Book Corner: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author(s): Marie Kondo
Pages: 224
Year: 2014
Apple Books Link

I will admit that I still have not finished watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, although I do watch some every now and then. To be honest, I really enjoyed Marie Kondo’s explanations, as well as her rapport with her translator, but (no offense!) I wasn’t terribly interested the life stories of the people she was helping out. So, I decided to pick up her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and give it a read.

For context, I am generally a pretty neat and organized person. In general, my parents never had to ask me to clean my room as a child; except, perhaps, when I was being annoying and they needed to distract me for a while. That being said, my girlfriend contends that while I keep my living spaces neat and orderly, the contents of drawers are often messy and unorganized. It’s something I have been working on, and, luckily, something that this book goes into great depth about.

I’ve spoken to some people who started watching Marie Kondo’s show, but were turned away by the spiritual aspects of it, such as meditatively saying “thank you” to items before you discard them. For 90% of the book, Kondo gives pretty secular advice about tidying, but she does go into depth about her spirituality toward the end.

For what it’s worth, having studied about Shinto spiritualism as a part of a major as an undergraduate, I am perhaps a bit more more tolerant than many are. I personally don’t find it to be a particularly useful tool when I am organizing and tidying, but after hearing her explain it on her own terms, I think it could be more useful than many people give it credit for.

Much of the advice I had discovered on my own throughout the years, and other parts weren’t especially relevant to me. But there definitely are a number of good concepts that I will be employing in my own life.

One difference between Marie Kondo’s style and many U.S.-based self-help “gurus” is their attitude: whereas Marie Kondo only wants to help people who seek to improve their tidiness, many “gurus” make absurd generalizations and implore readers that everyone must follow their advice to live a complete life. Needless to say, I preferred Kondo’s methods. I’d recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a starting off point for anyone trying to clean.

Oh, one more thing – there’s a myth that Marie Kondo said that people should only have 30 books. She didn’t. And after reading the part in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up where she mentions the “30 books” thing, I find it hard to believe that someone in good faith could really misinterpret what she was saying.