The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (or, Can a Book Change My Life?)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo by Marie Kondo

This book has gotten a ton of publicity already, and initially I was hesitant to even read it. It sounded so … hokey I guess. Really, tidying is life-changing magic? Thanking my belongings for their service?

And then I read it, because I need help. I am not a tidy person, and I hate that I’m not. I hate that I hesitate to invite anyone over to my house, fearing their judgment and scorn. We have clutter and stuff scattered, and while I’ve always had a tendency towards it, having children has made it oh so much worse. Toys, papers, just stuff.

Kondo’s book has a soft and gentle tone that was refreshing and soothing (unlike other books of the sort that can seem scolding.) Her emphasis is on discarding, yes, but her guideline of basing it on what sparks joy in you was so different. I’ve read other decluttering and organizing books, with their suggestions to toss anything you haven’t used in a year. Except … what if I’ve had good reasons to not use something in a year?

Is her approach really that revolutionary? William Morris’ famous quote about having nothing that you don’t know to be beautiful or useful would seem to be pretty similar, and yet the focus she puts on the item bringing joy was different enough for it to connect with me in a different way. Or else it just hit me at the right time. Or else it’s that I have items that aren’t beautiful, and yet they do bring me joy. Or some combination of the three. 🙂

In the middle of reading the book I pulled out all my pajamas and discarded half of them. No joy. After another chapter, I tackled my sweaters. Only one got discarded – I love all the others, even if I haven’t worn them in ages. They’re not a good style and fit for pregnancy and nursing, so they’re still having to wait. Maybe next winter? Refolding them and storing them in her prescribed method has them fitting easily in one drawer, when before they were squeezed into one and a half.

It’s too soon to say if this is a lightning bolt that will permanently change my life, but I’m feeling optimistic, and inspired. Reason enough to be grateful that I read the book, and to recommend it to others.

Publisher’s Description:
This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Book Details

Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Author: Marie Kondo
Category: Nonfiction / Organization
My Rating: 4 Stars

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  1. It seems like everyone has read this book, and I was waiting to hear your take on it! I’ll probably get in line on the library hold list for it. We are in desperate need of decluttering around here, but I’ve got that Depression-era mindset that wants to save EVERYTHING because I might not have the money to buy it again if/when I need it. So I need some good motivation beyond the usual scolding!

    • Do it! Even if the library holds list is miles long (like mine was), your turn will come eventually and you can give it a try and see if her approach connects with you.

      I have that mindset a bit at times too – I could use this again, I just have to fix it/find the other part/move to a different house/have another child/change my lifestyle. But my biggest issue is paper – it’s so overwhelming to me, and it day after day after day. How do other people deal with it? I always have stacks of papers around it seems, that I don’t quite know what to do with. I need to reread that part of her book again, after I get another turn with the book. 😉

      • Even just from reading what others have written about it, I’ve managed to let go of some items. So it’s worth a try. I’m debating giving in and buying it, though!

        • I keep talking myself into and out of buying it. So far I’m resisting, lest it end up becoming clutter as well.

  2. I’m definitely curious about this one. I’m not a neat and tidy person either and there is always a pile of something somewhere. I will eventually read it, but maybe after summer break.

  3. A friend told me about this book a few months ago and I put it on hold at the library. There were only about 300 holds ahead of me! I think I’m about 140th in line now.
    The friend who recommended it is pretty clutter-free anyway, so I wasn’t sure if it was actually a good book for me, so it’s nice to get more perspective.

    • 300 holds! Wow. Mine started at about 160, but I don’t remember how many copies they had to go along with all those holds. I know it took several months to get to my turn.

      And I’m definitely not clutter-free, unlike your friend. Maybe someday…?

      • I’m hold 97 on 46 copies. I upped my odds by also putting the ebook on hold–number 47 on 16 copies. So we’ll see! 😀

        • I decided I really do want to re-read it, so I put it on hold again. I’m #220 on 60. #3 on 35 for the ebook though (that’s one of my favorite tricks!) 🙂

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