This experience of getting organized and tidying up was a profound and life-changing event. Because it was the act of giving that became so meaningful, and I managed to keep the things that brought me joy.

When my husband and I arranged to move across country, from Florida to California, we secured a place that was half the size of our former home. There was only one choice: downsize our belongings.

It was then I decided to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo that a friend had recommended. I had to commit to a new method of organizing and tidying up.

What I learned from this book was to keep the things that spark joy. According to Kondo, when we are honestly confronting the things we own, our emotions are awakened. It is these emotions that give us the energy for living, she says. Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, “Does this spark joy?”

The Essence of Tidying Up

This is the essence of Kondo’s book, as she believes that you will be amazed at how things will begin to connect in your life. And dramatic changes will follow. “Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life.”

In this process of tidying up, I had discovered I was already an organized person. I would only need to think a little more creatively in tidying up, which I attribute to the book.

Teacher, author, and artist, Julia Cameron once said, “When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and good, orderly direction to enter.”  This concept makes perfect sense on a day-to-day basis, when we put away things on our desks and organize for the following day.  However, tidying up had to be more than a daily habit.

The key approach of tidying up is to organize what to keep. To make it work for this household of stuff to get organized for the moving event, I had to become the chief organizer.

Over a period of several weeks that followed, I sorted what to keep and what to give away. In a similar way, Kondo shares the secret of success in tidying up is to discard thoroughly, in one go. What worked best according to Tidying Up was to determine among our belongings what to keep. Kondo recommends grasping hold of your items to get a sense of what brings you joy.

At first, it was difficult for my husband to decide among many golf shirts with special logos. Quite frankly, he had worn only his favorites and many were tucked away and unworn for years. I sorted through pairs of stylish shoes, like the high heels little girls try on for fun.

As you may come to understand about tidying up, we focused on keeping only the things that brought us joy.

Make Giving a Joyous Event

As it turned out, the number of things we gave away represented nearly fifty percent of our physical belongings. More importantly, a part of this story about getting organized for our move from Florida to California was particularly meaningful.

Two army veteran volunteers from the Faith Farm Ministries in Florida came to pick up many things. When one of the volunteers eyed the pull-out sofa bed, he commented, “Wow, this is really nice.” I had an immediate sense of gratitude for the joy this sofa had given me at one time. And now it would give someone else joy.

Goodwill came to pick up boxes of stuff that we would never be able to use and had accumulated for over 20 years. I am happy that many people are given jobs and training at Goodwill because of the money they raise in reselling these things through the thrift stores.

Neighbors and friends came by and each one selected things that brought them joy. I was delighted to see their smiles and expressions of joy in receiving these gifts.

Never stop giving and sharing with others. This insight that I learned may add to your magic of tidying up.

Someone else may find joy in the things you give away. You can make giving a joyous event.

Special thanks to Marie Kondo for bringing to life this work of tidying up.

More information:

Share your books on Kindle

Follow Ann M. Augustine on Twitter: @annmaugustine

Follow Marie Kondo on Twitter: @mariecondo