Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo

I first came across this book at Books-A-Million (of course). The peaceful cover and pleasing size caught my eye, as well as the lovely words in the title. (Magic, decluttering and organizing. Harry Potter for neat freaks!) I picked it up and caressed it just a little bit, and then read half of it while standing in the middle of the store.

Ultimately I decided not to buy it. Probably solely because it was $17 and I was trying to save money. But I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it and finally, weeks later, I gave in. I wanted to own the magic. As someone who LOVES the state of being tidy, if not the action of doing the tidying, I want to know The Best Way to Get Tidy and Stay That Way.

After reading TLCMOTU, I find myself left with oddly conflicting opinions. Somehow I simultaneously loved the book while disagreeing with almost everything the author wrote. Kondo's approach to tidying is two-pronged: first, get rid of almost everything you own. Second, put it all away and keep it tidy. (OK, so she goes into a little more detail than that.) But the amount of discarding she suggests sounds so wasteful. And she wanted me to begin organizing by piling everything up in the middle of the room? Ugh, sounds too much like packing and unpacking, which I HATE. Empty my purse every night and re-fill it every morning? Ditto. Plus, ain't nobody got time for that! Speak frequently to your clothes and belongings to thank them for their service? Weird. Remove everything from the shower after each use (and dry it all off before storing it in a cabinet)? Insane!! The moment you first encounter a book is the right time to read it? OK, so I grudgingly admit that this is probably correct, but I encounter too many books and have too little time to follow this rule.

However. You should SEE my T-shirt drawer now. I am so proud of it. I would post a picture except I'm not going to. AND I have a wonderful new ability to get rid of useless junk, although certainly not to the extent that Marie would suggest . . . and I still feel guilty for giving my younger daughter's zebra-striped fedora to the little girl next door. (Hey, I warned her if she wouldn't put her things away I would give them away . . . ) Final verdict? I think this book would be more helpful for someone in a teeny tiny apartment.


Amy Crawshaw said...

My feelings about this book were very similar to yours! It's a lovely little book but I kept thinking her theories had been developed for tiny Japanese apartments, and found it difficult to imagine applying them to my three story family home - just the idea of piling up all our books in one place, ugh. I feel much more affinity to working on things one room at a time. That said, I agree with you, there is some inspiration to be had, and it was certainly a breath of fresh air from the usual decluttering advice.

Ti said...

I ordered this from the library for my Kindle. I am #115 or something close to that! After her interview with, I wanna say The New Yorker, the wait list doubled.

I have a horrible wardrobe. I have style and know what's in style but I prefer most days to wear a Gap T and jeans. But because I tend to fight it and because I do have to wear other clothes for work sometimes, I try to buy more grown up pieces and then end up with a closet of stuff I hate. Plus, we made a decision three years ago to tackle debt so although those three years have put a huge dent in the debt I speak of, we are still working on it and now I cannot bring myself to buy anything!! I've gone completely the other way.

But yeah, if I tossed everything that did not bring me joy, there would only be three black shirts hanging in the closet. I need to do something though. It's getting to be a real problem.

Ti said...

You are too much! I saw that package and I was like, hmmm, what could it be? I am so surprised! Thank you! Now I can tear my closet up sooner rather than later! Thank you!

Kathy said...

You're welcome, Ti! Enjoy! You'll have to let me know what you think of it. And Amy--once again our reading choices converge!