I'm one of those people that feels like her house is an unorganized, messy disaster, approximately five minutes after cleaning it. Between the two hairy, perpetually shedding dogs and the baby-tornado, my hard work is constantly being undone. We've also lived in our home for almost four years now, so I'm starting to feel like it's time to hunker down and clean out closets and drawers. I had heard a lot about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, so I thought I'd use it to draw some inspiration. In reality? It mostly made me laugh.
Marie Kondo, the professional Japanese organizer, is intense. And apparently, she has been since she was a wee one, scouring home magazines at the age of five. She'd also set her alarm to get up before her family did in order to pursue her totally-age appropriate passion of cleaning. She opted to not go to recess and stayed inside to help her teachers get their classrooms into shape. She had quite the internal dialogue, too, conversing with herself about "rebound cleaning" and throwing out family members' belongings.
Organizing, Not Cleaning
This book is strictly about organizing, so if you're hoping how to make your windows sparkle or your grout gleam, this book is not for you. The two are tied together, though- a house in order is simply easier to keep clean.
Throw it Out. Now.
This I am pretty much on board with, although I think her policies about books are harsh (as in I mean I instantly thought she was a "stupid illiterate book-hater" when I read that section). I also wasn't a fan about her insensitive opinions on photographs and other nostalgic items (she's a bit of an ice queen, I think). In general, though, I love to throw things out- I hate "stuff." She raises a lot of good points about shredding paperwork, ditching old manuals, and tossing things you simply don't use or have forgotten existed.
Find Joy, Guys
When trying to decide what to keep and what to toss, you need to simply "take the object in your hand and ask: 'Does this spark joy?'" (Kondo, 41). I decided to ponder this question with some of my own household items:
Dress the Part
Kondo usually wears a dress and blazer to organize, because "tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for those things that will be departing from the house " (189). If you really must slum it up, you may wear an apron, if it's absolutely necessary.
Thank Your Inanimate Objects
Make sure to appreciate your belongings (good point), but to also "treat [your] items like they're alive" by thanking them, aloud, every day (169). When putting your purse away, Kondo suggests telling it, "It's thanks to you that I got so much work done today" (169). She then provides a delightful anecdote about the first time she had to replace a cell phone, when she was a teenager. After buying the new phone she texted the old one a thank you message, and it promptly died the next day. It just new.
This book is hilarious, but it's also motivating. Kondo is a bit eccentric, but my god I bet her home is immaculate and functional. She's passionate and practical. I didn't really learn anything from it (although she did instruct us on how to fold our socks and what sort of boxes can be used in drawers), but it did light a fire under my butt to get moving around my house.