SXSW gets schooled by Marie Kondo on how to tidy up

The appeal of SXSW is no doubt in its varied and inventive programming. At one session you’ll hear about the latest advancements in personal robotics and in another you’ll learn how to fold socks. Such was the case during one of my sessions today: Organise the World: Design Your Life to Spark Joy. Presented by Japanese decluttering guru, Marie Kondo offered simple rules around her New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

Based on the premise that “value cannot be seen from the outside,” Kondo referenced her grandmother as an inspiration for her obsession with organising. “I’ve had an interest in tidying up since I was five-years-old,” she said. “At 15-years-old, I started tidying seriously. One day I tidied up my own room, the next day my brother’s room, the next day my sister’s room, the next day the kitchen, bathroom, living room, friend’s room, and school classroom; I tidied up everyday.”

The self-proclaimed “crazy tidy fanatic” gave a step-by-step folding demonstration to a room filled with some of the world’s most educated, cutting-edge experts in the tech and ad space, underscoring the scary fact that while we may be more thoughtful about consumption, mindfulness, and tidiness, us “experts” still need someone to show us how to clean (#sorrymum?).

If you’re one of the 60 million people that didn’t purchase her infamous book, here’s a cheat sheet for getting that apartment in order:

Rule 1: Imagine your ideal life. Before you tidy, face yourself and ask why do you want to tidy? What is your ideal life? Be specific. Imagining your ideal lifestyle is so important. Never skip this process.

Rule 2: Tidy in one go. If you want to be organised, shock your mindset and change it completely. In order to do this you need a dramatic change in a short time. Your first step is to set a tidying deadline. Tidying is a special event.

Rule 3: Tidy by category, not by location. I suggest when you sort your clothes gather all of your clothes and put them in a pile. With your books, do the same thing. Why is this important? By making a pile you can see everything you have. Imagine all of your clothes stacked in a pile. You will probably be shocked by how much you own. By seeing how much you own, you will be able to choose what to keep with a calm mind.

Rule 4:  Ask, “Does it spark joy?” If it sparks joy, keep it, If does not, get rid of it. Focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to discard. If you focus on what to discard, you will be unhappy. The important thing about tidying is not choosing things to discard but choosing things to keep. Choose only items that make me happy; things that spark joy for me.

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