Organized and Productive Living

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Book Review

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Book Review

When I first heard of Marie Kondo and her Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book it was in 2014. My oldest son had acquired the book, read it in one night, and recommended it to me.

I was a little more than taken aback. What did I, the queen of “everything must have a home” and “please put that back where you found it” need with a book about decluttering and organizing?

Then I began to read about the KonMari method all over the Internet. Seemingly overnight it became the next big thing. Bloggers were sharing their thoughts on the book, and checklists were floating around about how to work you way through decluttering and tidying up your house. I still wasn’t sold.

In the spring of 2015, in addition to not sleeping well, I was under a lot of stress. One of my coping mechanisms is to clean and organize. I began reading Marie Kondo’s book in the early hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping. I was hooked.

She starts out by telling you that you can’t tidy your house if you never learned how, and why every other method you have tried before has failed. There is a lot of truth in the first part of that statement. If you never learned how to iron a shirt, or sew on a button, would you just expect that you would know how to do it? Of course not. You would go on the Internet, do a quick search, probably watch a YouTube video, and then make your first attempt. I came to being a tidier and an organizer out of necessity, and also because I believe some people are just naturally prone to being a certain way, while most others are not.

She then breaks down her method: discard all at once and tidy by category, while using the best methods to store your things. Sounds fairly simple, right? At the heart of it all, taken one step at a time, it is.

The book does just that. It walks you through the process, one step, one organizing category at a time. Marie Kondo tells her readers at the start to trust the the process and “Don’t change the process to suit your personality.” There are only two steps, discarding, and deciding where to store your things. However, it is her tips for how you go about doing those two things that makes the book such a success.

We are all capable, to some degree, of discarding our own things without the help of a book. It’s the how and they why that make the book worth reading. Kondo’s method has you start with the easiest things first (clothing), and saves the hardest things for last (sentimental items and photos). Following this order, you will achieve the most success right away, which will encourage you to keep going.

It’s the emotional attachment people have to their things that complicates it. “I can’t get rid of this because ___ gave it to me”, “What if I need (fill in that thing) someday?”. My husband is guilty of both of those behaviors and I like to kid that he’s one step away from that show Hoarders, except I might only be half-kidding. Marie Kondo addresses this in her book, and says there’s only two reasons people can’t let go of things they own: they create an attachment to the past, or anxiety about the future. Once you address those issues, you can discard anything.

What you save should be, as Kondo likes to call, things that “spark joy” in your life. The items that truly make you happy. The things left behind will be a reflection of who you are, what you like, and, as you may discover, who you want to be. She says, “The questions of what you want to own is actually a question of how you want to live your life.”

Are you ready to put your house in order and have a more organized and fulfilling life? Start with Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Then, join me for my next post when I’ll share how I’m using her methods to organize several spaces in my own home.


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