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Book Review: ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo

If you live nearby a local Daiso store, a chain of 100-Yen (or 85 cents USD as of this date) stores in Japan and all around the world, you'll realize how the Japanese are masters of life conveniences. What I mean by this is that it is part of Japanese culture where they make the simplest of things in life convenient, and in some cases, become works of art. For instance, the Japanese have origami, the art of paper folding; kirigami, the art of paper cutting; ikebana, the art of flower arranging, and the…

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Summary : Does your house, or your life, need a major overhaul of cleaning, clutter reduction, and organizing? The KonMari Method as explained in "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo may be the solution for you.

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The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Book cover courtesy of Goodreads

If you live nearby a local Daiso store, a chain of 100-Yen (or 85 cents USD as of this date) stores in Japan and all around the world, you’ll realize how the Japanese are masters of life conveniences. What I mean by this is that it is part of Japanese culture where they make the simplest of things in life convenient, and in some cases, become works of art. For instance, the Japanese have origami, the art of paper folding; kirigami, the art of paper cutting; ikebana, the art of flower arranging, and the list goes on.And then, we’ve got Marie Kondo’s New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

With this book, Kondo introduces the Japanese art of reducing clutter and organizing. Most of us in this world are guilty of living in a home of endless clutter in every nook and cranny. At the same time, we are also guilty of not being inspired to take the time to clean up and declutter. After all, life, in general, is always a mess, so everything else that surrounds us is as messy as life itself. Kondo’s book aims to change all of that by sharing many tips and ideas on reducing clutter and organizing your stuff at home, or what she calls “The KonMari Method.”

Before you pick up the book, be sure to read the summary first and keep that summary in mind as you begin to read. Second, before you open the book cover, make sure you clear off your mind of everything, especially your personal biases. I’m saying this because this book was originally written for the Japanese public, and some portions of this book may not translate well to foreigners, which may let your personal biases kick in. Last, but not least, do not recommend this book to those who don’t care and for those who have a partial hatred towards people who are obsessive-compulsive. Some readers who reviewed this book were already accusing Kondo of being an obsessive-compulsive nut, rather than actually reviewing the content and intent of her book. You have been warned.

In a nutshell, Kondo suggests we only keep items that give us personal joy. The phrase she uses is those which “spark joy.” While you determine your items that spark joy in your life, you can discard everything else. However, Kondo divides the method into different categories in a specific order, from the most important (clothes) to the least (items of sentimental value, like photos and other knick-knacks). She also provides an order of action; discard first, store later. The goal behind this method is to turn reducing clutter and organizing from a chore into a one-time (or more if needed in the much later future) event approached with determination and enthusiasm. If you follow this simple but precise method, you will never have to repeat the process for a very long time.

Of course, not everyone will agree with her tips or even the order of tidying up altogether. Even Kondo knows about that as she wrote in the last few chapters of the book. I find many of her tips useful while others are either unnecessary or inapplicable to my current house situations. According to her clients and even the official reviewers from the New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other notable publications, her KonMari Method did not just apply to re-organizing your house, but also applies to re-organizing your life. How exactly? You’ll just have to pick up a copy, even in eBook format, and you be the judge.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up also has a companion book called Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. This companion book presents illustrations of the KonMari Method for those who are having trouble following instructions with text alone. Also, there is also a three-year journal that you may purchase called Life-Changing Magic: A Journal – Spark Joy Everyday, if you want to record of all the things, and moments, you decided to organize.

I am not much of a journal fan, but I have purchased the companion book for the Kindle. I will delve deeper into the companion book, but I will save that for a future review.

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About Adrianne M. P.

A digital designing freelancer based in the San Francisco Bay Area who not only creates cool things on the web, but also loves to write from fiction to articles and general blogging. A loyal NaNoWriMo novelist and an advocate for fast and optimized websites, she is a major fan of an eclectic hodgepodge of interests that are not usually in the mainstream. Other than writing and designing, she also loves to read, listen to various music types (except for country and heavy metal--- she doesn't know why but she has a hard time getting into them) and is often seen walking around the streets with headphones on, food and tea. Her aim as a Blogcritics writer is to introduce a variety of products and interests that may not be considered "in the general mainstream," something like indie music, trends that are popular at other countries but not in the U.S., and the likes. She loves to write reviews for anything, but primarily towards books, some movies and TV shows, and in some cases, food.