Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

November 9, 2016 Uncategorized 20

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpTitle: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Author: Marie Kondō, Cathy Hirano
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: I liked the basic idea, but the details didn’t work for me and sometimes seemed pretty crazy.

Marie Kondo is a professional cleaning consultant now, but she’s been interested in cleaning and organizing since she was very young. In this book, she shares her the method she’s developed for organizing based on years of trying different things. She also shares the emotional connection she feels with her home and the objects she owns.

Initially, I was really excited about this book. I think the author’s main suggestions of organizing by category and keeping only those things that make you feel joy is great. Organizing by category seems like it would simplify decisions about what to keep. It would also make sure you don’t accidentally have duplicate items. Keeping only the things that make you happy seems like a good way to build a happy life and also seems straightforward. I’m still excited to try this out and I may update you with how it goes!

These two pillars of the author’s organizing strategy were a fairly small part of the book. After reading them, I was hoping her specific advice for discarding things from different categories and then organizing them would resonate with me as well. Unfortunately, there was next to nothing else I could see myself implementing.  The bits where she suggested talking to your clothes or recommended actions based on personifying your objects seemed crazy to me. Other bits were just things I knew wouldn’t work in my life. At the beginning, I thought I might run out and buy a copy at the book, but at the end, it turned out that only a very few notes were enough to capture all the information I wanted to keep.

20 Responses to “Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

    • DoingDewey

      I may have to read more books on organizing and/or being more efficient. I’ve just started a new job and am still establishing a new routing, so I’m looking to make my life easier and free up more time 🙂
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  1. Katie//Girl About Library

    YES. Totally agree with this review. I really struggled with this book, especially the part you mentioned about talking to your clothes. When I have shoes, pants, or glasses that I have used all day and am thankful for- I would never think to thank the object. That is just ridiculous- be grateful you have a job, a family, a whatever that provided that for you but the actual object? Nope. Great review!
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    • DoingDewey

      I’ll admit, I tried the thanking my things as I was getting rid of them, just to see! It didn’t work for me though and I didn’t find it any easier to get rid of things that way. So, I definitely agree with you – pretty silly!
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  2. Heather

    It’s too bad this didn’t work for you better than it did. I read it a while back and took some things from it – primarily, I cleaned out my entire closet based on the spark joy method – and discarded those things that didn’t work for me. The cleaning out the purse every day thing is an example of something I simply ignored. Oh well, not all methods are going to work for every person!
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    • DoingDewey

      I’ve started cleaning out my closet using her method too and I’m really liking it! I’m not sure if that means I should rate her book better or not. Overall, I used a very small portion of the advice and didn’t love reading it, so I think maybe not.
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  3. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    I was curious about this one, but wasn’t sure if it would work for me, so never picked it up. I feel like I am pretty organized already and have my own method, so I think I’ll be fine with that. I am curious about this talking to your clothes thing. 😀

    • DoingDewey

      I definitely didn’t like it enough that I’d recommend it to you in that case! If you already have something that works, I’m not sure this will do much for you.
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  4. Naomi

    I’m pretty sure there is no book out there for me that would work. Luckily for me, my youngest daughter is turning out to be quite the organizer, and has been very helpful on many occasions. This is an idea, though, that would take about 10 years to be of any use to you. 😉
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    • DoingDewey

      Haha, yeah, I might find that strategy hard to replicate, but that sounds really nice. I thought it was surprising how young Marie Kondo was when she got into to organizing, so I’m interested to hear that your daughter is the same way!

  5. Kailana

    I read it, but I have not really followed it. lol For me, I don’t know how it can be successful unless everyone in the house is on the same page. I live with a guy that came from two pack-rats, so while our house is not quite like his childhood home… I find he has a hard time getting rid of stuff. I find a monthly cleaning schedule works better for me because you do a little everyday and then you don’t feel so overwhelmed!
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    • DoingDewey

      Good point! So far, I’ve just done belongings that are exclusively mine, like my clothes, but I think my husband is on board for doing this with our shared belongings too. If he weren’t, I think it would be tough to do anything.

  6. Kazen

    Like you I read this and thought… nah. There are many joy-less things that I need to keep (old tax returns, a suit to wear to funerals) and if I remember correctly there’s a part about folding socks just so? Nope.

    I also found the translation clunky, but that may just be a pitfall of knowing Japanese. You did much better than me – I think I abandoned it 50 pages in!
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    • DoingDewey

      I debated giving up on it, but I liked the basis of her method and kept hoping she’d get to useful advice for specific categories. No such luck! And I do think I would have liked it better if she’d done a little more to acknowledge that you might have some things you just need to keep. It would have felt more realistic.

      I wondered if there might be some translation issues! That’s good to know 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Romanticizing cleaning is a good description, I think! And I definitely think that for a multi-person household you’d have to have everyone on board and making decisions about their own things.

  7. Aylee

    Oh I know, the parts about talking to objects, testing them out to feel if they spark joy in your heart… that all went over my head too. It’s just not for me. But there were a few things that I’ve been implementing, like you, to good effect.
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    • DoingDewey

      I have started going through my belongings categorically and getting rid of things that don’t make me happy and so far, that part really is working for me. The talking to my belongings idea was not for me though and most of her more detailed advice just didn’t fit with parts of my current organization or routine that I’m set on.

  8. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    I loved this book! Although, I also listened to it while cleaning house before a move so it was very timely (and also breaking the rules – I wasn’t concentrating on connecting with my things). A lot of of is a little overboard for me but I like the basic premise of if it doesn’t make you happy, toss it. Besides, happiness is subjective, right?
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