Review The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Change your relationship with stuff and finally kick the clutter habit!
I will àdmit to hàving à torturéd rélàtionship with stuff. I gréw up in à cluttéréd housé ànd màrriéd thé King of Cluttér (hé's thé typé of pérson who'll opén à crédit càrd bill, pày it onliné, ànd thén just léàvé thé émpty énvélopé, insérts, ànd bill itsélf ràndomly stréwn on whàtévér surfàcé hàppéns to bé néàrby). I don't liké thé disordér of cluttér, but déàling with it is such à soul-sucking éxpériéncé thàt I hàvén't gottén véry fàr. Màny dàys I sémi-wish thé wholé plàcé would burn down ànd sàvé mé from hàving to déàl with it.
Typicàlly I'll càtch àn épisodé of Hoàrdérs, féàr thàt I'm oné incàpàcitàting injury àwày from béing thé focus of àn épisodé (if I càn't cléàn up àll thosé stréwn pàpérs, théy'll just pilé up to thé ràftérs, àftér àll!), ànd thén go through à stàck of junk in à fit of unhàppinéss. Not thé bést wày to déàl with it àll.
Màrié Kondo's book is thé opposité of thàt. It's à bréàth of frésh àir ànd positivé énérgy thàt brings réàl joy to thé procéss of "tidying up."
I wàs only àbout hàlfwày through béforé I tàckléd my clothés. Shé's right to bégin théré. My clothés àré àll miné (which àlso méàns thàt théy'ré in nowhéré néàr às térriblé à stàté às othér things in my housé), so going through thém àffécts only mé ànd involvés only my own féélings. Hér àdvicé mày sound silly àt first, but if your bélongings inspiré féélings of unhàppinéss, guilt, étc., hér ànthropomorphism of thém càn réàlly hélp you chàngé your viéwpoint in à positivé diréction. I finishéd up with thréé bàgs for Goodwill ànd oné for thé gàrbàgé màn. My dràwérs ànd closét, which wéré névér véry méssy, àré now éxàctly às I wànt thém, ànd I féél fàntàstic!
My oné quibblé with hér instructions hàs to do with folding. I'vé àlwàys dislikéd rolls of itéms. Instéàd, I fold so I càn liné things up liké filés. This màkés it éàsy to pull things out without évérything fàlling ovér. For my fivé-yéàr-old, I fold his t-shirts so thé front imàgé is visiblé on thé fold, thén filé thém in thé dràwér so hé càn séé éxàctly which shirt is which. (Héré's àn éxàmplé: [...]) This works wéll for socks às wéll às t-shirts, pàjàmàs, étc.
Most of hér àdvicé ànd contént is réàlly focuséd on à Jàpànésé àudiéncé. Théré àré màny things in thé book thàt won't trànslàté às wéll culturàlly for à Wéstérn/àméricàn réàdérship. For éxàmplé, shé suggésts thàt you gréét your homé much às you would à Shinto shriné. Thàt is likély to càrry à différént lévél of méàning for soméoné in Jàpàn thàn in thé U.S. Othér référéncés to spirituàl pràcticé ànd féng-shui àré not likély to résonàté thé sàmé wày for àn àméricàn àudiéncé. I évén wondér if thé préféréncé for rolling clothés is culturàl, sincé I hàvé such à strong réàction àgàinst it ànd instéàd préfér folding ànd filing!
Thé éxàmplés in thé book àlso ténd towàrd thé childléss fémàlé. Théré is à lot of discussion of tràvél toilétriés, but véry littlé àbout kitchén uténsils, toys, or othér itéms found most oftén in à fàmily homé. Thé homé workshop, which is à pàrticulàr problém in my homé, géts no méntion àt àll. Don't Jàpànésé péoplé own countléss drills, boxés of scréws, ànd éléctricàl tàpé?
But thé réàson for réàding this book is not thé spécific àdvicé àbout t-shirts ànd cupboàrds. It's àbout chànging your rélàtionship with thé stuff you own. Thé toné of hér book is so upbéàt ànd positivé, it's inféctious. It's hàrd to kéép réàding it to thé énd, bécàusé you wànt to jump up ànd stàrt using hér méthods immédiàtély. I hàd littlé troublé àdjusting hér suggéstions to màtch my own culturàl pérspéctivé ànd physicàl homé.
