An Incredible Method To Tidy Up Your Home (and Your Life)

My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: tidying up. 

Honestly, I didn’t even know I needed this unexpected gift, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look.

And now I want to share this incredible method and mindset with you.

This is more–way more!–than a post on cleaning or organizing. I promise this fresh new approach will bring surprising amounts of joy and simplicity (and don’t we all need more of that?!).

Ready to be inspired (and to learn the secret)?

Tired of all the clutter and ready for change? This incredibly powerful organizing method not only will get your closets organized but will restore your spirt and make over your life. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without this amazing tidying up method!

The Secret That Found Me

She handed me the book at Thanksgiving and I rolled my eyes. My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: the magical art of tidying up. Honestly, I didn't even know I needed this unexpected treasure, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look. Friend, I want to share with you my story so that you too can be released to a fresh, new perspective on life, joy and simplicity. Don't miss this post!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?” I said, with more than a little disdain in my voice.

“Yes!” my mom cried, chuckling a little. “I’m telling you, it’s an incredible book! You’ve got to take a look at it.”

I held the book in my hands and quickly leafed through the heavily highlighted pages covered with many sticky notes and my mom’s familiar handwriting.

An organizing book? What was she trying to say? Is my house that much of a mess? I was not convinced this was something I needed to read, let alone implement in this hectic life season.

I found myself a little later that afternoon in my parent’s living room with no one else around. My mom’s usual assortment of housekeeping magazines wasn’t on the endtable. In fact, the table was completely empty except for the lamp, a lonely coaster… and that book.

Alright, fine, I mused to myself. Let’s take a look at this.

“Does It Still Bring Me Joy?”

My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: the magical art of tidying up. Honestly, I didn't even know I needed this unexpected treasure, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look. Friend, I want to share with you my story so that you too can be released to a fresh, new perspective on life, joy and simplicity. Don't miss this post!The first few pages weren’t honestly that transformational for me. Another organizing book, another woman with the “perfect answer” for how to keep your home tidy. Yawn.

But then I sensed something different lurking between the pages. Author Marie Kondo‘s criteria for keeping or discarding items was something I’d never heard before. She simply asks herself, “Does this item still bring me joy?”

This got my attention. Joy? That was something I spent much time pursuing as a mom and Christ-follower. What was this link between my stuff and my joy level? And why had she elevated this to be the highest criterion for determining if something should stay in my house or hit the Goodwill pile?

I kept reading. In fact, I took the book home the next day and devoured its short 224 pages (confession: I can’t remember the last time I’ve finished a non-fiction book this quickly. It was that interesting!)

The more I read, the more I was convinced that this book’s wisdom was the anecdote to the subtle fog of discontent and restlessness that’d settled over my heart recently.

The Heart Magic of Tidying Up (That I Didn’t Know I Needed)

I hadn’t been sad or depressed or anything of that sort. But for quite some time I’d been dealing with a sluggishness–a malaise–that left me confused and frustrated. Things in my life had been good (a great marriage, awesome kids, stable future, strong faith, etc) and yet, for months I couldn’t shake the weight I felt on my heart.

That same phrase “Does it still bring you joy?” kept appearing throughout the book. “It may have brought you joy in the past, but if it doesn’t anymore, then it’s time to release it to someone else so that it (and you) can move on.”

My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: the magical art of tidying up. Honestly, I didn't even know I needed this unexpected treasure, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look. Friend, I want to share with you my story so that you too can be released to a fresh, new perspective on life, joy and simplicity. Don't miss this post!

Now I don’t necessarily endorse personifying our stuff as having “feelings” and “needing to move on,” but I get the author’s point.

There was all kinds of stuff–physical and emotional–that I’d allowed to collect in the recesses of my home and heart. It was time for me to examine each area and determine which I needed to keep, and what I needed to let go.

And that’s why I (rather excitedly) put a tidying up session at the top of my to-do list for Christmas break.

