Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Book Review

I was on the library website searching for new books to read when I found a list of new releases. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō jumped out at me even though I knew nothing about it.  I guess I was one of the only ones since they said right on the cover that there are millions of people who have bought the book.

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.

She suggests starting with clothes, papers, books, and ending with more personal items like photos and letters.  Getting into the habit early with the easier stuff that we might have less attachment to.  She wants the people to take all of the items out of the house where they are currently kept and put them on the floor.  Although this makes sense for a single person living by themselves, it makes a lot less sense for someone who has so much stuff and isn't going to finish in a day while the rest of the family is away from the house.  It is an interesting book with good ideas on how to get you started but many of her concepts apply to Japanese households and are less applicable to American households.  I have never wanted to make a shrine or carry around things from shrines but she suggests making them on the top of your dresses which he has put in the closet after her decluttering.  I am by no means an expert like she obviously is but this is a lot more of the minimalist ideals then tidying or decluttering.  That being said, I didn't put down the book to take all my clothes out and see what makes me happy because for the most part, none of them do but they are things that I wear so that I am clothed and dressed appropriately for the occasion- work clothes for work and home clothes for home.  I don't have an unhealthy obsession with handbags (which it sounds like she might) but I do have a lot of junk.  The worst part is that it says that you have to deal with only your own things which makes me wonder how that helps organize things because at least 1/3 of the things in the house is my husbands and 1/3 for my son's.  There is no magic suggestion on actually getting a family on board with this plan or how you can get family house cleaned and organized except to say that they will follow once you start.  I don't think that they have meet my family because my husband and son would say thanks for cleaning up so that I have more room for my stuff.  I hope that you check this book out at your local library or bookstore and let me know if you think that this works in other countries.  I know that you will enjoy the wonderful ideas she shares but I want to know if you can put it into practice (Ann that means you need to read this and tell me what you think!!).


  1. Wow, for the first time in a long time I have experienced what it's like to type a long, thoughtful comment only for Blogger to suddenly "reload" in the middle of my proofreading it before submitting it and having it disappear on me! (come to find it, Google logged me out of my account right in the middle of my commenting and I thought I had lost this comment too for a second!)

    So the short bullet point version:
    1) I was curious to see if you got on the Konmari bandwagon and glad to see you're not... so I can keep on reading your blog because I swear every other blogger out there is konmarying their house to death and just even seeing that book mentioned is driving me bonkers, lol.
    2) I don't understand minimalists but since it seems to be that they keep on buying the same things over and over again because they get rid of everything every few months, I guess I'm thankful that they keep the economy healthy!
    3) I like having lots of things and if I get rid of something it's because I can't think of any use/reuse/way to upcycle it.
    4) My house is messy by their standards but it looks lived in, not like a sterile and catalog stock photo. The main purpose of objects shouldn't be whether they make us "happy" but whether they can be useful!

    Thanks for your review, Alison. I had a good laugh imagining you laying all your stuff on the front lawn to decide what made you happy or not!

    1. It is true that we are hoarders by her definition. I didn't think that most of her ideals fit with the couponing or American lifestyle or at least mine. I don't get rid of anything without having a plan or using it for another idea for how to use it. I sell things that I can't use but it is super hard for me to put anything into the pile to just trash because I know that there is a use for it and I hate to waste. Old tshirts and socks get cut into rags and are used again until they can't be used anymore. I am glad to think that there is someone else that thinks that it might be a little out of reach or unrealistic. I can't even imagine taking all my papers out to get rid of but we did go through the file cabinets a few days ago and filled up the recycle rolling tote. Ready to go again and fill again this week!!


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