09 March 2015

Book review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

I've just read a wonderful book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Of course, I had to buy the book in its Kindle edition, because the whole idea of buying a physical book on decluttering would have been defeating the purpose! Being a very tidy person already, I wouldn't necessarily put it in the life-changing category, but it was an extremely good read, and it's inspired me to tidy my house even more!

The author of the book is Japanese, and I felt that reading the book put me into an almost zen-like state of calm, imagining a house with no clutter and tidy cupboards.

Some of the ideas, like the fact that your socks and tights need to rest when they are not in use, may seem a little crazy, but others appealed to me. The idea of greeting your house when you come in gives a sense of ceremony to arriving home, and using specific folding techniques makes laundry a meditative experience rather than a chore. Touching the items as you analyse your wardrobe makes you consider not just the look but the feel of them, and thanking the discards for their service makes the process of throwing them away seem less wasteful because you appreciate the value they had (even if that value was just the buzz that you got when you bought them). Overall, it's made my attidude to tidying change, and made me go into Japanese tea ceremony mode rather than whirling dervish mode!
I won't be taking some of her advice, like taking everything out of my handbag at the end of the day and placing them in their storage places around the house, but I can understand that it works for her as a coming home ritual. Nor will I be storing all items of the same type together, because I find that it works better for me to store certain things close to where they will be used. But I will be using some of the folding techniques, and having a good clear-out while I'm at it.

The main criterion Marie Kondo uses when deciding what to keep is whether something gives you joy. There are some items that I can see this working well for, like clothing and ornaments, but I'm not sure how good it is for things like toilet cleaner or dish cloths! But perhaps it's a case of always choosing the toilet cleaner or dish cloth that makes you most joyful, whether because of its colour or because it works particularly well. I was actually quite surprised that the lavender bags that had been languishing at the bottom of my underwear drawer made me smile, and now they are proudly displayed on top, making me smile every time I open the drawer.

The only problem with the book was that I got so inspired to start decluttering immediately, and I did so without getting to the part of the book where she tells you the best order in which to tidy your house! I've already done some of the kitchen cupboards, and now I've started on my clothes. 

I very rarely re-read books, but this is one that I do plan to read again, and take notes on the bits that particularly inspired me. 

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