Sifting Through and Letting Go

I won’t get into the nitty gritty of my clean out process except to say that the author’s tidying up methods (and subsequent organizational tips) are spot on.

Per her suggestions, I pulled everything out of my closets and couldn’t believe all that I’d collected. And I couldn’t believe my response (and the corresponding freedom I felt) as I went through each item.

My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: the magical art of tidying up. Honestly, I didn't even know I needed this unexpected treasure, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look. Friend, I want to share with you my story so that you too can be released to a fresh, new perspective on life, joy and simplicity. Don't miss this post!

The pile of hangers on the ground kept growing and this alone inspired me (especially since, in our home, it never seemed like we had enough hangers).

My home (and my life) has been transformed by the most unexpected treasure: the magical art of tidying up. Honestly, I didn't even know I needed this unexpected treasure, and I found it in the last place I thought I needed to look. Friend, I want to share with you my story so that you too can be released to a fresh, new perspective on life, joy and simplicity. Don't miss this post!

I think this process was so transformative for me because it released me from the guilt I normally feel when forced to clean out (notice my choice of words there? “forced”?).

This time, I was still able to give each item worth–even those with a particular emotional attachment–because I could acknowledge that, yes, this item had been valuable to me at one time but it had faithfully served its purpose.

This item still had value but its time with me had come to a close. By holding on to it, I was keeping it from serving someone else, and I was just heaping more and more baggage on myself.

And that’s why the longer I sorted the easier it was to let go. The freedom of release was intoxicating and life-changing.

I shared the principles with my daughter and my husband (and my three other kids are tackling their tidying up project next week right before Christmas). I can’t wait!

The True Magic of Tidying Up

Cleaning out my home was important (and even brought purpose to my Christmas decorating this year). But ultimately, the true magic of tidying up was when I applied the book’s principles to the heavy burden weighing on my soul.

I began to wonder:

What regular activities were important at one time, but were no longer necessary?

Why did I now dread some of my must-do daily activities (and what reframing could I do to change that)?

Who knew that organizing and cleaning my home could produce such great soul inspiration?

Seriously, if you’re looking for a fresh start–and a chance to feel clean and organized in your home and in your heart–you’ve got to check out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up!

Get the book here and give it a try for yourself!

Other Posts on Organizing and Cleaning Routines

18 DIY Natural Cleaning Recipes for Every Room

DIY All-Natural Cell Phone Screen Cleaner (3 Ingredients!)

How to Organize Your Kids School Papers (for Good!)

Drowning in Your Kids School Papers? What to Keep & How to Get Organized

How to Develop a Household Cleaning Routine That Works

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply 17 comments

Regina L. L. Wells - December 21, 2015 Reply

I could not agree with you and this book more. This is a similar approach that I take to cleaning out. The cleaning “up” part is something else entirely, though. LOL! I am really interesting in reading your next post. I cannot wait to hear those revelations and your plan for next year. Sounds inspiring! Thank you for sharing this. Merry Christmas!

    Alicia Michelle - December 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi Regina!! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve experienced this same freedom that comes from tidying up! It really can change everything–from everyday habits to our inner thoughts to our perspectives! And YES, I’m finishing up that post today and excited to share it! Merry Christmas to you as well! 🙂

Leanne - December 21, 2015 Reply

Hi Alicia – I’m a big fan of keeping things simple – but “stuff” does tend to accumulate no matter how minimal we try to keep things. I’m so glad you found a way to tackle it all (btw I really liked that purple top in the picture – can you post it to Australia?) I’m coming back to see how you apply it to 2016! Thanks for sharing on our #OTM link up #3 ~ 🙂 Leanne

    Alicia Michelle - December 23, 2015 Reply

    Leanne! Your comment literally made me LOL! It’s funny that you mention that top. I held that one up and took of picture of it as I was tidying up, but then realized after I took it that I loved that shirt and it for sure brought me joy (so I wasn’t getting rid of it). I thought, “hmmm… maybe I should take a picture of a really ugly shirt so that people would think, ‘yes, for sure get rid of that one!'” Sounds like we have the same taste in clothes. 🙂 If it ever stops giving me joy, you got it girl–I’ll be glad to post it to you. LOL Anyway, yes, thanks for coming back! I’m excited to share more insights and how it applies to 2016!

