The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

So. It has come to this.

I have accepted that I am not going to finish this book. I am not going to spend six months individually handling every item in my house contemplating whether it brings me joy; though in all seriousness that does seem like a really brilliant way to declutter your life and downsize your belongings. Well, mostly brilliant. I remain unconvinced that my tube socks are suffering from not being stored like sushi rolls. Typically I ignore screaming from my sock drawer anyways, so nothing has changed there. Furthermore I staunchly believe that filing personal records needs to be more complex than “use a lot” and “don’t use much.” Taxes, people. Revenue Canada wants you to keep those things for eight years. Immunization records. If you’re keeping eight years of tax information for two adults in the same folder with health care information for a family of four, along with service records for your car, the mortgage agreement for your house or the rental agreement for your condo, and any other legal odds and ends a group of people often accrue, how are you supposed to find the individual sheet you’re looking for? This goes against every (organizational) thing I stand for!

That being said, if you are feeling stuck in your life and in need of a major overhaul, this book could give you the direction you need. Contrary to the title, it’s not about changing your life by tidying up. It’s more about figuring out exactly what you want to have in your life, and jettisoning whatever doesn’t fit. Clothes you don’t like wearing, books you don’t want to read, knickknacks you don’t like, a job that makes you miserable. For Kondo’s method to really be effective, you have to be ready to sit down and think about what you want your life to look like. You’ll need the spare time and will power to stand in silence (no you may not have music playing in the background, and god forbid you be watching a movie), handling each individual piece of clothing you own, intuiting whether or not this particular thing brings you joy. And after you have gone through all of your clothing you can move on to your books and papers. Then knickknacks. Mementos are last. Yes, she includes photographs. Getting rid of photographs because they don’t bring you joy is an intimidating thought. Especially since Kondo says that you should just throw away whatever you don’t want. Don’t give it to friends or family. You will only be contributing to their clutter. Don’t let the people who share your household see what you are disposing of, they will panic when they see how much stuff you are getting rid of and feel compelled to keep some of it, contributing to their own clutter. I picture devotees of the Kondo method sorting in the dark of night, stealthily carting bags of their unloved possessions to the curb for trash pickup. Can’t let the others see. The Gollums of the sorting world.

If you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this too could be you!

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