Life Hacks

10 Key Principles To Learn From “The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

April 19, 2017

As promised, here’s the Part 2 series from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up.

Now that you’ve seen the Kon Mari Method put into visual practice, you can learn the key principles from her bestselling novel.

Most of you are probably wondering just how truly effective her method is.

Put it this way : it’s about one week after I’ve rolled, folded and neatly compacted these babies into my drawers.


life changing magic of tidying up top principlesBy drawers, I mean 3. I still need to apply this method to 3 more.

Every time I get a new load of clean laundry , I’m tempted to just roll with it. By rolling, I mean literally skip the folding and going straight to the fun part : rolling.

If it looks the same, it should act the same in the drawers, am I right?

WRONG! In fact, this is how Rebounding occurs.


Principle #1 :

Rebounding occurs because people believe they have tidied, only to have sorted and stored things halfway.

Seeing how intense Marie Kondo is, there’s no half assing here.

As much as you *think* you don’t have all the time in the world to sort, discard, fold and roll each piece of clothing, you need to find the time.

This is all about engaging in a tidying marathon.

As unrealistic as this principle may seem (which it can be), there is some truth to going full throttle.

By going through a ‘tidying marathon” you’ll not only feel the results but you’ll see them as well. We all know.. seeing is believing right?

Melanie Pinola, a writer from Life Hacker, nails it down :

“A complete decluttering session, rather than sorting and storing things halfway, is needed to change your mindset.”


Which leads me to…


Principle #2 :

You can’t change your habits without changing your way of thinking

life changing magic of tidying up key principles

Have you ever thought of yourself as being either “clean” or “messy”?

A black and white binary of opposites. Reality is, you aren’t.

Success is 90 percent dependant on your mindset

Sure, some people are more predisposed to being one or the other, but it’s not a fixed type (apparently not even horoscope signs are either ).

Using the excuse of “being a messy person” to justify your room being the way it is. Oh yea, I’ve been there.🙄

Case in point:

After a full weekend of indulging, the last thing I wanted to do was start folding and rolling clothes.

Yet I knew that if I didn’t, I would rebound and go back to square one. All that time and energy I had invested would be for nothing.🙈

It’s all in the mindset of wanting to improve your life for the better and practicing that momentum that it becomes a habit.

Full disclosure : I can already feel a weight off my shoulders from just tidying up 3 drawers and a closet.

It was only until recently that I realized your atmosphere reflects your state of mind.


Principle #3

Messy Space = Messy State.

life changing magic of tidying up how to

I used to think my space represented who I was, a creative mess.

In fact, there’s a study which suggests that creative people flourish in messy rooms.

Yes, you read correctly.

As a creative person, I can attest to once feeling more at ease in a space that wasn’t entirely orderly to the T, but had a little mess to it.

Maybe that was before, but nowadays I’m feeling more inclined to want to tidy up.

Maybe it has to do with not having to ransack everything to find a specific piece of clothing or the advent of something changing.

After all, most successful creative people are orderly.

Sure they have their messy moments, but they’re organized. They need to be or else they wouldn’t have their shit together.

That visible mess that’s lingering in your room, draws attention away and distracts us from the real source of the problem.

Whether it be our state of mind, friendship woes, financial problems, whatever the case may be…

If you put your house in order, you put your affairs and past in order too

Once your room is tidied up, you can see any issues you’ve been avoiding. It forces you to deal with them head on.

Principle #4

Get the urge to clean up while you’re under pressure? There’s a logical reason for that

life changing magic of tidying up key principles

Ever study through an exam and then suddenly find yourself cleaning your room? Kind of strange behaviour to take part in, right? After all, you’re going to school to pass that exam not clean your room.

This strange behaviour isn’t so strange, in fact it’s pretty common. It occurs because you need to put something else in order. Declutter your room = declutter your mind

It also happens to resolve itself after the situation (ex- exam) is over. You faced the problem because it’s been “tidied” away.

On the other hand, if you find yourself still tidying up your room after the dilemma is over, then there’s more problem solving you need to uncover and tidy up 😉

Principle #5

When Cleaning : Tackle Categories First, NOT Rooms.

life changing magic of tidying up key principles

Unless you’re already super organized, chances are you probably have stuff lying around in different areas of the house.

When we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we’re repeating the same work in many locations.

By choosing category, you’re narrowing in on one item and preventing it from appearing in another location.

