There are two ways I could go in reviewing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2015) by Marie Kondo.
- I could rave about what great ideas this book contains for organizing and tidying and how when reading it I felt motivated to clean my house and let go of the stuff that has been piling up.
- I could make fun of how ridiculous some of this book’s suggestions are. Talking to one’s belonging and getting rid of most books sound crazy to me. She also promised that once the house is in order, you will likely lose weight.
While many of the reviews I saw on Goodreads leaned toward option number 2, I think I’m leaning toward my first reaction. Yes, the book says some silly and ridiculous things. I can’t help but think that has something to do with culture and language (it is a translation), and that I’m not one to judge when it comes to how people want to find happiness and contentment. Overall, I had a good experience with this book.
A few years ago, I wrote about decluttering my home, all because of a book. Kondo’s book is the latest craze in home organization, and I knew my home was in need of a deep tidying again. Things tend to add up, especially when kids bring home so much and are constantly growing out of clothes and toys. So as I read, I stopped and tidied. I felt motivated to organize drawers, go through old papers, and clean out closets. I donated a lot of things, and I sold some as well. I will continue to do so over the next few weeks.
Here are the results of my daughter’s drawers.
The basic concept is to ask, “Does this spark joy?” Kondo suggests holding/touching each item and asking that question. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. This can, of course, be taken to an extreme. I don’t like my toilet brush, but I’m not going to get rid of it. I don’t like my couches, but I can’t get rid of those (immediately) either.
She organizes this process into several parts. First, clothing. She suggests taking out all of one’s clothes, from all over the house, and laying them in one big pile. Go through each item in the pile and keep it if it sparks joy.
You repeat the same process with books.
And then with papers.
And finally with komono, which is the miscellaneous category that includes all other household items.
I haven’t followed her method exactly, but just by asking myself if an item sparks joy or not, I have found it easier to part with things that I no longer need or want.
If you’re looking for motivation to organize and declutter, this is the latest way to do so.