Alison - December 30, 2015 Reply

Great post! I know I need to tidy up!

Shellie Carroll - January 8, 2016 Reply

Such a timely post as we continue into the new year. I think the emotional and daily routine tidying up is sometimes harder for me than the literal tidying up of the house and things. I’ve been thinking on the things I need to edit from my life and schedule in order to allow more time for the things that are most important to me right now, as well as some serious purging of things in my home. LoL! Sounds like I might be doing some clean out this weekend! 🙂 Thank you for the post.

    Alicia Michelle - January 9, 2016 Reply

    Shellie, yes, I’d agree! And I’ve found that when we begin the process of purging things physically, it often prompts big changes inside. It can be a difficult thing, but also very, very freeing! I’m glad the post encouraged you! Thanks for sharing your story.

Karen Del Tatto - January 8, 2016 Reply

I am someone who gets stressed with clutter. I tend to get rid of things very easily. However, like everyone, when I don’t see the clutter, I end up saving – like in my closets.

I really liked the idea of asking myself if something still brings me joy, but even moreso the idea of passing the joy on to someone else.

Thanks so much for sharing!

    Alicia Michelle - January 9, 2016 Reply

    Karen, I too tend to get stressed when I see the clutter around me. But it’s that closet (or drawer) clutter that can build up and we don’t even notice for a while! And yes, I’m telling you–her thoughts about asking ourselves if it still brings me joy are groundbreaking. Seriously. I’m actually excited about continuing to purge my house because I’m motivated by the concept of stripping off all that’s unnecessary and that doesn’t bring us joy. Thanks again for sharing, and we hope to see you again!

Jennifer - January 11, 2016 Reply

This post offers such a practical encouragement, Alicia. I’ve been feeling the same kind of sluggishness you describe, though I’ve chalked it up to the “winter blues” I endure each year. But your experience has prompted me to realize that – although it could be much worse – we’ve gathered quite a bit of clutter recently due to a family transition and the ensuing “survival mode.” Long story short, I’ll be devoting small, regular chunks of time to decluttering, A.S.A.P.! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

    Alicia Michelle - January 11, 2016 Reply

    Yes… “sluggishness” is an excellent way to describe it, Jennifer. I honestly didn’t think I had an issue with clutter or that I needed to do any tidying up–at ALL. But it was such a good thing to go through the process. It just brought clarity in so many places, and inspired me to surround myself with things that bring JOY, not that deplete. I look forward to hearing your “decluttering tales” too, friend! 🙂 Hugs to you.

Ann - January 13, 2016 Reply

I have been putting off reading this book… but I’m beginning to feel like I can’t do so any longer! I don’t have that much trouble getting rid of stuff, but I do still hang onto things that don’t bring me joy. I think I’m trying to be practical, or something… but your widening our view to the bigger picture is a wonderful application! Gonna have to ponder that one awhile! Thanks for linking up at Frugal Friday! 🙂

    Alicia Michelle - January 13, 2016 Reply

    Hi Ann! You’re totally describing me too. I think I thought that I was being practical or wise by holding on to certain things. But really, after going through this process, I realized that unless it was something like an important home document, etc, then it really was just adding to my load instead of bringing me joy. Love to hear more of your thoughts as you embark on this journey!

Candice - January 17, 2016 Reply

Ooo I might need to pick this book up. The thought of Does this bring me joy ? is ground breaking..

    Alicia Michelle - January 17, 2016 Reply

    Candice, it truly, truly is! I really think this is secret behind this method. It’s reason why it’s so freeing!

25 Ideas for Your Family's Spring Bucket List - Christ Centered Holidays - March 25, 2017 Reply

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