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I read a book that told me what I already believed, but from an emotionally charged angle. After 90 minutes of tidying, I erased years of clutter.

Reading the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” impacted my life in a profound way. I often tell people to “Ruthlessly abandon that which no longer serves you”. I should simplify that to “Keep what works”. As a logical guy, I like having clear results that follow from straightforward actions.

I’ve always struggled with clutter.

Living In StyleKeeping things clean is easy for me. Keeping things organized, and clutter free is hard. For years, I’ve had piles of everything. Clothing mounds shifting from room to room. Piles of papers and boxes.

What changed my life is approaching all my stuff from a different angle. The key to my unexpected success was simply picking up each piece of clothing and asking myself the question “Does this bring me joy”? If my answer was no, to the discard pile it went. If I answered yes, then I kept it.

By repeating this process with all my shoes, shirts, socks and even ties, I got rid of many items. What I found most interesting was how focusing on my emotional response was the key to successfully getting the result of a tidier place. It didn’t require logic or justification. I just went with my gut. For the first time in my adult life, all of my clothing fits in my dresser, closet, and hamper. The remaining clothes are the ones I’m wearing.

Next, to tackle the papers.

The Author

Sean Oliver

Sean Oliver is a management consultant in Seattle, WA