In thé book shé méntions thàt it'll tàké 6 months to fully tidy your homé so thàt évérything léft inspirés joy. I'm now à wéék in, ànd 6 months sééms liké hàrdly énough timé to tàcklé àll thé junk in my housé, but I càn fully séé how this càn bé à lifé-chànging procéss.
Comments on Review The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Change your relationship with stuff and finally kick the clutter habit!
J. Mathews says:
...about those books...my act-alike husband has so many there isn't any wall space in the house left for a picture!
J. Mathews says:
I am most of the way through this book and already planning how many copies to buy for friends and relatives. I know it might not click for everyone, but it does for me, in spite of the author's oddities and her seemingly wacky convictions. I think I'll post a real review when I'm done with some of the actual work, though.
I disagree. My boyfriend is loving it. I think it speaks to single men as well as single women. (In particular they mention that you shouldn't use your parents house as a storage unit. Shot through his heart right there.)
l lived in Japan for 16 years in a small space, like most every Japanese. Living in a small space like that deters one from buying too much because you really have to consider, "Where am I going to put that book?" (This could explain why the Japanese economy has been in the doldrums for 20 + years - they simply don't have the space Americans do to store purchases.) That being said, when I cleaned out the apartment where my family and I had lived for a decade it took days and days even with the help of a Japanese mother-in-law because of the amount of clutter literally crammed into every available space. And this is how most Japanese live: small spaces crammed with possessions. And the book reflects the audience. Shinto shrines are still as sparse as Japanese houses were before Japanese became consumers. The Japanese have a cultural context that Americans generally don't: how to live simply, elegantly, yet well.
M. F. Gibbon says:
Thanks. Great review and p.s. -- your folding and filing technique you mention is also my long standing favorite
Lisa Edwards says:
Your first paragraph. ..I think we married in the same family!!
Since it is so difficult to let go of stuff, I too, have often thought that that the possibility of my house burning down would give me a fresh start! When I really want to get a burst of energy I drink a strong cup of coffee while watching Hoarders.....if that doesn't give you a kick in the butt, I don't know what would.....I am definitely purchasing a copy of Marie Kondo's book! Loved your review!
Cindy L. Nielsen says:
Even though I live alone, it still feels daunting to face clutter, especially with a chronic illness. I can't imagine what it must feel like to live with someone (another adult) who won't take responsibility for their own actions. But I do know I wouldn't be cleaning up after them. That would be exhausting - and it's kind of like being an enabler...
If you feel responsible for your husband's (or even grown children's) clutter, then perhaps one of the books on codependency would be a helpful addition (Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody, Codependent No More by Melody Beattie). We're not responsible for other adults. You're his wife - his equal - not his (unpaid) servant.
All the best with the rest of the clearing. Six months seems like a truly overwhelming project to me!
This is also precisely the technique Kondo details in the book, so it's strange the reviewer missed it. Kondo discusses folding/filing at length.
Oh my. How well I relate well to your review. My husband is a "stacker", meaning that he never throws a piece of mail away but places it in a pile. When the stacks get too high and fall over, or when we are going to have company, he scoops everything up and puts it in a bin. Then the bin goes into a closet. "Not really a bad idea", you say? I can see where you might be tempted to think that way. But the truth of it is that he then begins the process over again when the first bin is full and now we have bins stacked on top of bins. All the closets are full. Futhermore, he can't find the bills because they are in one of those many bins. I have tried picking up the mail and sorting the garbage mail out and into the trash bin before he sees it. Well that works a smidgen but there are still volumes of professional mail that he gets that I cannot discard. I have tried to sort through it and file it which usually provokes WW III. We have credit card bill receipts from years and years ago. I have resorted to sneaking in and snatching a handful of old paid bill receipts when he's not at home. After all, we pay the bills on line so we have proof of payment.
He really is a good fellow but the stacking drives me mad!
