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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review (Part 4)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

So this section of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was probably the one that was the least helpful or inspirational to me.

In fact, I sort of speed-read through some of the sections.

I felt the most important quote was this one: “Designate a spot for every last thing you own.”

And this is why: “The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again.”

I’ve always said I’m a big believer in “A place for everything and everything in its place.” However, as I read through this section of the book, I realized how many things I have that don’t truly have a designated place.

Or, that sort of have a designated place, but I’ve been so lax about actually putting them in that place that I might as well have not assigned them a place in the first place!

Empty your bag every day??

Marie Kondo also makes a strong case for why you should empty your purse/bag every day. I’m really torn on this one, personally.

I see the value in cleaning out your purse/bag daily so that it doesn’t become a traveling trash can (ahem), but it also feels like extra effort — especially since I only use one bag and don’t swap between multiple handbags.

I would worry that I’d forgot to put something in it (like my wallet or something) when filling it each day and it also just feels like extra effort to pack and unpack it each day. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Did you read along with section 4 today? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it or on what I shared above.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

P.S. If you have a few minutes, you might enjoy watching my latest Periscope video from this morning. I shared more in-depth how reading this book has impacted me and talk about what “spark joy” really means to me and why reading this book is inspiring me to get rid of my massive book pile next to my bed. Watch it here.

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  • Teija says:

    I agree that emptying your purse every day seems like a lot of extra work for no reason. I think that a lot of her ideas are good. But, I also think that she does not live the typical American mom life. Her idea of putting all of your clothes in the house into a pile at once is scary! If you have several kids and a husband, that is totally crazy! The thing I liked best about her book was her reverence for each thing that we own. Her speaking to the things and thanking them for a job well done was special. I also like her idea of looking at each thing and asking yourself if it sparks joy. Overall , her book has helped me.

    • LeahB says:

      I totally agree about the clothes…I thought, “She wants me to WHAT?” So, I did all my accessories at once, then all my cardigans/sweatshirts/jackets, and so on. Picking up each item was surprisingly helpful!

    • Katrina F. says:

      I took that method to mean you would first do just your own clothes, then your husband would do his own, then you would deal with the kids clothes individually. Would that take lots of time…yes. Multiple days probably to sort and then put the remaining away. Would it be worth it in the end? Absolutely!

  • steph says:

    Cleaning out your purse everyday if not swapped out is obsessive. Fine line between OCD behavior and tidy. I have stuff just for my purse. That goes there. That’d walking a fine line to me.

  • Alana says:

    I’ve read it and don’t empty my purse everyday, but I get it. It keeps it simple. I have 4 kids, including a 3 month old, but my purse is simple (wallet, phone, diaper, wipes, nursing cover and a few snacks). A lot of times if I’m doing a quick trip, I simply put my phone and wallet in the infant carseat.
    Pulling out all of your clothes really opened my eyes. I had so many shirts I didn’t even like. Seriously, why keep it if I don’t like the way it looks? I was also shocked how many clothes my kids had. No wonder there’s always so much laundry, they have too many clothes.

  • Davonne says:

    Your hair is adorable! Is that a normal braid?

    And I don’t know about emptying my purse every day either – cleaning it out each day makes sense but to completely empty it seems like extra unnecessary steps if we’re just going to put the exact same stuff in it the next day. Although, this does make me realize that my purse stuff doesn’t have a real “spot” in my house, because my purse IS the spot!

  • lr says:

    I just think some things don’t translate well culturally.
    I think emptying your purse daily is way beyond unnecessary.
    Why would the contents get that cluttered/messy daily?
    I do have a specific inside pocket I place receipts in and
    I place other items that need to go elsewhere in the front pocket.
    I maybe go through my purse about once a month
    usually when I’m waiting somewhere and bored.

