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miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo

Recently I finished reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Japanese tidying expert  Marie Kondo. Here I share some of the most interesting parts of her best selling book, which I recommend to buy (you can find it easily in Amazon) if you become interested in the subject. I think most people realize at some point in the life that we can live in a more organized life sorrounded only by the things we love. This will be my wish to you all.
Enjoy!



The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Kondo, Marie)

Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.

When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.

The cause (of clutter) is not lack of skills but rather lack of awareness and the inability to make tidying a regular habit.
Success is 90 percent dependent on our mind-set. Excluding the fortunate few to whom organizing comes naturally, if we do not address this aspect, rebound is inevitable no matter how much is discarded or how cleverly things are organized.

Changing lifestyle habits acquired over a span of many years is generally extremely difficult.
People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.

- The ultimate secret of success is this: If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set. A change so profound that it touches your emotions will irresistibly affect your way of thinking and your lifestyle habits. My clients do not develop the habit of tidying gradually. Every one of them has been clutter-free since they undertook their tidying marathon. This approach is the key to preventing rebound.
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If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time, you’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.
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The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. If you can do these two things, you can achieve perfection.
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There is a saying that “a messy room equals a messy mind.” I look at it this way. When a room becomes cluttered, the cause is more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.
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Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.
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Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.
I recommend tidying by category. For example, instead of deciding that today you’ll tidy a particular room, set goals like “clothes today, books tomorrow.”
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One reason so many of us never succeed at tidying is because we have too much stuff.
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When it comes to tidying, the majority of people are lazy. They are also busy.
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People who can’t stay tidy can be categorized into just three types: the “can’t-throw-it-away” type, the “can’t-put-it-back” type, and the “first-two-combined” type.
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Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first. This principle does not change. The rest depends on the level of tidiness you personally want to achieve.
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Tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day.
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The work of tidying should be completed once and for all within a single period of time.
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Once you have put your house in order, tidying will be reduced to the very simple task of putting things back where they belong.
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Although not large, the space I live in is graced only with those things that speak to my heart. My lifestyle brings me joy.
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Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.
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Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.
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Now that you can picture the lifestyle you dream of, is it time to move on to discarding? No, not yet.
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Your next step is to identify why you want to live like that. Look back over your notes about the kind of lifestyle you want, and think again.
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The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy. It may seem obvious, but it is important to experience this realization for yourself and let it sink into your heart.
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 “Discard anything you haven’t used for a year,” and “if you can’t decide, pack those items away in a box and look at them again six months later.” However, the moment you start focusing on how to choose what to throw away, you have actually veered significantly off course.
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We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
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Take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.
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You must take each outfit in your hand. When you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts. Its response to each item is different. Trust me and try it.
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Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.
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Recommend that you always think in terms of category, not place.
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In addition to the physical value of things, there are three other factors that add value to our belongings: function, information, and emotional attachment.
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People have trouble discarding things that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information (informational value), and that have sentimental ties (emotional value). When these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder to part with.
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The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.
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To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy.
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The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.
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We need to show consideration for others by helping them avoid the burden of owning more than they need or can enjoy.
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When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.
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To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
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The most important points to remember are these: Make sure you gather every piece of clothing in the house and be sure to handle each one.
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To me, it doesn’t seem right to keep clothes we don’t enjoy for relaxing around the house.
This time at home is still a precious part of living. Its value should not change just because nobody sees us.
What you wear in the house does impact your self-image.
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There are two storage methods for clothes: one is to put them on hangers and hang from a rod and the other is to fold them and put them away in drawers.
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By neatly folding your clothes, you can solve almost every problem related to storage.
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The real benefit is that you must handle each piece of clothing. As you run your hands over the cloth, you pour your energy into it. The Japanese word for healing is te-ate, which literally means “to apply hands.”
The energy that flows from the person’s hands into our skin seems to heal both body and soul.
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When we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.
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The first step is to visualize what the inside of your drawer will look like when you finish.
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The key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat.
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The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle.
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Every piece of clothing has its own “sweet spot” where it feels just right—a folded state that best suits that item.
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Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.
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Arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right.
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By category, coats would be on the far left, followed by dresses, jackets, pants, skirts, and blouses.
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Never, ever tie up your stockings. Never, ever ball up your socks.
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If you are planning to buy storage units in the near future, I recommend that you get a set of drawers instead.
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Books are one of three things that people find hardest to let go.
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General (books you read for pleasure) Practical (references, cookbooks, etc.) Visual (photograph collections, etc.) Magazines
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Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?
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Books are essentially paper—sheets of paper printed with letters and bound together. Their true purpose is to be read, to convey the information to their readers. It’s the information they contain that has meaning. There is no meaning in their just being on your shelves. You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember.