1 item in 1 location = more time and less hassle

Case in point : BOOKS

If you’re anything like me:

The pace at which you acquire books is faster than the pace at which you reduce them.

You have them lying around in different areas of the room : bedroom, living room, kitchen etc.

By narrowing down your focus on one specific item, you’re optimizing your window of time to clean it up and preventing yourself from getting locked into a vicious cycle of tidying.

Best game plan:

Start with clothes first then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous. Leave your stuff that has sentimental value for last.

Principle #6

Tidy up in one shot, than little by little

When I read that cleaning a little bit of a time is supposedly the wrong way of doing things, I was a bit shocked to be honest. This is what most people feel comfortable doing.

According to cleaning guru Marie Kondo, you’re better off cleaning it all in one shot.

Reasons being?

A) If you tidy a little a day, you’ll be tidying forever.

B) You’ll start looking for excuses for not feeling “motivated” to clean.

Think about it for a brief second, the last time you put off cleaning, what initially began as “I’ll clean my desk tomorrow” winded up becoming days, even weeks after. Next thing you know you have no energy, too tired or too busy to bother.

See what am I’m getting at?

Success depends on seeing immediate tangible results

By focusing your efforts on thoroughly decluttering within a short span time, you’ll both see and feel the difference. The result? It’ll motivate you to keep your space tidy.

Side note- Tidying is Self-Taught. There’s no specific way to do it. It’s all in the process of discard/keep, store.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened/closed my drawers to witness the results unfold (pun intended). It’s unbelievable.


Principle #7

Storage is a form of Hoarding.

life changing magic of tidying up key principles

If your goal is to “tidy up” , any means of storage containers (boxes/bins/baskets) aren’t your bff.

When you have storage bins, the first instinct is to fill them up with stuff as opposed to throwing things away.

They create the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.

In reality, it’s just being rearranged and properly stored.

Your goal is to throw stuff out NOT tidy them away in a storage bin.


Principle #8

When we detox our space, we detox our bodies

I have yet to experience this (maybe because I haven’t gone full throttle on the Kon Mari method) but turns out, Marie Kondo has had quite a few of her clients experience “physical” symptoms after a cleaning purge.

No, not physical exhaustion but symptoms such as an onset of skin breakouts, diarrhea and all that fun stuff.

Doesn’t that get you even more excited to want to tidy up ? 😜

Luckily these symptoms are short term and you’ll be reaping in the benefits of detoxing your space in the long haul 🙌🏼

Principle #9

Don’t Show your Parents What You’re Throwing Out

How many times have you found one of your parents rummaging through your tossed items only to hear one of the following phrases come out from their mouth :

Why are you throwing this out for?”


You sure you want to throw this out? You might regret it later.”

If you’ve experienced any of the three above examples, congratulations! They just reaffirmed how you should quietly work away at disposing your stuff.

Principle #10 :

Release Gift Guilt by Emphasizing that the Purpose of a Gift is to be Received

life changing magic of tidying up key principles

When you’re going through your tidying process, it’ll come a point where you’ll come across some serious sentimental items and question whether you should discard them or not.

Whether it be a card, a precious gift from your S/O or family member, the feels will hit you hard. You know you’re not making use of the gift, yet you can’t help but feel guilty about throwing it out.

Best way to get rid of the guilt?

Remember that the purpose of a gift is to be received—a way for the gift-giver to convey his or her feelings to you.

Once that purpose is filled, you can part with it without feeling any guilt.

From personal experience I can tell you it’s easier said than done.

I can also tell you lots of great things that happen when you let go of things that don’t bring you joy ( aren’t important/ serve its purpose anymore).


Results From Tidying Up (Marie Kondo Style) :

A) Your space becomes a lot more tidy and you become surrounded by things you love.

B) You’ll feel less inclined to want to shop and purchase new items because you know what you have and realize you don’t need to fill a void anymore

C) You’ll feel more creative because you’re in a clutter free space

D) You’ll get addicted to that urge to purge and want to keep your space tidy!

E) Your mindset will change for the better. Tidy space=tidy state


Newfound appreciation for tidier space? Yes please!




Have you read Marie Kondo’s best selling novel and tried her methods? Do they work for you? Let me know in the comments below!



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  • Reply Sharon April 21, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    This is great…great tips to think about!!

    • Reply Andrea April 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Sharon! Let me know how it goes if you try out her method 🙂

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