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You guys have heard about this book that everyone is talking about, right? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard about it yet, I’m sure you’ll see something about it soon on social media or the news or at your next cookout, because it is everywhere. People love this book!
And, I have to admit, when I first heard my dear friend Krissie mentioning the book, it totally sucked me in, too. I mean, c’mon, life-changing magic! If that ain’t a sexy book title, I don’t know what is. Krissie was talking a lot about how the book did literally change her life (and she’s one of my life guides—I try to be a better person everyday by asking myself “What would Krissie do?”), so I figured it was worthy of some of my time. I checked the book out from the library, and read it over the course of two days a few weeks back.
Now my review won’t be as glowing as the nearly 1500 five-star reviews on Amazon are—I had some issues with it—but there were a lot of a-ha! moments that I got thanks to reading the book. Overall, I say it’s worth a read, especially, if like me, you struggle with clutter and untidiness.
I’ve never been a very neat and orderly person. It just isn’t in my DNA (which is weird, because it should be—my Mama is a super organized person). As I get older, I have learned that it is possible to fight against my disorderly ways, but it is a daily struggle. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t to my husband either. Neither of us are the housekeepers we probably should be.
We’ve gotten better now that Juniper is mobile and into everything—we just can’t leave all of our knives and rusty nails laying out like we used to. But it still is a daily struggle to keep our house orderly. We just have so much stuff. It’s amazing what you accumulate in eight years of marriage! I will say that over the last few years, both Craig and I have been trending more and more toward minimalism. We used to be those people who would cruise the thrift shop, and buy something just because we thought it was cool and we might find some place for it later. With age comes wisdom—and a box full of random thrift store goodies in our basement. Even without this book, we’ve slowly evolved to realizing that our power doesn’t come things. It comes from our relationship. Our daughter. Our animals. Nature. Gardening. Hiking. Not from stuff.
So, I read the book. And I have to admit, some parts of it had me laughing out loud with the ridiculousness (the author claims she isn’t a naturally neat-and-tidy person, but if you get immense joy out of folding things, you are much more Type A than I ever hope to be, Monica Geller).
But, as you can probably infer from the title of this post, we are putting into action some of her plan. There were definitely some places in the book where she dropped truth bombs that made me stop, look around the room and evaluate in a way I never had before. As with everything in your life, you take what you need and leave behind what you don’t. So I’m taking all the good things she gave me (and the motivation to finally get my house in order) and leaving behind all the extra fluff that didn’t resonate with me.
Before I get to the good stuff, let me talk about the parts of her organizing plan that we are totally ignoring. Some of them just aren’t realistic for our lifestyle, and others are just flat-out silly, in my opinion. Here are the things that I didn’t like about the book:
Everything out before you organize. One of her biggest plan “secrets” is that you must take everything out and have it all sorted before you can organize or put anything back into the place where it’s going to live. You can’t even think about where something is going to go until you’ve sorted through all your stuff. I totally get the idea here, but it just isn’t realistic for the vast majority of families in the vast majority of households. There is no way we can pull out everything we own and have it in piles in the middle of our house for the days or weeks it takes to sort through everything. Especially not with a 10 month old crawling around.
Fold everything. Her obsession with folding things into tiny squares (literally, there is a whole section about how she gets her kicks from folding things into the smallest square possible) is too over-the-top for me. I’m lucky if I can get something folded at all before a baby tears into the pile or a client calls or a cat makes the pile into a bed—spending the extra time to fold into perfect little squares is just a little too much for me. That’s not my idea of fun.
Saying that objects have feelings. There is a laugh-out-loud section where she talks about the horror she gets when she sees a client who has balled up her socks. She talks about how the socks feel and how hard it must be for them to be in the drawer (she wants you to fold your socks in little squares, FYI). She anthropomorphizes objects throughout the book. My hope is that she is doing it just to teach people to treat the items they really enjoy with more respect, not because she truly believes these items have feelings. Yes, if you act like your socks are people, you are more likely to treat them better, but our society is already entirely too obsessed with consumerism to place that much value on things, in my opinion. Things aren’t people. People are people.
