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Clear the clutter with Marie Kondo

Here are six easy steps from the Spark Joy author to help you ensure your spring cleaning's a success

by Psychologies

Commit yourself to tidying up. Believe in yourself. Once you’ve made up your mind, all you need to do is to apply the right method.

  1. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. When you imagine your ideal lifestyle, you are actually clarifying why you want to tidy and identifying the kind of life you want to live once you have finished.
  2. Finish discarding first. One characteristic of people who never seem to finish tidying up is that they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything. You can only plan where to store your things and what to store them in once you’ve decided what to keep and what to discard.
  3. Tidy by category, not by location. One of the most common mistakes people make is to tidy room by room. But this approach doesn’t work. Focus on one thing at a time. Confronted with an enormous mound of clothes, you will be forced to acknowledge how poorly you have been treating your possessions.
  4. Follow the right order. It is crucial to follow the correct order, which is clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), and finally, sentimental items. Have you ever run across old photos while tidying and found that hours have passed? This is a very common blunder. Clothes are ideal for practising this skill, while photos and other sentimental items are the epitome of what you should not touch until you have perfected it.
  5. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. The criteria for deciding what to keep and what to discard is whether or not something sparks joy. When deciding, hold the item firmly in both hands as if communing with it. Pay attention to how your body responds when you do this – when something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill.

This is an edited extract from Spark Joy by Marie Kondo (Vermilion, £12.99)

Photograph: iStock

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