Cozying Up to Modern Minimalism

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The term “minimalism” calls to mind sparse interiors with blank walls, but the modern iteration of minimalism can be cozier than you might expect. The trick of modern minimalism is to surround yourself with things that thrill you, and only keep what brings you joy. At least that is Marie Kondo’s approach to minimalism, which she teaches in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Filled with heart (and cute illustrations), Marie Kondo’s book walks readers step-by-step through her tried-and-true method of decluttering: the KonMari Method. Instead of cleaning your living space room by room, Kondo presents a strict set of categories for decluttering everything you own, starting with your closet and working through books, papers, the kitchen, and more.

What really sets Marie’s method apart, though, is her understanding of people’s sentimental attachments to things. She eases fears of regret by asking a simple question: Does the object you are holding spark joy? If not, it’s probably time for you to let it go. You can thank the object for serving its purpose, then send it on its way.

Even if Marie Kondo’s habit of chatting with inanimate objects and thanking them for their service is not your cup of tea, this book abounds with practical ways to pare down your belongings once and for all, while ensuring that the things you keep surround you with a feeling of happiness and joy. So, keep that rug you bought for $25 at a yard sale if it makes you happy. Have a drawer filled with keepsakes you can visit when you’re feeling down. Kondo says that minimalism doesn’t require you to let go of everything—just the things that are holding you back from a clean, organized life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

A guide to decluttering the home from a cleaning and organization consultant, using the author’s KonMari Method, which focuses on categories of items rather than rooms. First published in Japanese.