Marie Kondo is back in the news, having launched a store on her website that sells her favorite things. I don’t want to go into the seeming incongruity of that. But it seems like a good time to re-run my 2015 review of the book that launched her success. You might also be interested in this post, where I describe trying out her system and this review of her Netflix show, which I did enjoy.
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo? She’s the Japanese “tidying consultant” whose book has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
I initially resisted reading it because I was irked by all the attention it had garnered. (It has received loads of media attention, as well as bestseller status.) But a couple of people mentioned that the advice in the book echoed much of what I write about, so I thought I’d better check it out. I was also intrigued by how it seemed to really prompt people to take action.
I bristled as I read the first couple of chapters, because the author spoke in absolutes with a “my way or the highway” attitude. She basically said that if you follow her method you will succeed and never backslide. And if you deviate from her method you’re pretty much doomed to failure.
My clients know that I don’t speak in such absolutes and that I’m all for custom, not cookie-cutter, solutions.
But I kept reading. And as I read, I found myself nodding along at many of her ideas. I’m not necessarily thrilled with the directive way they’re expressed (which could be attributed to culture differences or simply the translation), but I saw truth in much of what she wrote. For example:
She and I deviate on a few points as well. For example, I don’t agree with these points:
I also felt like some of her advice, while viable for her clients living in small spaces in Japan, might not be realistic for many of my clients’ larger homes. For example, she advocates storing all like items in one area, not spreading them throughout the house. In a 5,000 square foot home, it doesn’t make much sense to me to have all your pens, for example, in one desk.
All that aside, there’s one thing I can say for this book: It does spark action. I read it on an airplane and was itching to get home to do some decluttering as soon as I finished it. I’m looking forward to trying out some of her methods, and even exploring her uber-simple paper organizing method (papers to be acted on and papers to be saved; the latter is divided into two subcategories, infrequently used papers and more frequently used papers). She made me want to discard all the old seminar notes that are cluttering up my bookshelf—because it’s true; I never look at them.
And I can’t wait to try out her signature question, “Does this item spark joy?” during the decluttering process in my own home. I’m back from my trip and today I’m going to give Marie Kondo’s advice (which she has named “the KonMarie Method”) a shot. My home is in need of some decluttering attention, so it’s the perfect chance to give it a try.
I’ll blog about the results on Thursday!