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I’m afraid that from personal experience I can tell you right now, “sometime” never comes.
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If you haven’t done what you intended to do yet, donate or recycle that book.
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Only by discarding it will you be able to test how passionate you are about that subject. If your feelings don’t change after discarding it, then you’re fine as is. If you want the book so badly after getting rid of it that you’re willing to buy another copy, then buy one—and this time read and study it.
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For books, timing is everything. The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it. To avoid missing that moment, I recommend that you keep your collection small.
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Recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.
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Papers are organized into only three categories: needs attention, should be saved (contractual documents), and should be saved (others).
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Although I have never managed to completely empty my “needs attention” box, this is the goal to which we should aspire.
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A seminar’s value begins the moment we start attending, and the key to extracting the full value is putting what we learn there into practice the moment the course ends. Why do people pay expensive fees for such courses when they can read the same content in a book or elsewhere? Because they want to feel the passion of the teacher and experience that learning environment. Thus the real material is the seminar itself, and it must be experienced live.
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It’s paradoxical, but I believe that precisely because we hang on to such materials, we fail to put what we learn into practice.
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1. CDs, DVDs 2. Skin care products 3. Makeup 4. Accessories 5. Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.) 6. Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely “electric”) 7. Household equipment (stationary and writing materials, sewing kits, etc.) 8. Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc.) 9. Kitchen goods/food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders, etc.) 10. Other (spare change, figurines, etc.) (If you have many items related to a particular interest or hobby, such as ski equipment or tea ceremony articles, treat these as a single subcategory.)
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Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need “just because.” I urge you to take stock of your komono and save only, and I mean only, those that bring you joy.
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Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it. Of course, it would be ideal if you could use it with joy. But surely the person who gave it to you doesn’t want you to use it out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it. When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.
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It is far quicker to ask a pro for the answer than to struggle to find one in the manual by yourself.
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Mysterious cords will always remain just that—a mystery.
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The thought of disposing of them sparks the fear that we’ll lose those precious memories along with them. But you don’t need to worry. Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them. When you think about your future, is it worth keeping mementos of things that you would otherwise forget? 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 are more important. So, once again, the way to decide what to keep is to pick up each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
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By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too. It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.
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If you are keeping them because you can’t forget a former boyfriend, it’s better to discard or donate them. Hanging on to them makes it more likely that you will miss opportunities for new relationships.
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The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.
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Really important things are not that great in number.
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It’s interesting how the human mind tries to make sense even out of the nonsensical.
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As for toilet paper, the record stock so far is eighty rolls. “I have loose bowels you see … I run out very quickly,” was the client’s excuse. But even if she used one roll a day, she had at least a three months’ supply. I’m not sure she could have used up one roll a day even if she spent all day wiping her bottom, and by that time her bottom would have been rubbed raw. It made me wonder whether I should be giving her skin cream rather than lessons in cleaning.
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For people who stockpile, I don’t think there is any amount that would make them feel secure. The more they have, the more they worry about running out and the more anxious they become. Even though they still have two left, they will go out and buy five more.
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What is the perfect amount of possessions? I think that most people don’t know. If you have lived in Japan or the United States all your life, you have almost certainly been surrounded by far more than you need. This makes it hard for many people to imagine how much they need to live comfortably. As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you. You will feel it as clearly as if something has clicked inside your head and said, “Ah! This is just the amount I need to live comfortably. This is all I need to be happy. I don’t need anything more.” The satisfaction that envelops your whole being at that point is palpable. I call this the “just-right click point.”
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Only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy. The act of picking up and choosing objects is extremely personal.
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The fact that you possess a surplus of things that you can’t bring yourself to discard doesn’t mean you are taking good care of them. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
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The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing.
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The amount of storage space you have in your room is actually just right.
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The real problem is that we have far more than we need or want. Once you learn to choose your belongings properly, you will be left only with the amount that fits perfectly in the space you currently own.
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Storage methods should be as simple as possible.
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The secret to maintaining an uncluttered room is to pursue ultimate simplicity in storage so that you can tell at a glance how much you have.
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I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.
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There are only two ways of categorizing belongings: by type of item and by person.
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Start with clothes, then books, then documents, komono, and finally mementos. If you are sorting your things in this order, you can store each category in its own designated spot as soon as you have chosen what to keep.
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If you live with your family, first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member.
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To concentrate the belongings of each person in one spot is the most effective way for keeping storage tidy.
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Of the many people I’ve met who are not good at tidying, most had parents who cleaned their rooms for them or they never had a space that they felt was their very own.
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But not having a space you can call your own is dangerous. Everyone needs a sanctuary.
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Start by sorting only your own things.
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Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.
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If you are aiming for an uncluttered room, it is much more important to arrange your storage so that you can tell at a glance where everything is than to worry about the details of who does what, where, and when.
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Store everything similar in the same place or in close proximity.
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When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house. If you remember to do this, you will instinctively know how to proceed with organizing and storing your things.
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Stacking is very hard on the things at the bottom. When things are piled on top of one another, the things underneath get squished.
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The most common item I use is an empty shoebox.
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The best way to store bags is in another bag
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I had foolishly believed that I would remember to take out what I could not see.