Putting everything away everyday. In the book, she tells the story of what she does when she walks in the door at the end of the day. She puts her shoes away (and thanks them for covering her feet). She empties her purse and puts all the items away (and then thanks her purse for it’s hard work). She hangs her clothes (and thanks them for keeping her warm). You get the point. I get that this is something highly organized people do. But I have no interest in being that kind of organized. I use the same purse everyday—I am more than happy with it just hanging on the hook by the door. Hey, at least it isn’t on the floor somewhere!
Avoid stockpiling things. She goes on a little rant about people stockpiling items. She says it just adds clutter to your home, and we live in a day and age where we have no need to stockpile. I agree with her on some aspects—I have no need to have 10,000 cotton balls stored in my house, even if they were 4939% off. But I strongly disagree with her when it comes to food. By producing and buying as much food as we possible can while it’s in season, and preserving it for the winter months, we save a ton of money, eat healthier, and promote a more environmentally friendly method of eating. I think the “no stockpiling” philosophy is also a very urban mentality. There are times, when us rural folk literally cannot get to the store for what we need. There was more than one snow storm this winter where I was very thankful for my well-stocked pantry.
She claims she isn’t neat or tidy. The next two are over-arching themes in the book that really drove me crazy. This first one, I mentioned above, but she claims throughout the book that she isn’t a naturally neat person. I call bullhockey. An unnaturally neat person doesn’t spend her time as a teenager perusing home magazines looking for newest storage and organization ideas. An unnaturally neat person doesn’t get thrills from folding things into tiny squares.
She’s got a little bit of an ego. I suppose, if you have a New York Times Bestseller on your hands, you are allowed to pack an ego, but her’s is a little over-the-top for me. She talks at length about how she changes people’s lives (which, may or may not be true, and if it is true, I’d much rather hear it in testimonial form from the changees instead of the changer). She gives you license to throw away other people’s stuff without their knowledge—all for the good of organization. Basically, she’s giving you the right to be your house’s god of stuff. Which is so not cool in my book. And, the most ego-centric thing of all, she named her cleaning system KonMari (a hybrid of her names). The self-naming thing is really just a personal pet peeve. I know it is done in all fields, all across the globe, amongst all genders, but it rubs me the wrong way.
Okay, I swear I did actually like the book for the most part—even if the above list suggests otherwise. There were a lot of things we did take away and are actually implementing in our house right this very second. Here’s what I loved:
Keep items that spark joy. You’ve probably heard a million different ways to sort through your clutter. Get rid of something you haven’t used in a year. Keep the things that you might use in the future. So on and so on. Her method is a brand new one to me, and it really resonated with me. Only keep items that spark joy. By using this guideline, I was given the permission to get rid of books that I will never read, but kept because I thought I should. I was able to keep that dress that I love, but only wear once every three years. It’s a much happier (and I think, healthier) way to think about objects. And it removes any kind of guilt that you may have with keeping or discarding objects.
Each item has a purpose. This goes so far beyond the idea of items accomplishing tasks. This isn’t about scissors and their purpose being to cut things. It’s more about the metaphysical purpose of an item and how it relates to a human. The purpose of a greeting card is to be read and enjoyed—and after that it’s purpose is fulfilled. Why keep it? That half read book from three years ago, maybe it’s purpose was for you to only read through half of it because everything you needed to know was in that first half. And now its new purpose it to go to someone else who will love it. The purpose of a gift is to be received, so maybe don’t hold onto so much guilt if you are getting rid of that sweater you got from your Aunt Maude three Christmases ago but never wear, because the sweater already fulfilled it’s purpose. She’s all about thinking about objects in a different way. This really helped me remove some of the guilt with discarding items. The hippie environmentalist in me loathes throwing perfectly good things away (and more on how we aren’t doing that later), so I always had a lot of guilt over getting rid of something that was perfectly good. But thinking of the object as something that has a purpose with someone else really helped me remove that guilt.
