I recently discovered an amazing little book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Author Marie Kondo has sold more than two million copies for a good reason. Her method is not a gimmick. It really WORKS.

Here’s a question. Are you someone who is constantly organizing your house only for it to get messed up a few days later? That was me until I got this book.

Marie’s method is pretty simple. She suggests that you organize by category, not by room. If items don’t bring you joy, get rid of them.

The first category is clothing. After piling all of my clothes on top of my bed, it was time to purge. Marie instructs people to pick up items one by one and ask yourself if they spark joy. Any items that don’t spark joy must be donated or thrown away.

After purging clothes that didn’t bring me joy, I put them back in my closet. Marie has a number of unusual tricks and tips for organizing as well, but I only followed some of them. Even so, the result was a closet that is much easier to get around than before.

By the way, Marie walks you through more than just clothing. Other categories include books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items.

I’m not a tidy person by nature, but more than a month after reading the book, my condo is still in great shape. I constantly ask myself, “Will this spark joy?” Marie also tells people to “thank” their clothing for “working” so hard throughout the day. I’ve caught myself doing that a few times.

You might be wondering what all of this has to do with personal finance. After all, I had to spend money to replace some of the items that I got rid of, right? That’s true, but I’m shopping with a different outlook. After throwing away so many items that didn’t spark joy, I’m more careful about buying things that WILL spark joy. I hope the end result is less wasteful spending over time.

Reading this book was a great wake-up call. Even though I pride myself on living a minimalist lifestyle, I still had too much “stuff.” I think most of us probably do. This gave me a chance to hit the reset button with just a few hours of work.

There’s a lot more to Marie’s method in the book. If you aren’t convinced, head over to  YouTube and search her name. There are dozens of how-to videos that will walk you through the process. Some of them are very entertaining. If you’ve already given it a shot, let me know what you think.

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