Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up

Nonfiction by Marie Kondo.

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

I'd read a lot about this book in various sources; people said it was fantastic, wonderful, etc. I did not find it to be worth such a build-up, and it was not "life-changing" by any stretch, but it wasn't a bad little book at all. It's about organizing your home, which the author calls "tidying."

(By the way, I think that's a pretty good word, although we never use it much in American English. It's different from "cleaning," which would involve scrubbing and cleansing, but that's the word Americans would usually use. I'd say, for example, that I'm going to "clean up" the living room, but what I mean is that I'm going to pick things up and make the room look nice. I don't actually mean I'm going to get soap and a scrub brush and wash down the place, so really I SHOULD say "tidy up." Still, it sounds weird to me as an American. But I digress.)

Marie Kondo is an organizational expert in her native Japan, and I can see why she is successful. I mean, talk about a person who loves her work; this chick REALLY cares about "tidying."

She writes about how she used to tidy her house, including her siblings' rooms, just for fun when she was a child. (Did you catch the phrases "as a child" and "just for fun" in that sentence? Seriously.)

She also seems to identify a lot with the things she tidies. For example, she tells a story about a woman who rolled up her socks into tight balls, which, according to Marie, is the absolute WRONG way to do it. Think how unhappy the poor socks are, to be rolled up so tightly! We should, she says, fold things the way they naturally WANT to be folded.

I'm not making this up by the way. Like the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, Marie speaks for the clothes.

Joking aside, I felt like her techniques were pretty good ones, especially in that she advises getting rid of as much junk as possible. She also gives specific guidelines about what to keep and what to toss, which is helpful.

One thing I disagree with her strongly about, however, is what she says about tidying being a one-time chore. Marie insists that, once you have tidied, your house will magically stay that way forever. She claims that NONE of her previously slob-like clients have EVER relapsed back into messiness. She is sure that once you have your tidying done, you will easily and naturally return everything to its proper place after using it. No more worries!

Obviously this woman does not have children.

Update: 2/13/16 I read an article in People about Marie Kondo. Last year sometime she had her first baby, so he should be turning one year old pretty soon. This means that, coming up this summer, her little bundle of joy ought to be starting to wreak havoc on her tidy life. Forgive me a cruel chuckle at the thought. Bwahaha.

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