Nix the paper. When I first read her chapter all about throwing away your paper, I was totally aghast. But we need all of those copies of bills and receipts! But the more I read on, the more I realize, she was right. In this day and age, there are very few things we actually need to keep paper copies of. Almost everything is available online, and that’s if you even ever need to use it. How often do you actually refer to your toaster manual? I went through our filing cabinet and we’re getting rid of about 95% of the paper we were hoarding. We’ve gone from a two-drawer filing cabinet, plus three filing boxes, to just one filing box. I even got the nerve to get rid of about 75% of our old immigration paper work (that’s what this stack I’m holding in this photo is). I feel so much lighter!
You have enough storage space. This was a truth bomb that almost knocked me off my seat—no matter how much storage space you have, you have enough. If your stuff can’t fit in your storage space, you have too much stuff. I’ve often (and loudly) lamented the lack of storage space in our modestly sized house. We don’t have a coat closet or a linen closet. Our closets are small. I always thought, “Now, if I just had a linen closet, I’d be so much more organized!” This book snapped me back into reality. This is probably our forever home. And we’re probably never going to knock down walls to build a linen closet. So I gotta work with what I got—and that means getting rid of the extra 20 sheet sets we have and the extra 10 ratty towels. Store within your means.
Skip the storage gadgets. I always thought to get my house organized I’d have to spend a small fortune at the Container Store buying bins, boxes, and containers. Not only does she say you don’t have to do this, she actually recommends against it. Her point, and it’s a good one, is that storage gadgets don’t help you store, they help you hide clutter. You have a beautiful storage bin on the top shelf of your closet with your scarves in it. It looks nice and neat, but inside that box are 10 scarves you never wear anymore. The storage gadgets are giving you a false sense of organization.
Use what you have to organize. She does admit that there are some places where you need organizational gadgets, and I really appreciate her suggestions to use what you have around the house. She even specifically recommends using Apple boxes for drawer organization because almost everyone has one (or five—ahem) of them around the house, they are strong and sturdy, and they are the perfect size to fit in drawers. And she is right! They are perfect! We’ve been using plastic food storage containers, old tins, basically anything we have that can keep stuff contained.
Put value in your home life. A particularly poignant part for me was when she spoke about how some of her clients will want to keep old, ratty clothes for lounging around the house. She immediately questions this with “Why is your home life less important than your outside life?” MIND BLOWN. I don’t work outside of the home, so I spend the vast majority of my time in my house, but I was “saving” my good clothes and accessories for the once or twice a week when I went out to get groceries. Your home should be the place where you feel the most wonderful about yourself—so why are you dressing in grubby clothes that make you feel terrible? You should feel wonderful in your home! And the only clothes you should own are ones that make you feel that way (although, I am making an exception for one set of painting clothes).
Store it where it’s easy to put away. This was a total a-ha! moment for me. She talks about the issue with people wanting things “within arm’s reach” is that it’s a philosophy that puts the emphasis on the wrong part of the process. It’s easy to get something. When you’re in the middle of making cookies, it’s easy to run downstairs to the basement to grab some extra flour. Or if you’re working on a project, it’s easy to run to the far-off closet to get the extra glue. It isn’t easy to put things away. So we should be focusing instead on storing items where it is easy for them to be put away—in other words, store items where you use them. This is a huge issue in our house, because we have a secondary pantry in our basement. The buffet right next to our basement stairs is constantly (CONSTANTLY!) full of items that need to go back downstairs. Think about the items that are always put away in your home—they probably live where they are used. Make it easy on yourself! If you aren’t naturally neat and tidy, you shouldn’t make it more difficult on yourself to be so. Accept that your instincts are to be disorganized, and figure out a system that works within that reality.
The interesting thing about this book coming into my life is that it came at a time when we were already beginning a massive declutter. We’re in the process of moving our bedroom upstairs, and we’re having a yard sale in May, so we were already in the stuff liquidation mindset. So reading this book came at the perfect time to help give us some methods for our decluttering process.
