The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Jill Ivy

4 Stars

October 24, 2014

I enjoyed reading this book.  I could identify a lot with Kondo as she shared her lifelong pursuit of tidyness and order.  I also like to organize and tidy and like to have a place for everything and everything in its place.  In fact, one of the best parts of Christmas for me is that week after Christmas where I have an opportunity to organize all the new stuff and cull out the old stuff.
This is vastly different from any other cleaning, household management, or organizational book I have ever read.  Kondo's approach is easy to follow and understand.  Her philosophy of physically touching each and every item in your home as you decide what brings you joy and what you can live without was rather revolutionary for me.  I never would have approach tidying up like that, especially with clothing or books.
Overall, I think this is an excellent book and approach to home organization that could benefit many people, particularly here in America where we are blessed with a plentiful bounty of "stuff".  I think anyone could read this book and immediately make positive changes in their home.
However, in the interest of an honest review, I have to admit there were things that I found a little odd in the book.  The author expresses many times the idea of talking to your belongings and thanking them for what they do for you.  She also encourages readers to greet their home when they come home.  For me, I would never do that.  It is also obvious that she practices a religion in which followers set up shrines in their homes.  She never states which religion it is, but I suspect the anthropomorphizing of her belongings stems from that.  I enjoyed the book despite the differences in our beliefs, but other readers might not.
I also took some issue with Kondo's philosophy of throwing away all items that readers deem fit to cull from their homes.  It is possible that in Japan they do not have the thrift stores or other places to donate gently used merchandise, but in America we have so many worthy charities that can utilize secondhand merchandise.  I would personally encourage people to donate their extra "stuff" instead of simply throwing it away.  In some cases, Kondo stated that her clients threw away dozens of trash bags filled with stuff.  There are a lot of people that can benefit from donated clothes and such.
This book does what it says it will do - it gives readers tools to declutter their house once and for all.  It definitely encourages a shift in thinking in terms of clearing out unnecessary items from your home.  I have already tackled one closet and have viewed the process with fresh eyes!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.