Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

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 Kondō
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2 1/2 stars, but I'll round up.

I have mixed feelings about this book, but some of the things I liked include:
* Flipping around your perception of purging to view the process as "choosing the things to keep" rather than the more negative concept of "getting rid of stuff."
* Choosing to keep the things that spark joy in you, no matter if they might not for someone else.
* Getting rid of items you don't like or use, no matter how expensive, new, or who gave them to you. Let them go with gratitude for the service they provided or the thoughtfulness they represent. (This allowed me to give away some clothes I never liked but had always felt I "should" keep.)
* Treat your belongings with respect and make sure each has its own place.
* Gather all items of a particular type together and handle each one to give you the best picture of what you own and which you like best when you are choosing what to keep.

Some things that made me question her sanity:
* SHE DEFACED BOOKS!!! She actually tore pages out to keep just the parts she liked best. I wanted to (metaphorically speaking) kill her when I read that! NO. Just, NO. If you like certain parts, make a photocopy of those bits and donate the book whole so that someone else can enjoy it. Don't destroy it!!
* Likewise, the books she kept now fit on ONE SHELF in a SHOE CUPBOARD. Say what?! Again, no. Just, no.
* There is no way I am going to empty my purse every single time I come home in the evening. No. Way. Yes, I need to go through it more often to empty out the receipts and expired coupons, but doing that every day is a waste of time and effort. The rest of the things in my purse are in there on purpose because I need them frequently. It would be very bad to accidentally leave something at home--this is the same reason I do not change purses to match my outfits.
* What is her problem with manuals? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Yes, some might be unnecessary, but I referred to our refrigerator & microwave manuals several times just since I began reading this short book, & I've referred to our camera manual numerous times. Get rid of manuals for things you no longer own, but keep ones for things you do, otherwise you will end up asking your local librarians to track down copies, and we can't always find them for you!
* Likewise, get rid of all guest bedding unless you have frequent guests? buy and discard bedding every time you have infrequent guests? Um, NO. Our linen closet is not musty, and there is plenty of room for a spare set of sheets, thanks. Not to mention, when we had a guest room, the sheets could simply stay on the bed. This may be a cultural difference that doesn't translate well from Japan to the US.

Some reviewers have commented on the animism she displays in talking to homes and possessions. I admit, it's a little "out there" for me, but she does say you can do it in your head, and I'm not one to judge--as a child I used to think my stuffed animals and dolls had parties when I was asleep or out of my room, and I still silently thank all green traffic lights, so.... (Had the Toy Story movies been out when I was young, I might have thought they were proof positive!)

Overall, it's worth reading this book if you're looking for help streamlining your possessions to get your life back under control. Just take a few things she says with a grain of salt. And don't stress over her origami sock-folding instructions because she's written a follow-up book with diagrams to better explain her methods: Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

View all my reviews


Judy AWE said...
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Judy AWE said...

A Japanese friend read this, has used it. She helped me go through my clothes and seriously pare it down to things I love to wear. Fast with a friend. I really loved Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui. Most recently, I read Is Home Your Happy Place? by Christy Diane Farr. My entire home is getting a lot clearer. I have found things I'd lost track of some time ago, and have clear space to get things done that I could previously not face - like computer clearing and organizing. I have a ways to go on books, also my addiction. I've sold about 200 books so far, have another big box ready to sell. I'm reading more, without the heavy weight of shoulds and visual overwhelm of a (lieral) big wall of books. I agree with your assessment of this book. And it feels liberating to have less stuff everywhere! Thanks, E!

beachreader said...

You're welcome! I'm glad you had success with these techniques, and I appreciate the tips on other books to try. I'm (all too slowly, unfortunately) working my way through the categories of possessions, choosing with new eyes what to keep. Sometimes I wish I had extra vacation days to use for a clean-sweep staycation. :)

(p.s. Your comment posted twice, so I deleted the duplicate for you.)

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