The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
My Favorite Quotes
- Storage “solutions” are prisons in which to bury possessions that spark no joy.
- Storage should reduce the effort to put things away, not the effort to get them out.
- Put your house in order and discover what you really want to do.
- Letting go is just as important as adding.
- The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
- Your real life begins after putting your house in order.
- Does this item spark joy?
- How and why did I get this?
- How do I want to live my life?
Chapter 1: Why can’t I keep my house in order?
Tidy everything at once.
All it takes are two steps, look at each item and decide:
- If I should keep it.
- Where to put it.
Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal is to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.
Storage experts are hoarders.
Storage methods do not solve the problem of how to get rid of clutter.
Concealing what you don’t need is not tidying.
Sort by category not location.
Don’t change the method based on your personality.
- Can’t throw it away (0%)
- Can’t put it away (10%)
- Can’t throw it away or put it away (90%)
Discard (must be first)
Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore.
Chapter 2: Finish Discarding First
Tidy in the right order.
Before you start, visualize your destination.
Visualize your lifestyle after tidying.
Identify why you want that lifestyle.
Selection criteria: does it spark joy?
Focus on what you want to keep instead of what to get rid of.
Take out every item of the same category and lay them out in one place.
Getting every item in one place gives you a grasp of what you have.
Factors that add value:
Begin with items that are easier to make decisions about. Clothes are the easiest.
Best sequence for tidying:
What you don’t need your family doesn’t either.
Tidying is a dialogue with oneself.
If something is hard to throw away, ask yourself how you got it and why.
All that will remain are things you truly treasure.
Discard things that have outlived their purpose.
Chapter 3: Tidying by Category Works Like Magic
Putting your house in order is fun!
Clothes: divide into sub-categories to make it easier, in this order.
- Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc)
- Bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts, etc)
- Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc)
- Accessories (purses, belts, hats, etc)
- Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, uniforms, etc)
Start with off-season clothes.
Do not downgrade clothes you do not like to loungewear.
What you wear in the house does impact your self image.
Lean towards folding stead of hanging clothes.
Learn to grab the pleasure that comes from folding clothes.
How to Fold
- The first step is to visualize how your drawer will look when you are finished folding.
- Organize the content so you can see every item at a glance.
- Treat your clothes with respect.
- Shoeboxes make good dividers in drawers for socks.
Chapter 4: Storing Your Things to Make Your Life Shine
Designate a place for each thing.
Storage “solutions” are prisons in which to bury possessions that spark no joy.
Storage: pursue ultimate simplicity.
Two rules :
- Store all items of the same type in the same place.
- Don’t scatter storage space.
Storage should reduce the effort to put things away, not the effort to get them out.
Categorize by type of item and by person.
Causes of clutter:
- Too much effort required to put things away.
- It is unclear where things belong.
We unconsciously adjust our actions to match where things are stored.
Do not pile things. Vertical is best.
Shoe boxes are her favorite storage device.
Use shoe-box lids as trays in drawers.
Have fun and enjoy the process!
Empty your bag every day.
Items that usurp floor space belong in the closet.
Method for effective use of a closet:
- Off-season items should be stored on shelf above closet. Also a good spot for large mementos such as wedding albums.
- Store clothes in the closet using clear plastic drawers.
- Bedding is best stored on upper shelf.
- Bottom can be used for storing electrical appliances such as fans and heaters in the off-season.
Decorate your closet with your secret delights.
Unpack and de-tag new clothes immediately.
Don’t underestimate the noise of written information.
Remove tag labels and printed film that you don’t want to see.
Excess words fill your mind with information that your brain thinks it needs to sort.
Even from space out of sight, they are still part of your house.
Appreciate your possessions and gain strong allies.
Storage is the act of choosing a home for your belongings.
Chapter 5: The Magic of Tidying Dramatically Transforms Your Life
Put your house in order and discover what you really want to do.
Letting go is just as important as adding.
Attachment or fear of the future?
Desire for stability in the future.
The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
There are three approaches we can take toward our possessions:
- Face them now.
- Face them sometime.
- Avoid them until the day we die.
Do you greet your house?
Say “hello I am home” or “thank you for giving me shelter” when you arrive home.
Your possessions want to help you.
Things that don’t spark joy want to leave.
Your living space affects your body.
Tidying is detoxing your house.
Put lighter colors at the front of the drawer and darker colors towards the back.
Your real life begins after putting your house in order.
Action Steps Taken After Reading
- Sorted and discarded of a lot of clothes that did not spark joy.
- Organized dresser and closet.
- Added shoe boxes and shoe box lids as dividers in drawers.
- Utilized new method of folding clothes so everything is standing and visible at a glance, including shirts, pants, socks, etc.
- Discarded books, mementos, papers, and other miscellaneous items.
- More focused on the question of how I want to live my life. Less focus on possessions and more focus on relationships and appreciating the things in my life that spark joy.