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

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

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is really inspiring. I would say the hardest thing about the book was trying to hold off on implementing the recommendations until I finished reading. The way the author describes the end-result is incredibly appealing.

Kondo is repetitive in some sections, but not in an irritating way. She reinforces the concepts she’s trying to convey by referencing them multiple times throughout the text. The way that the author refers to things in a house and houses themselves was confusing and a bit odd until I understood that this was a reflection of her Shinto beliefs regarding divine essences being present in all things. When she talks about things having energy or life or greeting your objects, that’s part of her religious belief, but it makes sense to take care of and to value and appreciate your belongings. The better you care for them, the longer they’ll last.

What did I get out of this book? It helped me to reevaluate the way that I surround myself with things. It helped me to think about my apartment as a place for living rather than for storing. Do I really need these old knick-knacks from 5 years ago? Do I even look at them? When did I see this pair of pants last? Should I hang onto this shirt because I spent money on it and haven’t used it much, or get rid of it because it isn’t something I enjoy wearing?

Kondo encourages her readers to treat the places they live as living spaces rather than as storage spaces. She wants people to understand that surrounding themselves with just those things that bring joy will improve their lives. She also thinks it can help provide direction for people’s lives because, when you pare down your possessions to what you really value, it can help you discover what you’re genuine interests are.

KonMari (as she is often called) made me think of what’s really important to me and inspired me to turn my living space into a place that I really enjoy being in. I don’t expect my screwdriver or every undershirt to spark joy in my life, but as much as possible I want to limit my possessions to just those things that I derive joy or inspiration from.

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