Guest Post: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

6 December 2015

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

After using the above image in a previous post, I had gotten chatting with the lovely Jenna, from Raw Rhubarb about the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. Whilst I bought it a good few months ago, I was still yet to finish and review it, so she offered to share her thoughts...

How many possessions do you need?

I already consider myself to be a minimalist. I grew up in a cluttered house and within the last few years, through travelling and moving around a bit I have whittled my ‘stuff’ down to as little as possible. Until I read this book. Being a minimalist applies not only to living spaces and belongings but also to eating. I eat mainly paleo - as our caveman ancestors would have done - and try to adopt simplicity in other aspects of life too. Such as remembering to focus on one thing at a time, practising mindfulness, remembering to make and keep time for yourself and not busying yourself with too many plans.

The Japanese way of life fascinates me. They live longer than any other nationality, their culinary traditions are personal favourites (sushi, seaweed, green tea) their religion is mostly buddhist, crime is at a minimal, their art is beautiful, their love of flowers is beautiful, their cherry blossoms are beautiful and they’re patient, disciplined people - which is apparent in their mastery of martial arts and dance.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (RRP £10.99, currently £7.49 on Amazon) is a book designed to help you clear your space of clutter once and for all by employing one basic principle. Keep the things you love. Don’t focus on what you don’t need all the time, focus on what you have that you love, look after those things and make a special place for them.

Key Points which resonated with me

Imagine the life you want to lead - then think of the space you would live in. What do you want out of life? Do you want to be successful? Feel more feminine? What would it look like in an ideal world? For me, it’s white walls, plants & flowers and carefully selected art with total floor space, photos of people who I keep dear to me and a wardrobe full of clothes I wear and love. No guilt. Guilt is such a useless emotion yet we let it in so often.

Personify your belongings - How would they feel if they had been kept at the back of a cupboard/drawer for ages forgotten. This is so cute! Show them love, appreciate them. Thank them, touch them, speak to them. Why do you have them?

Get over the guilt - We have a rational mind and an intuitive mind. Marie is asking us to discard things that don’t make us feel joy when we pick them up but so often our rational mind will kick in and say ‘yeah but you might need it’ ‘yeah but you spent £30 on it and haven’t worn it more than once’ ‘yeah but you said you were going to try to fit into it’. She asks us to then think of the purpose of the purchase - maybe it gave you hope that day you bought it, that you would wear it when you were thin. Don’t let it make you feel for guilty for not being able to fit into it when you see it everyday. Treasure the feeling that you had when you were buying it, the hope, thank it for giving you that and then discard it, telling yourself that when you do have a different body shape, you will buy it then.

Bite the bullet - Do it all at once. Don’t space it out by throwing away one thing at a time over 6 months or a little here and a little there. Set aside some time, catergorize your things - clothes are the easiest as they have the least rarity (let’s face it you CAN replace that jumper) followed by books, then misc, papers and photos. You can do category by category, especially if you’ve got a whole flat or house to do (as that would take ages). I however only really have my stuff in my room of our shared house as I don’t have a lot to start with. Do it properly, don’t end up sitting there pouring through memories and photos. I think clothes, books and ‘stuff’ takes up the majority of space anyway so I’d focus on those most. Papers are fairly easy and photos can be easy as well. Just choose the best ones. Most are online now anyway.

He who travels lightest travels furthest...

I’ll take you through what I threw away

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

To begin I have counted my clothes for you so we can do a before and after. You should do this! It’s really interesting to see actually how many of every item you have! Gather your clothes from everywhere they are (hooks by the door, under the bed, wardrobe, drawers, other people’s rooms) and put them all in the same place.

Shoes - I have 2 pairs of boots, two pairs of wedge heels, 3 pairs of sandals and 5 pairs of trainers = a total of 12 pairs. I threw away four pairs 12 down to 8 pairs left.


Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb


Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

Coats/jackets - 11 coats down to 6.


Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb


Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

Dresses 20 -15. 

2 of which thrown out there were worn once or twice at most. The All Saints one cost £90 and the Cheap Mondays one cost £50. Both were bought to wear on previous birthdays during a last minute panic buy because I thought I needed something new. I’ve since learnt that this isn’t the case.