L. J. says:
My husband does the exact same thing! He even moves the stacks to the closet, just like yours. And the bills from years and years ago! Why? Why oh why do we need our electric bills from 2012? If you ever figure out a solution, let me know. :)
How do you get your HUSBAND to read this book ?! Mine grew up in a cluttered home (bordering hoarder), and it took the first 25 years of our marriage for me to realize (duh!) the MESSY/HOARDING looks NORMAL to him. He thinks I'm overly picky to object to his keeping a receipt for an oil change for three years, pens that don't work or hundreds of sheets of unsolicited address labels. In contrast, I was taught to empty, sort, and clean out drawers, cupboards, closets, desks, twice a year and to constantly edit possessions, tools, utensils, equipment, household goods...e.g. if you buy two new towels, cut two old ones up for rags, etc. I'm assuming "life-changing magic of de-cluttering" involves a degree of psychology; does the author address motivating a partner to be tidy ??
Michelle Falconer says:
Ramona Eastwood says:
I can totally relate to your feelings/attitude about having "so much stuff" -- it weighs on my mind that my husband, his sister and one of my sons will end up going through my stuff, junk and "special treasures." disposing of them "all wrong" and not as I would have liked. It seems obvious to me that he "solution" is for me to allocate what goes to whom, but what a daunting task!
Why don't you offer to take over paying the bills. Then you could file/discard them as you please.
Get yourself a box of manila folders and hanging folders and a simple plastic container to hang the folders in. Purge every two years or whatever your needs are.
K. Mangan says:
Thank you so much for your thorough and honest review. I am in a similar position (husband does the same thing with trash and stuff; I have worried about our own hoarding tendencies; though I am neater than he is, I am also messy and just feel so overwhelmed, I have no idea where to begin). Your honest and positive review has convinced me to look into this book and has given me hope that I can do something about it. Thank you!
E. Thompson says:
In an interview she clarified that the "6 months" timeline:
"Well, six months is actually the record number for a client (longest duration). But basically, the lessons say to work about 5 hours per day, but if you can take more than 5 hours every day, you can probably go much faster, and finish much sooner."
Lauren Ligouri says:
Loved the review, it was my incentive to buy the book.
Burning down the house...my thoughts exactly. I have often wondered if the relief would outweigh the loss;)
Nice review, very well written! I also thought that she meant we should roll all of our clothes in drawers, and I tried that method for a week. Then I saw a video of her folding method and I realized she was folding and filing just like in the photo you linked to. I refolded all of my clothes in drawers that way, and you are right, it is much more practical. Here's a video of Marie Kondo folding with your method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7Lk6WOM7Y
Your husband is ME!! I too have bins and grocery sacks and any handy container full of important papers that I'll never see again and magazines that I'll never read. It's also infuriating to me, and I'm the one who does it. It also means all the laundry baskets are full of things other than laundry. I mostly do it when people are coming over, and then I think, It looks so nice like this! Why don't I keep it this way for myself? Then I definitely leave all the stuff hidden away until it leaves my mind completely, and then it's pretty much gone forever. I'm going to buy this book and hope that it makes a difference. Thanks for sharing. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one.
Wallaby, You just did not understand the book. Maybe you should find another one that you can relate to. I will agree that some things were a little strange, but I found this book to be a tremendous help to me. I took what I could use, followed her methods and am extremely pleased with the results. In fact, I plan to read it again.
OMG! ME! Those first two paragraphs sound like I wrote them! I have your husband's counterpart, btw...and he INSISTS on having PAPER bills in hand (better yet--piled in his car, on the counter, in boxes in the shed) vs going paperless...where all's filed neatly in his inbox! Even my 81-yo dad was finally making the transition before he passed, rest his sweet soul...WHAT GIVES!?
And Sunnybrook--that's us. BOXES full. The kids and I were loading up stuff to take to the dump, and we put them all in there. I think seeing them all in one place struck a chord...but they still came back home so he could 'go through them'!
I think a controlled burn may be the answer--can you do one of those indoors?! ;>
B Aiello says:
Thank you so much for your review. It was informative, well-written and addressed how this book could help me. I also have tons of paper clutter and rarely open my mail. I used to be so tidy and organized and then my Mother passed away in March of 2011 and I stopped doing everything! Even my morning rituals/habits. It was only in the 4th Quarter of 2014 that I was able to start getting back to those AM routines. But now I'm so overwhelmed when I decide to go through that tremendous amount of paper I'm apoplectic. And many times I just want to put everything in the middle of the floor and burn all that paper!!!
In addition, I'm trying to get ready for a move; I'm sure you can only imagine. I've decided I need to hire someone to help me, but wanted to get this book in order to keep up after all the initial organizing is done. Again EB thanks for your concise and useful review.