I have to admit, it is taking us forever. Her method of really considering each item isn’t a quick one—and it doesn’t help that I’m pricing each thing for a yard sale as we go. We’ve been decluttering off-and-on for about three weeks now, and we have two more weeks until the yard sale day, so we better be done by then! We’ve finished Juniper’s room and our bedroom. We’re currently working on our office/craft area (which is basically where all of our extra stuff went to die, so it’s taking a while). And then we move onto the kitchen and living room, which shouldn’t take too long—we keep those pretty clutter-free. Our two biggest clutter mountains to climb are our basement and our pole barn. We started going through our basement over the winter, and I’d say we need another good solid day of work down there and we’re done. And then, last weekend, my parents joined us to help work in the pole barn (it’s a shared space). We’re very close to being done down there.
By being so ruthless with our cuts, we’re generating a lot of waste that needs to leave our house. Some of the more expensive stuff, we’re selling on eBay and Half.com (and making a nice chunk of money to help us build up our savings!). And, most everything else, we’re having a big, giant, three-family, yard sale the second weekend in May in Indianapolis. If anyone in the Indy area is interested in more info on it, shoot me an email. There will be some seriously good stuff there, and we’re donating a portion of the proceeds to a local charity. Everything that is leftover at the end of the yard sale is going directly on a charity truck—nothing is going back in the house!
Anything that has been deemed not yard-sale worthy (but is still in decent quality) is going to be donated. All of the trash, paper, etc. we are recycling if we can and, of course, throwing some stuff away. I have to admit, I’m really proud of how little trash is actually coming out of this process. We’re not contributing to the landfill nearly as much as I had feared we would be. And my hope is that with our shift in mindset, we’ll be more conscious consumers of goods moving forward, and in general, reduce the amount of stuff we’re contributing to our planet.
We’re obviously not completely through the process of getting our house in order, but I think what I’m loving so much is that we’re cutting through all the visual, emotional, and literal clutter that kept us from truly enjoying the items we love. By having hundreds of books on bookshelves, the dozen or so books that really changed my life are drown out. By keeping every craft supply I might ever need, I never remember I have the ones I truly do need. We starting to clear out the noise, and the items that are left truly feel like friends. I can now look over at my bookshelf and feel love for each and every book on that shelf. It’s an amazing feeling!
I think, even without the book, we would have gone through this purge, but the book gave us the extra push to really be ruthless with our cuts. If it doesn’t bring us joy, it doesn’t need a place in our home. I’m so excited for our home to only be filled with items that we love, and to be able to turn our focus from our stuff to the more important things in life. If you struggle with clutter or disorganization at all, I recommend picking up the book from the library (after all, you don’t need to add to your clutter by buying it), and giving it a read. It might just actually change your life!
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I read this book a couple months ago and I also love it. I agree with some of your criticisms (although I would like to point out that she actually says NOT to throw away other people’s things…). It’s awesome that you and Craig are doing it together. My husband is not interested at all (we are very different), but even just doing my stuff in our bedroom and office, I feel so great! I find it’s much easier to put things away and keep things tidy now. I got rid of so much stuff. I can’t believe I sold all my books and cds to the local used book store, but she is totally right about not needing to hold onto those things. I mean, those boxes of cds that came from my parents house have just been sitting in my closet for 4 years untouched, so why not get rid of them? Having a partner with hoarding tendencies has made it a little more difficult, but I do find that I don’t get as annoyed with him leaving his stuff all around. I just put it away. It doesn’t take long and it makes me happy to do it. So if anyone is reading this with an uncooperative partner, you can still do it and it will still make a huge difference!
I am so happy you wrote this, I am in a similar situation and I am at the beginning stages of the decluttering. I feel that it will all be for nothing when my partner likes to leave socks any old place so I get almost to the point of not wanting to go through the trouble but your comment was very helpful in keeping in mind that I will be organizing my things for me… Thank you!
Friend, your words are sweet and I adore you.
I love this process so much. As much as I don’t believe that my socks have feelings, I have convinced myself that the elastic will last longer if I don’t ball them up. So I am folding them. And it is pretty. I am also folding all of my tshirts and that drawer is soo pretty. I am not folding Nathan’s tshirt drawer, though. As badly as I want to.
