What Would Marie Kondo Do?

Since the beginning of the year, Netflix’ hit show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has inspired people all over the county to weed through — and get rid of — a lot of excess stuff. And we at the Organizing Blog couldn’t applaud more!

New converts to the KonMari Method — Kondo’s Shinto-inspired organizing system that recommends getting rid of anything that doesn’t add value to one’s life — are filling thrift and secondhand stores with their castoffs.

Just 35 years old, Kondo has been an organizing maven since she was 19. In 2011, she published The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, her seminal tome on the topic, in which she famously advises people to keep only the things that “inspire joy.”

That may mean different things to different people, she admits — and it could be a considerable amount if, say, you collect sneakers or maintain a library of books. At your own personal “click-point,” however, you will feel at ease with the things you have.

“The tidying process is not about decluttering your house or making it look neat on the spur of the moment for visitors,” she says. “You are about to tidy up in a way that will spark joy in your life and change it forever.”

Kondo offers six steps to follow in creating a more serene, decluttered life, asking the new acolyte to envision his or her ideal lifestyle and describe it in words or pictures. Once that streamlined, tidy new lifestyle is clear, the decluttering can begin.

The KonMari Method’s strategy differs from most by asking you to “Tidy by category, not location.” That means whatever kind of item it is — clothing, books, shoes, sporting goods — you must put everything in a big pile and sort it in a single session.

Kondo tells you to pick up each item in that pile and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, it can eventually be filed in a neatly-stacked drawer, shelf or closet. If not, it goes into the “donate” or “trash” pile. The strategy can be jarring, but cathartic.

“If done correctly, it’s incredibly liberating,” says Today Show blogger Meena Hart Duerson. “The joy I felt when I picked up my favorite jeans became a barometer. Suddenly, I wanted everything in my closet to make me feel like that.”

Give the KonMari Method a try. While it’s kind of the nuclear option in decluttering, its many converts swear by the difference they see in their spaces, lifestyles and moods. Just remember to contact ClothingDonations.org to pick up that extra stuff!

When It’s OK to Get Rid of Past Tax-Time Paperwork

Sorting through your tax-time paperwork is certainly burdensome, but worse still is having to store it for years without ever knowing when it’s OK to get rid of it. Wisebread says that while you should keep a copy of each return indefinitely, taxpayers can shred most supporting documents after three years. Keep only the paperwork that lists the purchase price of any securities you own, so that you can later report any gains or losses. If you claimed a capital loss on a past year’s return, however, keep that documentation for seven years.