The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Advice on how to live clutter free.
Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo set off a decluttering craze across the world with her pocket-sized book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. After reading the book, it’s easy to see why. This book can transform the way you see your possessions.
Over the years, I’ve read countless books and articles on decluttering, getting organized, and living a more minimalist life. They’ve all helped in some way, but just like crash diets don’t lead to lasting weight loss, these guides have only led to short stints of clutter freedom for me. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a different kind of self-help book. Although it offers practical advice for cleaning out your home and storing your stuff properly, the book is more about a philosophy of owning things. (In fact, it’s the #1 bestseller on Amazon in the Zen Philosophy Category, which is quite impressive when you think about it.
If you have ever struggled to let go of a memento or a gift, even though you just know that it would help you to feel more free, or if you are tired of your possessions owning you, or if you’ve ever considered hiring a personal organizer, this book will benefit you. Kondo’s “KonMari” method is at times extreme, and while her writing is charming and funny, the advice is quite zany sometimes. (E.g., “thank your socks as you roll and put them away” or “think of your bras as having souls.”) If you are willing to just go with it and let Kondo into your mind, so to speak, you’ll likely find this is the book that pushes you from “wanting to declutter” to actively tidying as a path to a more serene home. Remember that it is tidying as a philopshy, not just something that “has to be done”.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up covers why we have such a hard time keeping our homes clutter-free and how to discard things by category. It’ll even give you a glimpse of how your life will be transformed after your tidying marathon session. Just like David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity book and method have changed many people’s productivity, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up provides both a strategy and a way of thinking about the stuff we own.
The one thing you’ll hopefully get from this book is a desire to get rid of the things that don’t make you happy(shouldn’t this be the point of Life in general??). Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is like having a consultation with a psychologist who specializes in clutter detox and who will convince you by the end of the session to really want less stuff.
The KonMari method is also an extreme makeover: You’re supposed to do your entire home at once. This might be possible for some, but if you have a multi-person household with several floors of rooms to cover, it’s just unrealistic. It is okay to pace yourself.
This book is less about how to organize or purge your things (although it does offer guidance on both) than it is about learning how to let go of them. Clearly it’s become a kind of cult classic because it really drives home how we’d be happier with fewer things. Getting to that realization with a quirky personal organizer by your side (so to speak) is pretty life-changing.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is available for about $10 on Kindle and hardcover as well as in Audible audiobook format. This would be a great gift for yourself or for that person you know would love to get their homes and their lives decluttered.