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Eating with chopsticks, folding little cranes, making electronics: The Japanese are good at many things--including, it now seems, keeping their homes in order.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up--a short, pithy guide to staying organized--was a best seller in author Marie Kondo’s home country, and now it’s available for us American slobs to benefit from as well.

From cutting your storage to emptying your purse, here are a few of the most salient takeaways.


Storage Is a False Friend

“Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all storage units are full and the room once again overflows with things.”


Purge First

“Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.”


Don't Downgrade Ugly Clothes to "Loungewear"

“The real waste is not discarding clothes you don’t like, but continuing to wear them.”


It's OK to Get Rid of Presents

“You don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it.” (That’s assuming the hand blender ever brought you any joy.)


Keep All Papers in One Place

“Never let them spread to other parts of the house.”


Cut the Cords

“Keep only those cords that you can clearly identify, and get rid of the rest. Your collection most likely contains quite a few that belong to defunct machines you have long since discarded.”


Stop Storing Stuff in Your Parents' Basement

“People never retrieve the boxes they send ‘home.’ Once sent, they will never again be opened.” You always knew your mother’s attic was a black hole.


Store Bags Inside Other Bags

“The best way to store purses, handbags and other bags is to make sets according to the material, size and frequency of use, and to store them one inside the other like nested boxes.”


Empty Your Purse Every Day

“If you do not make a habit of unpacking your bag, you are quite likely to leave something inside when you decide to use another bag, and before you know it, you will have forgotten what you have in each.”

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