I love the “everything has a home” concept. This has stopped me from buying several things because I don’t know exactly where I would put them. And, although I don’t put my purse away, I do clean it out every day. And my car too. Two previously chaotic spaces feel so peaceful and clean now.
You are going to make a killing at your yard sale!
I don’t enjoy folding things, but I do like looking at piles of neatly folded clothes… I think Monica is slowly creeping up inside my brain! ;)
I like looking at neat piles, too! If only someone would do it for me. Ha! :)
I have been an unclutterer for decades and thought I wouldn’t learn anything new and my resistance was high when I listened to Marie Kondo’s book on YouTube and I am a convert…no no no…not konvert…
Yes, it’s a little repetitive, but like a child learning a new skill we have to hear it again and again for it to sink in and become second nature. I paused a few times and just got up and did as she recommended…good fun. And…I still go to my drawers to see how neat they are.
Plus don’t you think it’s time we, in the first world?, have to undo the damage that over consumption has done to our psyche and stop putting up with substandard products, attitudes, behaviours…Now, not when we think we are ready…Now before it’s too late. Be a good example rather than a horrible warning for our descendants.
I believe her when she says to take everything of one category [not everything in the whole house all at once as someone elsewhere has stated…that’s just silly], say books, and put them all in the one place and the sheer volume helps you to realise how excessive the number is. And be a bit OCD and count them…
Give it a go, tweak it and make it your own and then you can market the method as yours just as she has…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BW2T71nmdk
I haven’t read the book, but I’ve been reading a blog by someone who truly does struggle with clutter, and it’s been amazing for changing my thinking! I totally recommend her! She blogs at aslobcomesclean.com, I suggest reading her posts about her two questions for decluttering.
I started a big purge in January, and found the podcast for A Slob Comes Clean. For me it was great to listen while I was going through a space… a nice push to really declutter.
We’re hoping to move to our forever home soon, and I’m hoping to take as little extra stuff with as possible. I love the idea of keeping items that spark joy.
I need to move on to paper clutter soon. Soooo hard for me!
Wonderful review of this book! I enjoy reading about others experiences with decluttering and especially this book. I read it and implemented in February. For me, it really was life changing and like you, I felt some parts were a little hokey. I agree some of her opinions are a little far out but I wondered if that was more of a cultural difference. And I’m also curious if the ego comes across worse in the English translation. I’m not sure she even speaks English, or if she does, I don’t think she is fluent. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos and they all have a translater.
Best of luck on your mission and thanks again for the detailed review of the book and your process!
That is a VERY good point. I hadn’t even thought about the lost-in-translation aspect. If that’s the case, then I wish her English editor was a bit more on top of it.
I just put this book on hold at the library. I’m number 568 in line, so I have a while to wait!
I’ve been slowly decluttering my whole house in the last few months. I still have a ton of work, as I am going through each room, drawer, cabinet and closet, but it’s getting there.It’s a lot of work, but the results have been so great. I really want to reach a point where every item in my house has a place.
The reason I started hardcore declutteriing is because I joined a Facebook group “Buy Nothing (insert your town here).” These Buy Nothing groups can be found worldwide and are a great way to get rid of your unused items to people in your own community. The link below is a page for all the current groups. Everyone should check out to see if there is one in your area.
Ooh! I’m going to go look for my group now.
Freecycle is another great group for giving items away.
I haven’t read the book but Rachel Wilkerson mentioned it also, and the phrase “storage gadgets don’t help you store, they help you hide clutter.” makes me want to read the book. But her ideas/the reasons you don’t like the book mean that I’m probably not going to read it. I love the recaps I’ve read, and I’m definitely trying to get rid of my crap. But there are things that hold definite sentimental value. I’ll be moving to my own place soon, and I’m lucky that my current room at my parents house will hold what I’m not using. So if I move in June I’ll bring only summer stuff to my new place. Then in the fall I’ll only bring what I need for fall. And when those seasons come I’ll also get rid of what I don’t want to bring.