  • Beth says:

    I agree, cleaning out the purse each day is not going to happen here. I enjoyed the book and many of the ideas, but I couldn’t help but think she obviously does not have children. She “only” spends 5 minutes with her purse/wallet routine every time she comes home. 5 minutes is an eternity and time better spent on a hundred other tasks when coming home. Plus I cannot imagine running out the door and realizing I have to get my wallet out of its box and put it back into my purse along with whatever else I might need that day, while also making sure all the kids have all the stuff they are supposed to have. What I did take from the book was to recognize when items have served their purpose, appreciate that and let it go.

  • Susan says:

    I clean out my purse nearly every day. It takes 30 seconds to clean out a purse that has less than a day’s worth of clutter. A number of years ago when my house was a pit of clutter, a clean purse made me happy because at least that one thing was always tidy and clean.

    Most of my purse clutter was coupons and receipts. If I file or toss them every day, it was never a chore. Clean up messes when they’re small and they don’t become big.

    • Danielle W. says:

      I think this is more than cleaning out your purse. It’s actually removing everything from the bag each day. Very different. But I agree. When my purse is clean I stress less about the other stuff around me.

  • Yadira says:

    I read this book pretty quickly. Then I read it again. I picked this book up because I was tired of doing the same thing over and over again without seeing any permanent results. I have cleaned out my hall closet too many times to count because it keeps getting filled up with just stuff. I felt like I was always deep cleaning something while I wasn’t getting the daily chores done and well, it just all piled up.
    I am still in the process of working through the sections she has outlined. But now that I understand the framework, I have adjusted it to fit our categories as a family. We’re about a month in so far and still have more to go, but we can feel it becoming lighter, easier almost. It’s definitely eye opening and introspective.

    • Yadira says:

      Oh and I do empty out my purse because I have a tendency to just shove whatever I’m handed in to my purse. I wind up with balled up receipts, napkins, rocks from my preschooler (he gives me pretty rocks he finds) etc. But the stuff I need, like my wallet goes right back in to my purse because that is its home.

      • Valerie says:

        I empty mine out every day because I stick all kinds of stuff in there throughout the day…thus, it keeps me tidy…. My tote ( I do a tote) has its spot hanging from the inside of my coat closet… I always know where it is….

  • Suzanne says:

    I am so glad you’re reviewing this book, Crystal. I just wasn’t sure how practical the method (as I’ve heard it from others) would be for an average American household. But seeing how you’ve put the advice into practice has encouraged me to give it a try.

    BTW, I already started the tee shirt and underwear folding method earlier this week. Definitely give it a try! Folding the whole family’s clothes that way, straight from the dryer and clothesline, took me maybe five extra minutes. And just folding my underthings that way gave me half an empty dresser drawer. I used empty shoe boxes as organizers, also.

  • I use just one purse, too, so I’m going to try emptying it daily and replacing the items and putting away things that need to be (ie. hubby’s debit card that I accientally kept with me when I went into town–usually it stays in the drawer and I use cash– and he came home to get it, expecting it to be in the drawer..that is not a situation I want to happen again!).

    Yesterday i spent the afternoon doing the kids’ clothes. Wow, we have a lot…99 percent hand me downs (no joke!) but will pass some on to the orphanage as there’s no way my kids need 10 pairs of pants. 🙂

  • Linda Holmes says:

    Along with other optional items, my purse contains three small zippered bags. Each bag is a different color and has its own purpose. Black for cash, coins and cards. Pink for makeup needs. Another colored bag for pens, coupons and paper for small notes. Every time I change purses or need to clean out a purse, these three bags have simplified life and saved me much time and effort.

  • Raquel Evans says:

    I don’t even USE my purse every day. Theoretically, I guess it would make sense to clean it out at the end of every errand day and throw away reciepts, etc. I keep all loose items in little pouches, so it would be a quick job to take out my wallet and the 4-5 pouches and go through whatever’s left.

    On the other hand, with all of the tidiness habits I still need to work on, I don’t see frequently cleaning out my purse making it to the top of my priority list anytime soon!

