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5 magical mind tricks to help you declutter your home

Can figuring out how to fold your underwear help you process your past and trust yourself more? According to Marie Kondo, the author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," it definitely can.

I bought this book at the airport. I was drawn to the words "life-changing magic." Turns out that was an accurate description and a good decision. This book was magic.

Sparkly star emphasis mine. Image via me.

What really what sets this book apart is the perspective it has on tidying. Tidying isn't really about knowing your drawer space, tidying is about knowing yourself.


And because of that, much to my surprise, this book taught me about joy.

Here are just five of the joy-inducing, perspective-shifting principles of Kondo's amazing book:

1. Don't blame yourself for not knowing how. Tidying is not a gift; it's a skill.

The author dispels a big myth right out of the gate. That myth? That you should just *know* how to tidy.

"The general assumption, in Japan at least, is that tidying doesn't need to be taught but rather is picked up naturally."

That's pretty crippling, huh? Either you have the gift or you don't. Sorry, messier folks, there's no hope for you! Wrong.

The fact is, you can't tidy if you never learned how. That's the title of one of the very first chapters! And learning to tidy doesn't involve magic, and it's not a gift that the Tidy Fairy bestows once in a generation.

You don't need magic to be tidy. Save it for flying, Mary! Image via "Mary Poppins."

Tidying is a simple physical act, like a dance move. It's something anyone can learn.

Here are the two tidying "dance moves:"

  1. Decide whether or not to dispose of something.
  2. Decide where to put what you keep.

And when you do the moves, you're doing it right. But there's one special sauce to add ... FEELINGS!

2. You can trust yourself and your emotions. They're actually very precise in their wisdom.

The secret sauce of the one-two step of tidying above is ... put a little feeling in it! (OK, put a lot of feeling in it! You deserve it.) When you're tidying, feel your clothes. Then feel your feelings. If you feel a jolt of joy, you're keepin' it.


If your tiny phone brings you joy, hold on to it. Image via "Saturday Night Live."

Your emotions are your divining rod, leading you toward goodness.

"You're not deciding what to throw out, you're deciding what to keep. In your house, but also in your mind and in your future."

And they're precise! According to Kondo, if you really listen to that jolt of joy, you'll wind up with the PERFECT amount of possessions. You cannot fail yourself.

3. No comparing.

This is your dance.

Rihanna gets it.

As Kondo says, "You are the standard." I love how straightforward this principle is. You can't possibly compare your tidying process to anyone else's. Those jolts of joy that are telling you to keep one item but not the other? Those are your jolts and yours alone. They're special!

4. Be prepared for completing, not for starting.

"Storage should reduce effort to put things away, not effort to get them out. "

You'll start that project anyway, but will you be ready for the NEXT start? This doesn't mean you should always be looking toward the future. Rather, it means that the hard part is moving on.

Create a world where you can put what you're doing away and move on to the next phase.


Next adventure, please. GIF via Henrik Nielsen/YouTube.

Finally, the most mind blowing thing ... why tidying in this way really matters:

5. It's not actually about your stuff. It's about YOU.

Kondo talks about sorting through clothes, books, and mementos in a very personal way.

"It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure."

This is where it gets very "your possessions have a lot to tell you," a la Beauty and the Beast.

GIF via "Beauty and the Beast."

Because you're not just processing your stuff, you're processing your past.

"By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past."

For example, that book you haven't read isn't a negative representation of your lack of stick-to-it-ness. If you haven't read that book, perhaps its purpose wasn't to be READ by you, but to teach you that you didn't really need to read it.

And by dropping unused things that don't bring you joy in your home, you drop things that don't bring you joy in your life! And along the way, you discover you might just be doing it — aka life — right.

Just imagine all your unused things saying, "You got this," as you toss them into the resale bag. That's right, even your possessions believe in you!

It's as easy as going through your stuff and noting what brings you joy.

And when something brings you joy, in your closet or in your life, KEEP IT. It's as simple as that.

Personally, I needed to learn that. And, not gonna lie, it's kinda working for me! I'm sharing this story in the hopes that you or someone you know gets a little jolt of joy knowing they're not the world's most messy person, but just on a journey of knowledge!

That's some magic.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

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According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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