If you are considering storing all your stuff in your parent’s room you definitely need to read the book regardless of reviews. You will be shifting the emotional burden of getting rid of your junk to your parents. In order to ‘let go’ of items, you have to take ownership of the problem. Do read it. I have passed it onto so many people and a lot of them are men which is interesting. Some weeks ago I went on a Konmari rampage of sorts. I looked into my husbands drawers this morning. And guess what? Having told me I was losing my mind some week back, his socks and underpants were neatly folded into little rectangles…
“if you get immense joy out of folding things, you are much more Type A than I ever hope to be, Monica Geller” <—- Right?! But here's the thing, I did some of it — all my shirts are cubes and my socks are resting, and it does feel really good. I looked at this book how I look at most things in life — like an all-you-can-eat buffet. I picked what sounded good to me and left the rest ;)
I’m a paper hoarder as well, I feel you there. Side note, your hair in the pic with the immigration papers is adorable, tutorial please! :)
It is SO easy. My absolutely favorite way to do my hair (it keeps it up away from grabby baby hands, but is much cuter than just a ponytail). Here’s a great tutorial: http://www.modamamablog.com/2012/11/hair-tutorial-easy-headband-updo.html
The home life part really struck a chord with me, especially now that I have a baby and am home 98% of the time. I think it could even help me make better choices – if I dress myself with respect, it comes more naturally to, say, feed myself with respect. And not with chocolate. :)
There’s a corner of our garage full of unboxed stuff. If we haven’t used it since 2006, which is when we moved to the U.S., well then I know it’s not something we need. We really do need to go through that stuff.
Thanks for the review and the motivational boost.
Oh, also, you’re totally my Krissie. :^) /creepfangirling
<3 <3 <3
I’ve seen so much about KonMari and I’m not a naturally neat person, although without reading the book, I realised that I’ve trained myself to be tidier than I used to be. What I’ve really got better at is doing something when it needs to be done rather than leaving it to merge into the mess, washing the dishes after dinner, put the laundry away or ironing it as soon as it’s ready for that. I use the TV or book as a reward for a tidy kitchen instead of just doing what I want, which is never housework. I suspect its age, it really hit after I turned 40, but it’s becoming natural to just do it. I realised this last week, I was with my friends very active 2 and 3 year olds, we were having a dance party in the kitchen (as our cake was baking) I was jumping around too and realised halfway through that I’d also washed the dishes, cleared and cleaned the kitchen surfaces. I’m still allergic to cleaning and/or vacuuming the floors though!
Buying soon! Oh my word. I think I’ll find a little bit of joy from this book. And I have to agree about your ‘cons’, even though I haven’t read the book yet. “Feelings” are a little much! I’m a bit inspired to implement a few of the tasks you’ve already done before I get the book!
I wasn’t ever a neat person growing up, but I feel like I’m more of a neat person now. I think a lot of it comes from not having a ton of stuff due to moving pretty much every year for a little bit, so I’ve always had to downsize. I’m good at picking up things and putting things away, but I’m terrible with washing and sweeping the floors and stuff like that! This book sounds interesting, but I don’t know if it would be worth it to me because I am pretty minimal already.
And yeah, folding my socks isn’t going to happen…
I really appreciate such an honest review of this book. I’ve been hearing universally good things and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. This review is extremely thorough and balanced, so thank you! Now I think I’m ready to read the book so, like you, I can pull out the pieces that are valuable and useful to my own life.
By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for probably around three years now and for some reason this is the post that’s causing me to delurk! Decluttering is a magical thing. I wish you luck in your endeavours!
I really appreciated your overview, especially the parts you didn’t like about it.
I didn’t like that she overlooked that there are many people out there who have mental issues that affect their ability to tidy and clean for long periods of time and do things all at once.
I do get where she is coming from when she says that if you only tackle a room at a time or throw away a few things that you’ll always be doing it. But if cleaning for longer than 20 minutes makes a person a have a panic attack, her method is not going to work. And she is so sure that her method always works.
But, like you, I like the way she makes you change the way you view objects. And I have definitely been applying that to my life.
Sometimes (ok, a lot of times), I think you and I are the same person… it totally freaks me out.