Spud's Place says:
So many of your comments really resonated with me. It is discouraging to clean up after my hubby's bill-paying and have the area completely overlaid with some new detritus from a repair or his idea of reorganizing, that I have all but given up. In every other way he's a keeper and I regularly fall in love with him all over again. So I let this slide...but it permeates everything domestically.
How do you feel about this process now that you are six months into it? Is it working for you?
I agree with the previous comment. You must be an author yourself.
Spud's Place says:
B Alello, what a year you have had! My condolences on the loss of your mother. It is a life changing event on many levels.
I spent 2014 in a daze. I never developed those morning routines, other than getting up before the sun to get to work. I worked for my local PD and was exhausted. I quit my job, tried to start a business, and had so many projects I wanted to do...things I had been saving up for years. I couldn't get anything finished that I started. I just had a new pile of clutter. Then my darling mother-in-law died. I love her very much and miss her. She was so normal and good and funny.
Finally, I decided to give myself the year off. I ate better, slept a lot, gained too much weight and slowly began to take stock of my surroundings. I know not everyone has the luxury of doing this...I was old enough to retire and take SS, and my husband still works.
I've only just started to go through those old boxes of resumes, technical papers, and other very dusty stuff. Letting go of my work past; it was scary and freeing. I just focus on one box at a time.
Instead of lighting a match to the whole business I put all the paper that didn't have my social security number on it in a big recycling bag. I filled two. Just doing that one box gave me literally a new view of my room. I think I can do another one now. My hubby was really impressed and inspired himself. We are now making plans to rent a big dumpster for all his old crap and the rest of mine, as well as the garage. Hope to have it all done by June so we can clean!
I can't wait for this book to arrive! Just the title lit a little fire in my mind.
Good luck with your move and the future. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. It is very restful. ?:->
Martha Humphreys says:
Did we marry the same man?
K. J. Simon says:
So, my husband and I are the parents storing our daughter's stuff because she, EH and baby live in a 600 days ft or so in DC. While I'm shure it is temporary, it still may be years before they move. We don't have a basement, and garage is full. Any thoughts on how to peacefully get/give everything back to her and out of our family room? :-)
Oh I get that completely. My husband would never let a book go. However, I focus on the things I can change - there is enough caused by me :)
I'm reading reviews to decide whether or not to get the book. I was surprised that someone said you are supposed to work at this for 5 hours a day. That seems unrealistic to me. Have most of you been able to do that? And, I was wondering if the review writer, or anyone else, has successfully tidied up? Did it take 6 months or much longer? How much time were did you spend daily?
Five hours a day? I live in an apartment, granted; but the whole project (decluttering my entire place) took me about twenty hours over one week. And she is right (at least in my experience); once done, you never have to do it, again. So, twenty hours total. Done.
The idea, I think, is not to do "a little" each day because then you do not see progress, and it creates a logjam. So, when you have a nice chunk of time, to do the entire process and be cleared once and for all. And then live in sanity and your newly pristine place that reminds you of you and what and whom you love. :)
Thanks so much for your response. That makes much more sense!
Glad it helped! :)
Kindle Customer says:
i agree. i really do believe a home has a spirit. lived in one we did Not get along. now i Love my house! :)
Isn't that the best feeling? And it sounds like your house loves you right back. :) I agree: we are in relationship with our homes: one to be honoured.
Thank you for this reminder, today.
Miz Bee says:
G. Gough says:
Very much liked your review of the book. You were the only one that made the astute observation about it being, most likely, for a Japanese audience. I guessed that too, since in the first portion of the book it noted that it was translated.
The relationship the author has with her "items" from the emotions they illicit to how material things become re-energized when you take them from a shelf and hold and use them, is something I've always felt and never articulated for fear of being committed to an institution. So, I felt an odd kinship with the author.
I enjoyed the subtle humor of the author and appreciated your positive take on an unusually in-depth examination of a topic most would not give too much thought to.
My house did burn down 28 years ago (no one was harmed and we had insurance). Although traumatic, I did have a huge sense of relief from our stuff, particularly papers. Guess what? You can function without those seemingly important papers, the craft projects half-started, numerous stuffed animals and those clothes you might wear one day. It has been much easier to control my belonging since then. I do prefer and recommend Marie Kondo's method of decluttering.
