Author: Marie Kondo
Series: Magic Cleaning #1
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
First Published: October 14, 2014
Genres: Self Help
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
I’m not entirely sure of what I expected when I got into this book, I had heard about the author after she had become an international sweetheart with the debut of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It seemed like I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about the show and the KonMari method, and being in a point in my life where I wanted to cut down on the stuff that I had in preparation for moving, I decided why not?
“But 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.”
The two essential pieces of wisdom that Kondo advises readers are such: inspect each of your items and only keep that which sparks joy, and to tidy in one huge swoop to change your life. She provides a step by step guide on how to tidy thoroughly as well as offers advice on how to begin organizing and storing the items kept. The cleaning guru shares anecdotal stories about her youth, her experiences with clients, and the ways that she developed her method throughout the book.
When I first started reading I felt motivated, I had been separated for a few months and after moving in with family, all of the stuff that was in my old apartment was cluttering up the limited space I had at home and all of my furniture had been sitting in a storage unit for around a year. It was a drain on me financially and mentally, and so I decided that it was time to just cut my losses and give away, sell, or throw out as much as I could, which I did over the span of two weeks. Some of the advice that Kondo gives was helpful to me, particularly her advice about not feeling guilty about discarding things that I never used because it served it’s purpose already of giving me joy when I got it.
So I can attest that on some level, Kondo provides some sound advice to reconsider why we still own the things that we do. The keyword here though, is some. As much as I enjoyed some of the advice that she gave about rethinking what I had, there was just as much advice and other claims throughout the book that bordered on being ridiculous without any proof or scientific backing whatsoever. At one point she claims that tidying can help you lose weight and give you clearer skin and that it is better to leave kitchenware and sponges outside to dry because it will be disinfected better than simply drying it with a cloth or using a dish rack.
On top of these questionable claims, the book for a large part of it reads like a sales pitch, with constant mentions of how foolproof the KonMari method is and how the waitlist for her consulting business is proof of how successful it is. Some of Kondo’s personal stories also bordered on being neurotic and unhealthy, as she admits to throwing out her family’s belongings, bragging about how many bags of stuff she has thrown out, or claiming that she spends every moment thinking about tidying, ritually organizing, and talking to her possessions. It is clear that she has a public persona she is trying to create and uphold for her business, but there was a lot that just didn’t seem authentic.