I purchased this book on Amazon last week and have been working through it as well. Like you, it could not have come at a better time. My hubby and I recently moved into our house, and have been de-itemizing as we unpack boxes. And yes, we still have boxes to unpack after 4 months, but it’s actually been a lot easier to purge things when it’s been trapped in a box and you haven’t thought about it in weeks. And the book just takes the de-cluttering to that next level. Loads of fun! It’s nice to be free of ‘things’ – it really allows you to focus on the more important parts of your life.
Thanks for sharing! (and making me feel like I have a younger twin in another state! :)
Thanks for sharing! I just got the book yesterday and am halfway through. I can’t wait to start and loved reading your post.
I had pretty much the same feelings you had. I got good things from it but whenever someone brings it up in conversation, I’m all “BUT THE SOCKS!”
We moved a couple weeks ago so it really gave me the chance to say “Does this spark joy?” to most of my house.
I am in the middle of a decluttering project that has left me feeling more cluttered (I have boxes of stuff in the middle of my livingroom to be donated and am trying to arrange transportation). I’ll be adding this book to my TBR list for additional inspiration…
I have to agree with you on the purse issue? Who empties their purse every day? The stuff that’s in my purse (and my backpack for that matter) belongs there!
In our defense, I think parents of young children can totally get away with everyday house clothes. My son and daughter, 5 and 2, are very, very likely to spill something on them and me, need help that gets me soaking wet or something. So I buy cute clothes for the house, but I have my SWEET SWEET FREEDOM, I mean getting out of the house clothes too.
I am a pretty tidy person at heart. I feel much calmer and able to deal with things that come up throughout the day when the space around me is organized and not cluttered.
I haven’t heard of this book but what you described about things having feelings sounds very much like how many of my Japanese friends speak. Maybe some of that is cultural.
I am constantly going through the items that we have and purging them but even more so I am very careful about what comes into our home. We recently made the decision to request no presents for our children at birthday parties. We want their friends to come and have fun without the pressure of bringing a gift/leaving us with more clutter that will quickly break.
Funny you mention the immigration papers because my husband still has his. I think he is afriad the governement will show up one day at the door and say “Psych! Now give us back that passport”.
Good luck on your endeavours.
I had to be brave to get rid of our immigration papers too. Had I not read the book I know I probably would have had them until the day died. And then the kids would have had to throw the away instead!
I’ve been sort of ambivalent about reading this book, but I have already been employing a lot of the strategies it lists since the beginning of the year. A combination of UFyH, Declutter 365 FB group, and Apartment Therapy January Cure already lead me down this road a little bit. Lately I have been thinking more about how I spend my time and money, and just thinking aabout a more minimalist lifestyle in general. The more stuff we have, the more time/money/energy we have to spend storing it, maintaining it, and keeping it clean. Having more stuff means buying more stuff. Stop buying stuff and then you won’t have to declutter so often! Anyways it has been weekly trips to Goodwill for me and we will be rid of our storage unit by this weekend!
It’s as if you were speaking through me. The book is great … but also weird. However, the tenets that helped you also really helped me. We’re downsizing to an apartment and have decided to get rid of tons of stuff. The boxes we’ve rid ourselves of have already made us feel so much lighter and by the end of this weekend we’ll finally feel we’re where we want to be before the big move. :D
Thanks for sharing your pictures and your story, it makes me feel far less overwhelmed.
After reading your review, I just ordered this book! I was just talking to my hubbs about needing to clean. We’ve been in our house 2 years, and we still have stuff we haven’t unpacked. And we got married last year and I still haven’t even dealt with that stuff either…I feel I am turning into a hoarder…
This is just what I needed!
I recently read this book and my house is feeling so much lighter as I’ve been getting rid of all the things that don’t spark joy. Just a quick note about your review, the author states that while she used to throw other family members things out she learned later that it was a mistake and that you should only get rid of your own stuff.
After reading this post, I’m thinking you might be interested in the Flylady website. She’s who I turn to when I need to get back to a tidy life.
I’ve tried Flylady in the past, and it was WAY too overwhelming for me!
I have used both methods.