Kelly D. says:
If you can start getting rid of things in your storage unit now. DO IT!!
I moved from an apartment to a room in a family members house. I kept saying I needed to keep everything because when I was ready to move again. I would need my couch, kitchen things, etc... Well, about 9 years later and $144 each and every month!!! I have not moved yet! And I can probably count on both hands the number of times I've been to my storage unit!! I kept saying I would go next week and start throwing things out. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet. I'm sure by now I could of purchased everything in there brand new if I needed it! And probably a lot of the things are out dated. Like furniture being way out dated, clothes,shoes, VHS movies and CD's!!! BUT Of course, I keep saying I can't get rid of the storage unit because of those things that I can absolutely NOT get rid of. It's soooooo frustrating! I hate that I have this sentimental attachment to almost all my belongings!!
It definitely makes life more cluttered and chaotic.
So, if you haven't done so already. I'd suggest doing your best to get rid of the storage. As hard as it will be. The longer you wait. The harder it gets!
Kindle Customer says:
I too love your review. It's now June 2015, when you wrote it you were 1 week into adapting the authors suggestions.....so how did it go? I would love an update. [BTW I also think you have a great writing "voice", are you an author?]
Best of luck with the cluttering -
Cindy Who says:
Great review! I especially appreciate your point that it is easy to adjust the suggestions to your own culture and home. I was wondering about that because of some of the other reviews I read.
Americans like their stuff and the cheaper it is (doesn't matter if it only lasts a fraction of the quality stuff) the more to get. I have a huge storage problem, but do not know if it is a clutter problem, yet.
I've got every power tool, manual tool, hobby and interests supplies and equipment that takes up a big footprint in two sheds and a garage. Everything gets used in home projects and helping to do others repairs, maintenance, etc. So too the outdoor gear. I am not quite sure that the book can help me, but I will see.
Kimberly Woolbright says:
Hubby is the same way. I have put a trash can next to his recliner, but apparently in his world the floor is the same as the trash can. As to his messy popcorn eating habit, I threatened to get chickens so they can pick up his crumbs.
Edna Espiritu says:
Oh my goodness! My husband is the same way. I hope that by purchasing the book and learning her tidying techniques and organization approaches, I can face my fear of letting go (of possessions), and, hopefully, I can model that behavior for my husband. Let's hope it works!
I think there are many of us in this same situation. Should we form an online support group? :-) We can all send each other good vibes for successful cleaning out of not only possessions, but attitudes and emotions that no longer serve us. It's a good thing to remember that there is strength in numbers!
Although I have my own issues, as he would no doubt point out. Books come into my house by the dozen, and then never leave. Shelves groan.
I can relate to that although the problem is me, not my husband in that regard. I did force myself to go through them and take many to the book seller or the thrift store. My new rule is that for every book that comes in, one must go out now. But it is painful.
My brother who had the same problem was finally motivated (ordered?) by his wife to get rid of books which were overwhelming them. His new rule is only hard backs, no paperbacks and that has helped as he is only going to spend the money on a hard back if he really wants it.
I trust that as you are going through this life-changing process you are keeping your husband? :-)
Darlene, every time I watch Hoarders I go on a cleaning spree. That show sure helps.
I have a problem with getting things filed, not nearly as bad as your husband but I do let it grow until I am overwhelmed. What I have gone to is a nice box labeled by the month. Everything for the month we are in goes there. When it is tax time, my husband will know where to look for what. Just a thought.
By the way, I have a friend whose husband is a neat freak except for paperwork. He still even has utility bills going back 30 years or more. There is no use for them. I don't even save credit card receipts anymore. It finally occurred to me that in 40 years, I have had only one charge that was different than the bill and it is not worth the effort. He has all of theirs ever. This is a mystery for an otherwise neat person but, at least, you are not alone.
Yo, no need to risk burning down your house, get a really good paper shredder.
Rent a storage locker, move her stuff into it and send her the monthly bills. Or, better yet, make her rent the locker so it is in her name. If she doesn't pay, they will auction all of it off. Or, if she doesn't pay you, let her know you won't pay the storage company and it will be auctioned off.
A little tough love is necessary sometimes. You raised her and have done your part. She is an adult. Make her act like one.
rita anderson says:
Your life sounds like my life!
