Tag Archives: Joy

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
By Marie Kondo (Translated by Cathy Hirano)
Ten Speed Press, Hardcover, 9781607747307,  Oct 2014, 213pp

The Short of It:

Interesting concepts shared by a Japanese cleaning consultant with no kids <smirk>.

The Rest of It:

This is one book that nearly everyone I know has heard of. Japanese cleaning consultant Maria Kondo has been all over the news and has made appearances on several TV shows to talk about her revolutionary KonMari method. In case you didn’t know, this method of simplifying and organizing is based on the fact that your possessions should only spark joy and if they don’t, then it’s time to thank them, get rid of them and move on.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I get all excited about organizing and decluttering. I do it often and it relaxes me but I have to admit, with four people in the house and a dog who tosses her toys around, I spend a lot of time organizing and according to Kondo, I should only have to do this once. Once! Not every week. This alone blew my mind.

In the book, Kondo takes you step-by-step through her process which has everything to do with discarding and a little to do with organizing what’s left. Discard everything that doesn’t bring you joy and whatever you have left should pretty much take care of itself if you did the first part correctly.

Yes, when it comes to clothes there is the added component of proper folding. She has a very unique folding method that allows you to see everything at a glance. This, I have been doing for years on my own but  not to the degree she has you doing it in the book.

What absolutely blew my mind, is the discovery of why I continue to organize and never feel done.  It’s because I organize by room and not by item type. I have medicines upstairs and downstairs, my daughter’s hair ties upstairs and downstairs, two linen closets, upstairs and down. I have things split up and they are meant to be organized and kept together by type.  You might think, “What’s the big deal?” Well, this means that I don’t always put stuff away where it truly belongs even though in theory, I’ve made it easier to put stuff away by having more than one spot to store it in,

Kondo makes some excellent points but the translation, and I do think it’s due to the translation, makes Kondo sound a little kooky and childlike. Some things that stuck out:

  • You should say “Hello, House!” when you return home.
  • You should thank your clothing after wear.
  • You need to touch each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy.
  • Don’t buy storage bins. Use shoe boxes and try to keep all boxed storage in the closet.
  • Much of what she talks about relates to small Japanese apartments but can be adapted for anyone.

The other major thing that stood out for me is that at the time the book was published, Kondo was not married, had no children and was living with her parents. I don’t mean to be critical but what kept coming up in my mind is how anyone could do this with other people living in the house with them. Kondo is now married and has a baby daughter so I am curious if her method still works for her.

In the end, I enjoyed it. I do think that I got something out of it and learned a few things. I got so excited about it that I immediately went into my garage to begin the process and that is when I hurt my foot! Clearly, I have too much stuff.

Kondo has a new, illustrated companion book that just came out, Spark Joy. Check it out if you want the illustrations.

Source: Gifted to  me by another blogger!
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.