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Lighting review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


All done! Marie Kondo‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is now on my ‘completed’ list. I know we’re a week into February so technically I’m behind, but this counts as the first of my non-fiction books for 2016.

This book ties nicely into my recent posts about decluttering and minimalism, and contains some tips that will help.

Highlights of the book include:

  • Specific recommendations for how to go about tidying, including method (category rather than location), criteria (only keep things you love), and storage (keep things where you can see them)
  • Suggestions for clothing; books; papers; and even that beast of decluttering, sentimental items.
  • Valuable insights on why we keep things (this part, in the last portion of the book, was one of the most important sections for me)

Some portions felt a little hokey for my tastes, including instructions to:

  • Ask your items where they wish to be stored
  • Thank your purse at the end of the day
  • Greet your house when you get home.

But even this, which I am unlikely to carry through to the extent she describes, can be useful. Store items in a place that suits them; don’t stuff your purse full and leave it like that 24/7; be grateful for your home and don’t take it for granted.

But, even if you don’t feel the need to go to the extreme end of greeting your possessions, it’s still a valuable insight to realize that each item in your home should have its own place and purpose. And (for me at least) the practical suggestions, combined with the “why we keep things” paragraphs, make the book well-worth reading.

When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.

You’ll begin to see a pattern in your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories: an attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future, or a combination.

It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life.

Other people’s thoughts* on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

*Although there are more positive reviews here, I find them valuable because they are more thoughtful and reasonable; the last author seems to think there are no lessons to be learned because she doesn’t agree with EVERYTHING Kondo writes)

Got any thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


4 thoughts on “Lighting review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  1. hey Jenna: Well, I’ve not read the book, and perhaps I should! I’m absolutely terrible at tidying! Most of the time I just kinda sit and stare at the stuff, not having a real idea of how to proceed and then get completely overwhelmed by the smallest of papers as I read them and try to figure out what to do with them!

    Funny what having a professional cleaner as a girlfriend does in one’s life! Imelda has completely re-energized my living space, and I would now HIGHLY recommend that one spends a few bucks to do this once or twice per year.

    She doesn’t ask what this or that is, she just finds a place for it! Surfaces get cleaned, stacks are created and suddenly I have counter and floor space I never had before AND they get a cleaning like they haven’t had for a long time!

    Keep in mind that she has done something that I totally have not been able to do myself for the last 10 years, and it shows!

    I’m sure with the right training anyone could do these things and it is my hope that you have the same “WOW” moment when you hang up that dust rag as I did!

  2. I think that relationship stuff that you quoted is some of the best stuff in the book- no matter what method you use to declutter, you’ve got to wrap your head around this if you are going to make a real change in your household.
    I found it a good, quick & easy read. It was thought provoking but also provided some laughs. My full thoughts are here –
    I must confess I haven’t been brave enough to implement the system yet – all though simple things like storing things so they are easy to put away is a simple thing I have been putting into practice.

    • Not going to lie, I haven’t implemented the whole system yet either – although I did toss a bunch of clothing. It’s been my goal for a while to have a wardrobe comprised solely of items I love (my criteria are looking AWESOME on me and/or being super comfy), so reading her book gave me a good kick in the pants to get rid of some things I’d been keeping because I wanted them to work for me 🙂

  3. Pingback: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: round 2 (time for action) | jennasday

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