen online so far has already motivated me to start "cleaning". The KonMari method seems so very different from the Karen Kingston method - I can't wait to get started! TFS your post.
    Helen -- Firenze Cards

    1. Good luck with the method! I wish I'd bought the paperback now, much easier to pick up and leaf through when I need to feel motivated!


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