Earlier in the summer amidst all of the clutter and chaos my house became after we began a renovation on an RV all summer (post to come), I looked around and thought, “This house is a disaster and as soon as the kids move out I’m purging all this stuff BIG time!” Technically, I might have actually said that statement out loud more than a few times. I think my receptors to words like clean, tidy, organized, and stress-free were heightened because I heard these words everywhere associated with Marie Kondo’s book. So, after much hype on blogs and GMA, I drank the koolaid and bought the book.
Ms. Kondo is touted as an organizer extraordinaire. She has developed a method of organizing called the KonMari method that has literally swept Japan’s households clean of clutter. Ms. Kondo describes her methods in detail throughout the book as well as sharing some of her personal history. All of that aside, I was underwhelmed by the book. I’ve read organizing books before, and just maybe I was hoping for a cleaning fairy wand, but I was disappointed.
What I did like about the book:
Her methods for folding are genius. I’m still working through the discarding of my clothes but I’m impressed so far. As a lifetime baller of socks, the idea for storing socks has really helped me save time and helped me to quickly get to the socks that I want. Also, the order and manner of discarding is unique. When I sorted my tops, for instance, the book instructs you to pile all of your tops from everywhere in the house (except the ones in the laundry) together to sort. Instead of room by room or closet by closet, she has you gather all of the like items into the same location before you discard. I found this idea easier than other methods and quicker. Lastly, Ms. Kondo states that the discard will take months. She’s right. Her approach is more comprehensive but I believe it will yield better results. This idea is obvious yet candidly refreshing.
What I did not like about the book:
Some of the practices that she would like you to incorporate as you are tidying are unrealistic and are perhaps better understood in a Japanese culture. I found some of them odd and off-putting. For instance, she suggests that you remove all of the contents from your purse each night, thank the purse for its service and allow it to rest for the evening before refilling the purse in the morning. Not going to happen here. Poor purse. She also requests that you verbally greet your home when you arrive and as you tidy your space and discard items that you thank the items for their service. Again, not for me. These practices are probably a reflection of her Shinto beliefs.
Ms. Kondo also shares parts of her personal history to explain her passion for organizing. I found most of these personal stories distracting to the book’s purpose. One story would’ve been sufficient instead of interspersed throughout the book. Perhaps, these personal insights would’ve been better suited to a memoir rather than a book on organizing. In addition, I also found the English translation glitchy at times. While the words were probably translated right, the overall gist was wonky in these places.
Ms. Kondo’s mantra to use while discarding is: Does it spark joy? Overall, I’d say this book is a 2.5 stars joy out of 5 stars joy rating. I’m encouraged to use what I like from the book and discard the rest.
“So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message