Browsing Netflix, I came across Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up. I’m kind of a sucker for a home makeover show, so I decided to give it a try. And it didn’t hurt that I’m doing the Book2Screen Challenge, and I realised there was also a book I could read…
I have to say, while Tidying Up is a little silly and quite corny, it’s also a lot of fun. And strangely inspiring! I got some great tips for organising and folding, and people genuinely did seem to improve their lives by sorting out their houses. Marie Kondo is a complete delight: sweet, patient, funny, and genuinely seems to care about her clients. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the show.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that my partner had the exact opposite reaction. He declared he couldn’t stand it – and voluntarily did laundry in order to get out of watching it. Just saying… Whatever way you look at it, she may be on to something…
Author: Marie Kondo | Publisher: Penguin
Since I really enjoyed the show, I was super excited to pick up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. And, since this book is somewhere between a self-help and a how to, I decided that the only way to properly review it was to use it… Yep, I decided to tidy my house! It’s only fair to judge a self-help / how to book on its effectiveness, right? And it all seemed so inspiring on the show…
At first glance, I’ll admit, Magic of Tidying is a little “hokey”. Folding things transmits energy to the clothes… The Japanese are somehow predisposed to fold clothes into a rectangle…
Some of my favourite “hokey” moments:
Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type and therefore organising them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.
I’m not sure if she’s personifying the clothes, or making an argument for segregation… Either way, it makes me a little uncomfortable…
Have you had the experience where you thought what you were doing was a good thing but later learned that it had hurt someone?… This is somewhat similar to the way many of us treat our socks.
Is it though…?
Lines that slope up to the right make people more comfortable.
I’m going to put these all down to difficulties with translation, because otherwise it’s just too strange and I’m in danger of not being able to take the book seriously.
Some of the advice was also just more helpful than others. For example,
Once you’ve experienced the freedom of a life without surplus stock, you won’t want to give it up and will naturally stop stockpiling. My clients tell me that now life is more fun because when they run out of something they enjoy seeing how long they can last without it or trying to substitute other things.
I should point out, the examples of stockpiling she gave involved toilet paper, cotton buds, and toothbrushes. I don’t think anyone enjoys trying to find a substitute for toilet paper… We’ve all been there…
While I wasn’t entirely convinced by every single piece of advice, and some of it was just plain bizarre, there’s actually some good advice to be found in The Magic of Tidying. It does make sense to do one big tidy up, rather than doing a bit every day; to take everything out and look at it when you have a clear out, and to have that clear out before you start organising; and to work on tidying in categories, rather than by room. Her storage solutions and process do make sense. I can’t argue with any of that.
So how did it go when I Marie Kondo’d my own house? The big question: does it work?
First off, I was a good student and followed (most of) the rules. I pulled everything out and touched it, held it, decided if it “brought me joy” when I was clearing out, and I worked by category.
I didn’t have a lot of trouble parting with clothing. Despite feeling like I don’t have that much clothing, I ended up filling three bin bags with stuff that’s either ripped and no longer usable, or I just don’t love / wear anymore. It was surprisingly easy to determine what “brought me joy”. And so far, I don’t miss any of it.
My partner was quite sceptical and, although he said he would give the process a go, he drew the line at emptying out his wardrobe. However, he did slip some ripped jeans into my bags later – so I’m calling that one a win. Marie’s obviously right, you don’t need to nag people to clean, if they see you doing it, they will eventually join in!
Plus, after folding everything using Marie’s method, everything is much tidier and easier to find.
I have to say, I strongly disagree with Marie’s method when it comes to books. I think a lot of us bookworms would…
First off, all books “bring me joy”. Even the really crap ones. I like looking at books, I like the smell of them, and I love being surrounded by them. Many of them, I would consider more as friends than possessions…
And I’m building a library here. Aren’t we all? And it’s not just for me! My partner and friends dip into my shelves from time to time, to find something to borrow. I love that. I wouldn’t be doing this blog if I didn’t love recommending books.
A library is about more than just hoarding books. When I have children, I want them to have constant access to a wide array of books in different genres, styles, and on every subject under the sun. I hope they love reading as much as I do, and some of my fondest memories involve growing up in a house filled with books.
She also says that if you’re holding on to books that you haven’t read, you should just get rid of them. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me. I definitely will get round to reading most of them – I always do! Plus, when I’m looking for a new book to read, I like having options…
So, I employed a slightly different process when it came to my books. I got rid of anything which was:
(a) either so terrible I couldn’t finish it, and therefore wouldn’t recommend, or
(b) which I haven’t read, and I know I definitely won’t, because I was given it as a gift, got it for free, or bought it in a moment of trying to be smarter than I actually am.
Books were harder than clothes, for sure. But I’m glad it did it. I think my little library is definitely better for the clean out. And now I have plenty of space for new books!
I have three categories left to go, but I’m feeling positive about it. I can see why the method works, and I am, strangely, quite enjoying the clearing out and organising process!
All in all, I would definitely recommend the book if you feel a bit stuck in a rut, you’re looking for a way to move forwards, or, more obviously, you really do need to tidy up your house. It seems to me, the process works. Whether or not it’s actually “life changing”… Well, I’ll wait and see. So, if you can ignore all the complete nonsense Marie spouts, you might actually find it useful.