I think Flylady is much better for household routine (and you’re SUPPOSED to adapt them to YOUR needs) and Konmari is MUCH better for the actual decluttering part, but like you, I’ve had points in using the Konmari method in my home where I TOTALLY got overwhelmed. So it wouldn’t be good for when you’re in a self-denigrating mood.
Wow, that garage looks like a serious task! I have just finished my KonMari journey, so I can totally understand what you mean by feeling lighter! Thank you so much for sharing your process. I might have to add some of the items to my list http://bit.ly/1dyA0Ht
Just want to say I understand that some of the book may not resonate with non-Japanese readers & it seems like this was the original audience. Shinto endows remarkable “things” like an ancient tree or even something inert but remarkable and natural with a sort of “spirit.” Not too much of a leap to anthropomorphize other things in terms of housekeeping. And although recycling is rigidly required, Japan also remains very much a “throw away” culture when it comes to getting rid of things you no longer need & I noted a good deal of “just toss it out” going on in the book. Cleanliness is a big deal there and I believe “used stuff” can equate to “dirty stuff”. Oh how easy & quick it is to toss stuff without having to find a responsible home for it! Still there is a lot of thrift and humble elegance that resonates in the writer’s words. I find that as long as I don’t get stuck on these cultural issues, there is much value in this not-too-long and very readable book to inspire me. Kudos to Marie Kondo for getting it in print! I’ve done a lot of clearing out as a result – category by category. It works!
I have been emptying my purse since I listened to the book and I find I am carrying only what I need now rather that stuff that month old…receipts, lollies, tissues etc.
When I go to the corner store I don’t have to search for my keys or wallet…they are in their defined space.
When I change out my bag…I have two…it’s a breeze because I’ve even decluttered the contents. It’s amazing how you realise most of what’s in there is un-needed when you don’t live ‘just in case’
I didn’t ask did it spark joy…I asked when was this just-in-case item last used…invariably…never. My back and neck thank me for the lighter load.
I think some of the perceived absurdities are really cultural differences. Marie Kondo worked at a Shinto temple before becoming a decl uttering consultant, and I believe they believe something akin to the native american belief that everything has some sort of a spirit. I think there may also be some cultural value of folding things that Japanese women might not find to be so bizarre as an American audience does. Anyway, I enjoyed your post and enjoyed the book.
Boy did your blog post ever resonate with me. I too read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, and I could have written your review of it. There are many good things about this book, but in reality I can’t give the book to clients as a professional organizer as her cultural identity is so unlike our North American one. I would love for my husband to read it, but he would put it down soon after reading about thanking your objects, or saying that objects have feelings. Good luck with your purge and organization. Enjoy your little one ( they do grow up too fast1) Our are now 25 + 29!
Good article, straight from your heart. It’s a different journey for everyone, so we are all going to take and leave what is best for us, as you did.
*One point I would like to make is Marie Kondo is loathe to us performing her method on behalf of anyone else. In fact, she tells us that children as young as 3 years old, should be doing this themselves on some level. Many, many times she warns us to never, ever touch another person’s belongings-not even our children’s or our husband’s stuff. Marie tells us that those we live with will very likely be influenced by our good example and go on their own journey. If not, not ours to discard, or organize. Wanted to mention this because, frankly, she goes into this subject many times.
My daughter actually was the first one to see this book at the library. We both read it and started purging right away. My bedroom closet and drawers look amazing! And make me happy every time I see them. Skipping books for now because I have probably 200? As we home s hooked for17 years. Working on paper right now. Thank you for your insights ! They were very helpful on what to keep and I do agree with the recycling part. We also live in the country and keep a good supply of food around.
I am way behind on reading this book, but I’m so glad I found your review. I am in a surprisingly similar place. Married 7 years with a nearly mobile 8 month old. I am loving the book so far for the general idea of keeping only what sparks joy, but I felt the exact same way about the ego and “things have feelings” stuff. Her tone definitely rubbed me the wrong way at times, and I had to give the socks part a hard eye roll. I’m glad to hear someone else is having success taking the good and leaving some of the more ridiculous things behind.
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