Wow.....Did you grow up in my home, did we marry into the same DNA?!
I am not alone. Whew.
Am buying the book & hopefully someone else in this house reads it too!
A Gardener says:
Don't know if this response was tongue-in-cheek or serious, but the recommendations for codependency books as companions to this decluttering book gave me such a good laugh! Thanks!
How do you get clothes to stand on edge? The entire concept is bizarre.
oh my gosh the stacks and stacks of mail.....I'm a single female and meticulous with paper filing at work, but at home I am like your husband and my stacks of mail from the last two years are in 6 bins in the garage. I've been through them twice, shredding at least half of each bin, but still the mail comes in and piles up and gets added to the bins. I just can't seem to get a handle on it. So stressful. Does the book go into detail about this??
Hi, Sam. I don't know if this helps but many cities have a municipal shredding service. I just throw my mail and documents into a few bags, and go in about every six months. Where I live, the service is extremely reasonable: about five bags of mail costs about $20 to shred. Really worth the peace of mind!
Mandy G. says:
OMG! You have described my home, my husband and me! I saw a few YouTube videos that the author has made and it started me on a journey to find myself and the neat and tidy life I always lived before marrying! Since marrying, my house has been in chaos. I can't function in the midst of clutter and feel overwhelmed by the "stuff" we have covering every surface. Little by little, I'm making progress towards my goal of having a tidy home. I can't change my husband, but I can change me, and the KONDO METHOD will help me reach my goals. THANK GOD!
It's possible that she feels joy in things that are *practical and helpful* to have. If you can see it that way, then her method might become useful to you.
K. J. Simon,
Can she afford a storage unit? Or would you consider either getting one or sharing the cost with her for one?
Why are you sure it is temporary? Has it been less than one year?
If she *needs* these things, then why are they being stored in your house, and not at hers (I'm assuming you don't live very close)?
It's your house and it should serve your needs. Unless it's for one year or less, I'd strongly consider that the freedom to use your own home might be worth some arguments with your daughter.
Just some thoughts...feel free to ignore, if they don't suit your situation!
Oh, I can really relate to you. My dad & sister died in the same year, and then my grandmother died the following year. For at least 6 mos., I opened no mail except sympathy cards. I figured the bills could wait. Eventually, that passed. But my house is so out of control right now. I, too, am moving---which seems to be a blessing. The new house is so nice, so CLEAN and UNCLUTTERED, that I don't want to take anything that will 'ruin' it. Good luck to all of you. I've enjoyed the postings. Such a battle we fight.
Best review I've read in a long time ! You are so funny !getting the book now for sure , your a riot !
Kathleen Autrey says:
I hope things are going well for you. I have trouble keeping up with the mail as well. Your story touched me. Good luck to you. Hopefully you are moved and comfortable
Your last two sentences make such a nice haiku poem!
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! Aesop - Sam says:
Excellent review indeed, eb!
- a writer
Janet C. says:
I enjoyed reading your review. Now, it's Dec 2015, more than 6 months after you started using this book to fully tidy up your home. Did it work? Any problems?
I'm not eb but I did buy the book with excellent intentions/hope. And no, it did NOT work. I did do one thing she suggested, and that was to try rolling up clothes instead of folding. Rolling does take up less room, and you can actually see which items are available to choose. But I stopped with three drawers, though definitely not intending to stop. But it requires that you decide what to keep and what to donate, etc., and that is extremely difficult for me, if not impossible. I was born in 1945, and my mother saved pretty much everything, including aluminum foil, of course, and I tend to think saving stuff is a mark of frugality and good sense, despite knowing that that time is past. I don't think it's the book's lack of good advice. It's my lack of will power, sadly. I wonder how many of us there are. Maybe we're slowly dying off. My daughter-in-law throws stuff away as if there were no tomorrow... and her house is very neat!
This book DOES work. It just doesn't work for you. You still have childhood baggage that you haven't dealt with. We all have baggage, so it's not only you. If it's important enough for you to have a clean, neat house, you'll find a way to make it work for you and put the time in to do it. If it's not that important to you, you won't make the effort and your house will never change. It's all about choices. Good Luck.