Tops (t-shirts, going out tops, shirts) 

I have 28 items. Including 4 lounge wear t-shirts I wouldn’t wear out anymore. Tops I found hard. I threw 12 away including 1 I had never worn and 1 I had worn once. It feels quite liberating! I didn’t throw any of the lounge wear t-shirts because they count as memories so I will come to them later. 

Upon putting the t-shirts away (lovingly) I have thrown out 2 more of the loungewear t-shirts on the premise that i’m keeping one because I think I should like it and the other because it was a souvenir and I should love it but I wouldn’t ever wear either because they’re so unflattering. Getting there! Making tops a total of 28 down to 14. 

Bottoms (Trousers, jeans, skirts, shorts, leggings, joggers etc) - from 19 items - 8! 

I’ve thrown out 4 skirts, two pairs of shorts and four pairs of trousers. Keeping 2 pairs of jeans 3 pairs of shorts & 3 skirts. 


 4 have gone leaving 10 - which is probably excessive.

So, in total items thrown out is 5 pairs of shoes + 5 coats + 5 dresses + 14 tops + 4 jumpers + 10 bottoms = 43 Items! I have 63 items left! Drawers look healthy, spacious, tidy, relaxing and my wardrobe looks way better.


Books I find hard. I like to have books. Books are less vain than clothes. Books educated and represent your breadth of interests. I wouldn’t mind having a feature bookcase in my house at some point so I can confidently say I love my books. 2 have gone.

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

Kondo goes on to say that you can reach the clicking point - where it clicks that you have reached the right amount of possessions. For some that may be having 200 books and not much else, or shoes or lamps, whatever.  But the point remains, have only what you love. Storage should be simple. How can you be aware of everything you have and love it if you don’t know where it is?

Since doing the clear out last week - there are clothes still in my drawers which I’ve realised I don’t love and on my shopping trip on Monday it took me two hours to decide what I wanted: you become more conscious that you should only invest that hard earned money into something you fall in love with upon touching it and to not feel bad about it. I tried on smart black coat and thought to myself ‘I should really get a smart black coat’ and went to queue to buy it before remembering that it’s not me. I wear backpacks. A smart black coat requires a smart bag and a smart pair of shoes and that’s just not me. I didn’t love it. Remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary and free yourself of all the obligations!

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb
Life Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw RhubarbLife Changing Magic of Tidying Review Raw Rhubarb

A few final poignant points from the book to remember

  • Discarding hones your decision making skills and by practising it a lot with your possessions, you then carry that skill into other areas of your life, resulting in greater confidence and knowing what you want and don’t want. Clarity is a great, liberating feeling
  • When it’s gone you don’t miss it. How often do you think about things you’ve thrown away? If you feel regret - just remember it’s not life threatening, is it? 
  • If you need something you don’t have, reach out to friends for maybe they have it. This strengthens relationships!
  • Searching for something becomes easier and less stressful! Less stuff to look through, plus if everything has a place you won’t lose things!
  • Stress in general will decrease - if you are always surrounded by things you love, you will be happy in your home. Your house will be cleaner as it will be easier to clean and the air will be fresher. 
  • Impulse buying, like impulse eating or drinking, serves to reduce stress temporarily but not long term. When you have less things you have what you need already and you don’t need to impulse buy. When you have lots of clothes for example and are never satisfied or find you have ‘nothing to wear’ and always need something new to satisfy your need. Reducing your clothes to only having those which you love means you always have something to wear and you don’t need to go out and buy buy buy. More money for you! 
  • Deciding what you love should be easy. If you take too long deciding if you love it or not then you don’t. Be honest. 
  • Enjoy the results - Kondo maintains that there is real magic afterwards and that you’ll be clearer, happier, less stressed, more confident, have more money and a with a nicer space in general. 

Written by Jenna, who runs an amazing foodie blog, Raw Rhubarb. If you enjoyed this post don't forget to tweet Jenna @rawrhubarb to let her know. Jenna is one of the December Fabulous Five, which means you'll find her blog button on my sidebar throughout this month, and will feature in my Bloggers of the Month post which will go up in a couple of weeks time.


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