So I’ve started tidying my life with the Marie Kondo method.
Have you heard of it?
It’s all the rage now that she has a show on Netflix. But it’s her book—The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–(published first in 2014) that I like the most.
The idea is simple: Fill your house with the things you love and get rid of everything else.
Paper? What’s to love about paper? She suggests getting rid of 100% of the paper in your house – receipts, appliance manuals, to-do lists, old greeting cards, seminar notebooks, old checkbooks, coupons… the whole shebang.
The only papers you keep, should fit into 3 small folders:
- The papers you need indefinitely. This includes your birth certificate, social security card, mortgage documents, wills and trusts.
- The papers you need for a limited time. This includes warranties on appliances and camera gear, car titles, tax documents, etc.
- And finally, the papers you need to address right away – current bills, forms to fill out, things that need to be dealt with and then thrown out within a week’s or month’s time.
She doesn’t recommend storing ANYTHING that doesn’t bring joy. Not books, not pens and pencils, no pictures on the wall. NOTHING.
And I have to say – I’m not fully finished with her process yet but I’m in love.
I’ve been keeping notebooks and seminar supplies for years!!! Throwing them out felt soooo good this week. I thanked them for what they taught me and then put them carefully in the burn pile. It felt amazing.
Old checkbooks, credit card statements, phone bills, mortgage statements – I burned them all and it’s a pleasure to walk into my office now. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
I’m inspired to paint the walls, bring in some plants, and hang some of my photos.
I’m also inspired to go through my pictures again. Her method of looking at sentimental items like photographs and asking each one if they spark joy will help me choose which images belong on my wall.
For some reason, I’ve always looked at my pictures and thought I should hang only the best. Then I spend months analyzing what is in fact “the best.” And then I get frustrated that it’s such a daunting task.
But Marie says, the “best” doesn’t matter. It’s sparking joy that matters. If the picture sparks joy, it belongs out where you can see it. Done.
And if it doesn’t spark joy, it doesn’t belong on the wall. And again, I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders and my decision-making process. I have lots of great photos that don’t spark joy, so now my choice is easier.
If this is you, here’s what I recommend after having completed this method myself…
If you’re bogged down by papers or pictures, I highly suggest watching the first episode of her show on Netflix and then getting the book to complete the process.
When you get to the section on throwing away old seminar notebooks, remind yourself that the benefit of attending a seminar is the power of a group. It’s meeting instructors and other participants who think the way you do. It’s motivation, inspiration, and accountability—none of these things come from keeping the notebook, so say goodbye.
And when you get to the section on mementos and sentimental items, remind yourself that it’s about sparking joy.
Don’t go through your photos looking for “the best”. Simply go through and look for the photos that spark joy.
These will be the mementos to print and hang proudly on your wall.
There’s a great rundown of how to print your photos in our Armchair Expedition with Nigel, here.
It’s more than just a landscape photography course. It’s a look inside his business and what sells.
Nigel’s Armchair Expedition is also an incredible on-screen journey through some remote islands in the middle of the North Atlantic.
The imagery is stunning and he provides step-by-step tutorials on how he gets all the photos, too.
I was lucky enough to work with Nigel on this program, and I learned so much about using my phone to set up my shots. His method is a freeing approach that helped me keep my camera on my back and bring it out only when I knew I’d found the right place to stand.
The first group to get in gets a review by Nigel himself. Check it out here.
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