This Book Is Changing My Life

{Photo by Jordan Ferney via Oh Happy Day on Instagram}

This book popped up on Oh Happy Day's Instragram feed lately, and within minutes, I had read the reviews and ordered it on Amazon. I thought it might be exactly what I was looking for, and I haven't been disappointed.

You guys. I can't recommend this book enough.

See this? This is just the beginning.

Yeah, that's seven bins of stuff I cleaned out of my house to donate (to the CARE Shelter Thrift Shop of course!) There were three additional bins before that, and this was just the first day I started reading.

I need to tell you about this book. NEED TO. It's called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. Let me give you a quick run down of the highlights and takeaways, because now I'm a believer in Marie Kondo's method.

1. Marie, who now offers her services helping people clean and organize their homes, has always been obsessed with cleaning and organization. She talks a lot about how she obsessed over home decor magazines and tidying strategies as a kids. The way she describes herself as a child reminds me of when I was little, when I sewed all my own Barbie clothes and taught myself to knit and crochet. Some nerdy kid habits never go away, and some turn into lifetime hobbies or even careers. Still one of my nerdy hobbies will blossom into a career...

2. My favorite thing to take away from this book is Marie's reasons and strategies for separating yourself from material items. She mentions things like if you can't even remember what's in that closet, there's probably nothing in there you'll miss too much. Stop keeping things because you'll use them someday, or read it someday, or because you can imagine it being upcycled or put to good use. Instead of clinging to material items, thank the item for serving its purpose, and throw it out. While I don't believe that my socks can understand my gratitude, I love this perspective. Throwing things out is not wasteful if the item has served its purpose. Be grateful and move on.

3. I wish I could hire Marie to come to my home and help me tidy.

4. Don't push your crap on others. Material items, unless they bring you joy, are a burden. Often we feel guilty about throwing things out, so we ease that guilt by giving the items to other people. It's not about generosity; it's about not facing the music. If you have something that someone you know could really use, give it to them. But don't parade your trash in front of others and guilt them into taking it. Especially your mother. She will take your trash just because she loves you.

5. Get real about sentimental items. You can have good memories without being a hoarder. Thank the item for the sweet memories it gave you, then donate it.

6. Marie really opened my eyes to a lot of the things that take up space in my house that don't get much thought. For example, extra bedding for guests. That's nice, except we only have overnight guests about once a year, and never on purpose. So why do I need all that extra bedding? Marie points out, if you have any doubt about whether or not you should keep your extra bedding, just smell it to decide. Mine smelling musty and unused, so out it went.

7. Don't keep anything that doesn't actually bring you joy. One of my fears about cleaning out my closet was just that I might run out of outfits in between laundry loads. That's dumb. I'd rather do laundry more often than have a bunch of things in my closet that I never wear or don't enjoy wearing. Interestingly, I don't feel like I'm doing laundry any more often than before.

8. Once you learn to relax about letting material things go, it feels so, so, so good.

9. Once again, I don't think my stuff has feelings, but Marie points out that it helps to think of them like that. I wouldn't enjoy spending years and years in a plastic container in the dark. If you have things that never see the light of day, you probably don't need those things.

10. Storage solutions are just fancy places to arrange crap you don't need. I've always known this in my heart, which is why my head explodes most of the time I get on Pinterest. Now I understand why.

Local friends, I'll lend you my copy. This book is incredible, and being free of stuff I don't need feels so peaceful. To be clear, I still have lots of stuff, and I still need to dispose of a lot. But I intend to only keep the things I love. Only clothes I love, only books I love, only little things that I really use and enjoy. And I'm not carrying around any anxiety about when I'm going to get around to using all that stuff I've been hoarding. I'm free.

Want to borrow my book?


  1. That book is SO GOOD. I have it as an e-book and I'm honestly considering buying the hardcover just to have on hand to re-read every couple months. It's not a hard read at all! I honestly can't even recommend it enough. In fact, just reading this is giving me the itch to start going through my dresser drawers.

  2. This is the second time in one day and probably the millionth over the last month that I've heard mention of this book! I think that I have the opposite problem though. I get rid of things too often, or perhaps just the right amount? I don't know. All I know is I have the tiniest wardrobe of any girl's closet I've seen, but I dare say that our book collection is getting out of hand. Matt might take my head for saying that… He would like to have his own personal library someday.


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