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Being packed all the time, even when not in use, must feel something like going to bed on a full stomach. If you treat your handbags like this, they will soon look tired and worn.
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There is no need to keep soaps and shampoos out when we are not using them, and the added exposure to heat and moisture when they aren’t in use is bound to affect their quality. It is therefore my policy to keep everything out of the bath or shower.
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One theme underlying my method of tidying is transforming the home into a sacred space, a power spot filled with pure energy. A comfortable environment, a space that feels good to be in, a place where you can relax—these are the traits that make a home a power spot. Would you rather live in a home like this or in one that resembles a storage shed? The answer, I hope, is obvious.
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Your room at least should be the one place where you can pursue and enjoy your interests to your heart’s content. So if you like something, don’t hide it away. If you want to enjoy them but don’t want your friends or others to know, I have a solution. Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure.
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Unpack and de-tag new clothes immediately
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People commonly assume that it is cheaper to buy things in bulk when on sale. But I believe the opposite is true. If you consider the cost of storage, it is just as economical to keep these things in the store, not in your home.
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Moreover, if you buy and use them as you need them, they will be newer and in better condition.
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Being left in the package does clothes nothing but harm.
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There is a noticeable difference between clothes in someone’s closet and those hanging on a rack in a store. The latter have a very different aura from the hardworking clothes we use every day.
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Some people worry that if they remove the tags their value will drop if they ever take them to a recycle shop, but that is a contradiction. If you are going to buy clothes, choose them with the intention of welcoming them into your home and caring for them. When you buy them, remove the tags immediately. In order for your clothes to make the transition from store products to personal possessions, you need to perform the ritual of cutting the “umbilical cord” that links them to the shop.
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Tear the printed film off packages that you don’t want to see, such as deodorizers and detergents. Spaces that are out of sight are still part of your house. By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.
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The act of possessing is a very natural part of our daily life, not something reserved for some special match or contest.
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At their core, the things we really like do not change over time. Putting your house in order is a great way to discover what they are.
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Letting go is even more important than adding.”
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Sometimes I ask my clients how their lives changed after taking the course. Although I have grown accustomed to their answers, in the beginning even I was surprised. The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered.
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One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity.
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The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
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But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.
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We can’t see what we really need now, at this moment. We aren’t sure what would satisfy us or what we are looking for. As a result, we increase the number of unnecessary possessions, burying ourselves both physically and mentally in superfluous things.
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The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.
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The things we own are real. They exist here and now as a result of choices made in the past by no one other than ourselves. It is dangerous to ignore them or to discard them indiscriminately as if denying the choices we made. This is why I am against both letting things pile up and dumping things indiscriminately. It is only when we face the things we own one by one and experience the emotions they evoke that we can truly appreciate our relationship with them.
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If you are going to put your house in order, do it now.
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It is a strong reminder that they have been living all this time surrounded by things that they don’t need. There are no exceptions. Even clients who have less than a fifth of their possessions left at the end feel this way.
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Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.
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Instead of suffering from the stress of looking and not finding, we take action, and these actions often lead to unexpected benefits.
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Because they have continued to identify and dispense with things that they don’t need, they no longer abdicate responsibility for decision making to other people.
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It is by putting one’s own house in order that one’s mind-set is changed.
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I believe that tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for those things that will be departing from the house, and therefore I dress accordingly.
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In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.
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To test my theory, try putting your house in order from the perspective of what would make it happy. You will be surprised at how smoothly
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Think about why you have the things you do. If you answer, “Because I chose them,” “Because I need them,” or “Because of a variety of coincidences,” all of these responses would be correct. But without exception, all the things you own share the desire to be of use to you.
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The fate that links us to the things we own is quite amazing. Take just one shirt, for example. Even if it was mass-produced in a factory, that particular shirt that you bought and brought home on that particular day is unique to you. The destiny that led us to each one of our possessions is just as precious and sacred as the destiny that connected us with the people in our lives. There is a reason why each one of your belongings came to you.
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Everything you own wants to be of use to you. Even if you throw it away or burn it, it will only leave behind the energy of wanting to be of service.
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Whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you.
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Make your parting a ceremony to launch them on a new journey.
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It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.
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When we put our house in order, the air inside becomes fresh and clean. Reducing the amount of stuff in our space also reduces the amount of dust, and we actually clean more often.
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We amass material things for the same reason that we eat—to satisfy a craving. Buying on impulse and eating and drinking to excess are attempts to alleviate stress.
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The true purpose of tidying is, I believe, to live in the most natural state possible. Don’t you think it is unnatural for us to possess things that don’t bring us joy or things that we don’t really need? I believe that owning only what we love and what we need is the most natural condition.
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When a woman is in love, the change in her is apparent to everyone around her. The love she receives from her partner, the confidence that love gives her, and her desire to make the effort to look beautiful for him all give her energy. Her skin glows, her eyes shine, and she becomes even more beautiful. In the same way, things that are loved by their owner and treated with care are vibrant and radiate an aura of wanting to be of more service to their owner. Things that are cherished shine. This is why I can tell at a glance whether something truly sparks joy.
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For this very reason, I can guarantee that you will be able to put your house in order. The moment you picked up this book with the intention of tidying, you took the first step. If you have read this far, you know what you need to do next.
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The only tasks that you will need to continue for the rest of your life are those of choosing what to keep and what to discard and of caring for the things you decide to keep. You can put your house in order now, once and forever.
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As for you, pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life. I am convinced that putting your house in order will help you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.

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