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Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidyingtumblr_nh0c3gGpVl1r5wz8zo1_1280

The book by Kondo Marie

Books claim to be enlightening, mind-opening and life-changing all the damn time. In fiction, in histories, in science books, I’ll readily believe that my perspective on something will be different by the end of a read. On a self-help book, on a lifestyle book, I’m more doubtful. Aren’t they just trying to sell themselves? However, this one I’ve read and applied has so far proven influential for at least one big sweep. It’s one of the best turns my lifestyle has taken, and I’m working on making it last.

As the title indicates, the book is about making your living space clean and organized (and how it will greatly and positively impact the rest of your life). Keeping any space organized has never really been my thing. Clothes and hairties and socks and cups and random things everywhere! Slightly better when I have a roommate, but only for courtesy’s sake. Not in my nature to keep thins in visual order, right?

Wrong, according to Kondo Marie. She might be right.

In her book, she goes through her personal journey in discovering her foolproof method of tidying, and then describes gently how to use this KonMari method. It’s not a long read, and the tone is light and unassuming. I lent the book to my neighbor and recent best friend as soon as I finished it.

p22-odonoghue-marie-kondo-a-20141012The method boils down to this essential–as you go through every object you own (there’s a system for this–again, I recommend reading the book!!). Hold it in your hands. If if gives you joy and fulfills you in the now–not once upon a time, and not in some hypothetical future, then keep it.

Anything you don’t specifically choose to keep, say thank you to it for fulfilling your life at one point (especially for sentimental objects that you kept for no other reason) and throw/donate it out. It’s done its job.

What’s left is a living space of only objects and ideas that specifically pertain to your current self–which is a lot less /STUFF/ than before, most likely. At that point, you assign places to things and things to places and let them live in their peaceful homes, homes that they go back to after they do their jobs for the day.

It’s one big event, by the way, not a “spend five minutes each day of your life on decluttering your home”. The throw-things-out party is one, big emotionally-draining project that may span days, perhaps weeks. Mine–just a single-person studio, living initially out of a suitcase, abroad–took nearly two weeks. I was stunned at the sheer amount of clothes I donated.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal about her book:

and an interview:

I haven’t had the chance to watch it, but she had a Google talk as well!

Well worth the read, well worth the change. Give it a try!

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