  • lizg says:

    I like the idea of emptying your purse daily, (or at least, weekly), and do exactly that. I frequently see ladies with purses (and wallets) that are STUFFED with papers, receipts, etc, to the point where they cannot close their bags and zip them! I don’t want to be the lady at the grocery checkout, digging around in an overstuffed bag, holding up the line!

  • lizg says:

    Oh, and I just had another idea. I appreciate the need to declutter, pare down possessions after carefully reflecting on their need. I am actually on an *opposite* path, and have consciously been adding to my wardrobe. I grew up in a somewhat neglectful situation, and have had to learn that it’s ok to have more than 2 pairs of pants and 3 shirts, that it doesn’t mean I am being wasteful and extravagant. Sometimes “good enough” actually isn’t good enough, and you deserve better. It is a part of self-care that I am (finally) learning. I add this for any other ladies that may be struggling with the same concept.

  • Kellie says:

    I clean out the main part of my purse quite frequently. But I try to only keep my planner, wallet, and a couple odds and ends. So I throw away my receipts as soon as I’ve entered them into the budget. With everything digital now, there is little need to keep receipts.

  • Rebecca says:

    I definitely think emptying/cleaning out your purse everyday is unnecessary…since I homeschool, there are many days we do not go anywhere, so it would be kinda pointless for me on those days…now on the other hand, on my “shopping day” there might be lots of receipts, shopping lists, and coupons and it would be worth cleaning out. I guess I would say check it every day, maybe as part of a bedtime/getting ready for the next day routine, but only clean it out as needed.

  • Jenni says:

    Take this for what it’s worth, but I tried reading most of the book, and at the beginning I found it very inspiring. I personally love the whole folding-beautifully-standing-things-up-on-end thing, and I also think it’s true that you should only keep things that spark joy.

    But as I continued to read the book, I was troubled by what seemed to be an animistic belief system that attributed powers to certain objects, or her need to thank objects for their service, etc. It just seemed like a bit too much and borderline OCD to me, so while I will apply some of her tips, I don’t subscribe to her entire philosophy.

  • What struck me most about having places for things was her point that it doesn’t actually matter if you put things where they will be convenient to use. You need to designate a place that will make it easy to PUT AWAY. This was major for me, and has made a big difference.

  • Amy says:

    I finished the whole book about two weeks ago but I’m also skeptical on emptying my purse each day. I recently pared down from a huge Miche demi bag to a Baggallini triple zip crossbody bag; MAJOR downsize so it’s already pretty streamlined! I DO like the idea of double-checking it when I come home to clean out anything that doesn’t belong there. I need to do that more often, especially now that I’m carrying a tiny purse!

  • Emily D. says:

    I don’t unpack my bag everyday, because I KNOW I’d forget something. I do, per Fly Lady, clean it out once a week for receipts and other crazy, but I never totally unpack it. I always want to be able to just grab my bag and go if I have to.

  • Patti says:

    I empty my bag and “restock” it every night when I get home from work because I print stuff at work or bring stuff from home to do at work and also throw everything in it as the day goes on. Plus my bag of essential oils are in it and I use them at home as well

  • JoDi says:

    I clean out my purse frequently during the week to get rid of receipts and such, but taking out the things that go in my purse every day doesn’t make any sense. I don’t need to repack my purse every day like a suitcase. There are certain things that belong in there because I need them every time I leave the house. I’d need another place to store them while they’re out of my purse. That’s a waste of space and time.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I hate having a cluttered bag. I don’t empty mine every day, I just clean out the junk that doesn’t belong there. It’s super quick if you do it every day. Seems a lot of us here use that method, from reading the comments. I agree that emptying it all out would be a waste of time and risks forgetting to put back something important.

  • Laura says:

    I’ve loved this book…I’m reading a chapter a day, and applying what works for my family.

    Laura wallawalla

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