The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is such a quirky and passionate book about de-cluttering and organizing that it could only have come from Japan. Marie Kondo writes she has thought about “tidying” ever since she was five years old. She was her school’s classroom organizer, and she would plan what room in her family’s house she wanted to tidy after school. She now works as a consultant and one-on-one coach to help people with extreme clutter and disorganization get their house in order. Even the author’s frequent use of the terms “tidy” and “tidying up,” while odd at first becomes more endearing the more you read.
The “KonMari Method” has two parts. The first part is to get rid of things. This is of course much easier said than done. If people could get rid of things, then they would have no need for books like this. Kondo’s ingenious method to de-cluttering involves holding each item and asking “Does this spark joy?” Any object that does not spark joy is discarded. Once you have removed all the joyless items and you are surrounded by things you love and bring you joy, the second part involves finding a place for each of the items. The places selected, writes Kondo, should be convenient to putting the item away not to getting it. This helps immensely in keeping your house in order.
Kondo offers little in the way of storage solutions other than to say storing items vertically is better than piling them, but the beauty of her method is fancy storage solutions are not needed. Her method involves surrounding yourself with only the things you love, that in some way bring you joy, and taking care of those items. Underlying the book is the idea that our modern world encourages mass consumerism as a way to feel better about our lives and a cure our loneliness, but this only causes stress and mental turmoil, which we often relieve by buying more stuff. The KonMari method provides a way to get rid of the stress and keep it away. She tells stories about clients who have undergone radical life transformations after using her method.
I thought I was minimalist and organized until I read this book. I now realize I have more things I can get rid of, and I look forward to it.
Available via Ten Speed Press