The Magic Art of Tidying Up || Review

I started with the objective of tidying my room. I picked up this book thinking it would help with organization hacks, such as drawer dividers. I thought it would tell me that I should throw things away if I haven’t used them in a year. For years I have searched to become more tidy and am a sucker for any organization product, which is why I began reading this book.

My expectations going in Marie Kondo’s book were exactly her thoughts as well before she created her KonMari method. From a young age she has been fascinated by tidying and was on a life-long mission for the most effective cleaning method (aren’t we all?).

The book took a more psychological and philosophical than I was thinking a tidying book would. Marie assumes that a room is a reflection of our mental state. She explained this is why we tend to clean instead of studying for an exam. Her KonMari method consists of touching an item, feeling it, and deciding whether it sparks joy. On this criterion, you either throw it or keep it.

Sounds like a bunch of nonsense does it not? Not whether it is useful or it is handy to keep, but whether it sparks joy within us. At first I thought the same, but to be quite honest it’s good advice. You will never regret getting rid of something that did not make you happy. You want the life around you to reflect the happiness you get out of your items.

The first section of the book was devoted to busting the myths that we have around tidying, which Marie was once guilty of herself. It is nice that she relates these mistakes within her own story, showing that at one point in time she did not have all the answers. This was the most substantive part of the book. Although it was a nice background to be given, I wish her actual method took up a larger part of the book. Instead of just telling us what not to do, I want to know HOW to do it!

The next part taught you how to go about this new method! It gave you some practical tips. I am really excited about this tips and fully plan to use them. Some again seemed to have some basis in psychology, as she said to order your closet from light to dark as this is more pleasing to the eye and thus you will enjoy spending time in your closet more. One thing I don’t think I will be implementing is thanking the objects for a good well done. Or putting them away so “they can have a proper rest”. Too much philosophical nonsense for me, but I do see the ideal.

For me, the best tip was how to fold. I know, sounds boring. However, Marie says most people don’t know how to fold and have never been taught. She describes the how-to in her book, but being the non-instruction manual person I am (definitely need to see it), I found a nice video on Goop that showed me how to achieve the proper technique. I’ve done one drawer folding like this and am really enjoying the results. The clothes are folded so they stand straight and I can see them all before I choose what I will wear.

Though much of the method is fully implementable, she says to collect every of one of a certain item and make a pile to sort through. I think this may be a bit impractical, as I am one to own numerous amount of clothes and the pile would be extremely large. Also, if my room is already messy isn’t this just adding to the mess before it gets better?

My thoughts: if you feel the need to clean and need a more spiritual guide to tidying than this book is for you. If you were looking for hands-on, practical tips the whole way through this book will not suit your needs. From the fan base this method has so far, I think it may be on to something. Part 2 to come… I’ll let you know if it actually worked!

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