J. Donald says:
I am sorry but I don't know anyone who works and has kids and a life that can take EVERY piece of clothing in the house, from every closet, every drawer, and even pull out off season clothing, to dump in one pile IN THE FLOOR and sort it. I will admit to having too much stuff, but that is an unrealistic request. I don't want to wash every piece of clothing when I get finished deciding if it 'sparked' me. This may work for very young person with no children, pets, husband, job, life etc.... But I am glad it worked for you.
Solange Gautier says:
Who still has shelves to put more books on?
My books never leave either. I thought getting a Kindle on my laptop would help, but all it did was help me buy MORE books (529 total at the moment) plus I didn't stop buying "the real thing" to hold in my eager hands.
I'm currently in the thousands of those, not to mention several hundred more in my office.
I absolutely LOVE books!!!!
Sarah C. says:
I too have wished my house would just burn down so I wouldn't have to deal with the mess. But, no such luck. I have spent a year going through stuff and I am about 80% done. There is 40 years of my accumulated things and 40 years of my new husbands stuff. Two houses full of just stuff. So we agreed that every month we would take a load to the local auction. So for the last year, at the beginning of each month we take some time to sort some things into four piles; trash, auction, giveaway, and keep. It was amazing how large the trash pile was. In the last year, we missed two months. So I think that's great, but it is so easy to get discouraged. It is a long process but worth it. I feel like such a burden has been lifted off me, even thought there is still a lot to do. I had no idea how much energy the cluttered house was zapping from me. Plus, we made extra cash selling our clutter. Hang in there everyone!!
Solange Gautier says:
Thank you for your inspiration, Sarah. It helps so much to hear others' "extreme" experiences because it brings HOPE!
Allen A. Jones says:
I laughed out loud reading your first 2 paragraphs!
Beetle B. says:
Looking forward to hear from you in a few months on whether the methods in the book are lasting!
The entire premise of the book, if done accordingly, ensures that the method IS lasting.
This is exactly what I was thinking. I think her points in this category only point out that the sacredness of one's own domain, your personal, private place and shelter deserves to be comfortable and correct.
Solange Gautier says:
Beautifully expressed, Ann! When we make that conceptual shift to "the sacredness of one's own domain, your personal, private place and shelter deserves to be comfortable and correct.", we become much more selective & discerning in what we keep.
I'd like to add two questions that I use very successfully: 1) Does this item thrill me with its beauty, design, or memory & 2) Is this item worth spending any further time of my life on? The latter question works very well for books! I have literally thousands, also over 500 on my Kindle: but culling has now become painless: charity or keep.
"I will admit to having a tortured relationship with stuff." Yes! "Many days I semi-wish the whole place would burn down and save me from having to deal with it." Yes!
"Typically I'll catch an episode of Hoarders, fear that I'm one incapacitating injury away from being the focus of an episode (if I can't clean up all those strewn papers, they'll just pile up to the rafters, after all!), and then go through a stack of junk in a fit of unhappiness." YES! Wow, I didn't know anyone else did this. Thanks for making me feel less weird. :) I actually purposely watch an episode to motivate myself to clean.
But would you call it "a Shinto shrine"?
I doubt the reviewer would deny that home is or should be a "sacred space". She just finds that culture-specific references, like "Shinto temples", do not translate well - and she is right.
Come to think of it, I think such references may be just another symptom of the (book) author's inability to really relate to other people.
To be quite honest, I think she suffers from OCD, just like those "hoarders" do, only in the opposite - and much more profitable - direction. Her language is a dead give-away.
What about her language is, to you, a dead give-away? I'm curious!
I think she did very well considering her 'inability to really relate to other people." She doesn't have to be an english major to get her point across; her gift is in her technique. If she does suffer from OCD, does it matter? Many more people have OCD nowadays. Not sure what you mean when you say that her language is a dead give-away.
AMEN Emily! I have read the OCD issue till my ears are ringing. What difference does it make, and honestly, if you're a bit OCD in your neatness, who better to write a book on tidying!?!? - I am curious as well (and asked as much) about the language being a dead give-away. I'm natured to be a bit of a hoarder from time to time and I absolutely love the book, by the way - and yes, I do get a bit of a zen feel from folding, now.
Your comment made me laugh out loud as I've recognised myself instantly. I am almost depressed thinking that I've made almost zero progress in this department despite having decluttering chronically as #1 task on my to-do list over the past three years! I now feel there is a hope for people like me - going to order the book straight away!
JO in DC says:
Just to give some insight: Japanese people, we all know, have tiny homes, TINY. (seems weird to write that in caps, since the literal meaning of the word is "very small".) But, they do NOT have tons of drills, boxes of screws, and electrical tape. Part of this is because they mostly live in apartments, whereby you don't do your own repairs: The company, the state government, your employer, owns the apartment building where you live. It's not always spacious, it's not even very nice many times, but the repairs aren't done that way. You don't have a big garage, workshop, etc. You don't even always have a closet. And, for this reason, you also don't have a big family, in most cases: Children are a bit of a luxury when space is small, and a country bulging with people and with a very low birthrate and no space means they don't have a big home full of toys. Children also play, quite often, in their own homes or at the school playgrounds, and it may make sense to many readers now why "Gameboy" and some of the best electronic games for kids and teens, as well as Anime and cartoons (some violent, some immature or funny) come from Japan, since a lot of the playtime has to be done electronically due to space or living in a high rise. I cannot wait to read this book: As someone who was born to American parents overseas, who lived in Japan a couple of times as an adult and worked there (and have friends who contributed to what I know of the country) and who visits often, I can tell everyone that this is not to be taken literally: No Japanese person who writes such an instructional book would even expect you to take it literally for your own cultural needs, as they are very respectful that way and don't make assumptions about other cultures.
Very insightful response. Thank you!
As noted before, very insightful post. Additionally, I'd like to add, that once you read the book and actually APPLY the principles, not just read and laugh as I've noticed all the detractors seem to fall under the category of having read but not applied the principles - - you will find that you can use her primary principles to most any category of your 'possessions' - Just because it's not a tee shirt, you will now be able to see how to handle it. It really is a great book and since I have read it (ME, no one else in my family) my husband now folds his pajamas konmari style when he gets up in the morning. The reason? Because it feels good to do, he says. Not because I mentioned anything. Just saying. That, in my book, is truly life changing. And yes, magical.
Thanks for making me laugh!
Tracey Zillian says:
I was going to say the same thing. He rips open envelopes and then leaves them everywhere. I was a neat freak when I got married and then I just gave up. I just watch Hoarders and compared to that, my house looks clean.
I thought I was pretty "current" on the latest books and authors --- but I did not know about this book until a friend just recommended it to me. Then - bam! - I came to Amazon and realize that thousands of people are reviewing it. Well -- OK then! I just did a raging take-no-prisoners clean-up of my personal closet, and feel great. I got seven Hefty bags of trash, and two large bags of good clothing for donations. Wow, it felt liberating. Here's the problem: I am a mixed media artist and my studio is constantly
filling up with stuff. I want to edit, and have a better, more-manageable workspace......but the stuff keeps accumulating. I will give this book a try, and thanks for contributing an interesting and engaging review.
rolling maximizes space too, and resists wrinkles or crease lines in your clothes more than folding.
Deb B. says:
Exactly, Elsomalo. Makes me wonder whether EB really did read the book, since the folding and vertical storage is mentioned so many times.
I accidentally hit "no" instead of "read more", so I inadvertently gave you a NO on "was this review helpful to you?" Just wanted you to know I think your review was very helpful and inspired me to buy the book.
Jules: Chivalry is not dead. (I'm being serious) I hope the writer sees this. (and agreeing with you, the writer wrote a great review, eh?)
Christine Wilt says:
Read the book and follow the order of tidying. You'll start with your clothing. I would then just throw out the mail, bills and clutter. So what if your husband gets mad? He'll get over it. I grew up in a messy house and I can't abide disorder and hoarding. The whole universe is a circle of giving and receiving - when you give away your excess to people who can use it you begin to receive peace and beauty in your life.
James Edwards says:
You said it took six months to get everything back in order, well in my house after six months I would have to start all over again! What do you do to keep it that way? Does it help you with that?
Once you "get into it" you simply maintain each day. It really IS easier than you'd think. Now, with me it did take a while to "get into it" as far as I didn't go one fell swoop, etc. But now, it's easy to keep things on an even keel. Try it!
Jane Q. Publique says:
Great review 'eb'! Was contemplating purchasing this book, and your review seals the deal. Now, to find an audio version. Thanks for your input!
Next.. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing