An organizing client called me one evening. In the course of the conversation she asked if I had read the book: the life- changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering, by Marie Kondo. At the time I hadn’t even heard of the book. She proceeded to tell me about the book and then said “Lisa, I would like you to read it and then help me to follow through with her system”. After I hung up the phone, I did research on this book. What I found out was that it sold 2 million copies and was on the New York Times best seller list. As someone who is a home organizer, has an organizing business and 2 books on the subject, I knew I needed to hear what Marie Kondo had to say on the subject. I ordered the book. I have since seen other organizers blog on the subject. (Note: I have since watched her show on Netflix)
When the book arrived at my home, you know I had to post a picture on Facebook. People began inquiring my thoughts as an organizing expert. As I read the book, I couldn’t put it down. It drew me in. I immediately began to make notes on her systems. I thought that for some I agreed, some I did not agree with, and some were very new. I decided that I would do a little blogging about her book to share with others.
Keep in mind her work has predominantly been in Japan and parts of Europe. Not only are the lifestyles and homes of Americans different, but add in consumerism and the fact that this organizer lives and works in Texas. Whereas there are tips that are not received by many of my clients, I actually found myself strangely motivated. As of this writing, I completed a thorough purge and tidy of my own books. I love books and I have probably discarded about half, to the point that I am giving one of my three bookcases to one of my sons. Disclaimer: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you choose to buy and read Marie Kondo’s book; make sure you buy my 2nd book Uncluttered: Discovering Strength & Purpose in the Chaos of Life.
I divided the book into 5 thought categories that I will share in 3 blogs:
I. The why of her approach & core message of what brings you joy
II. The technical how to tidy and her thoughts on storage and how they are similar to the tips I share in my first book – My Life is a Mess: Organizing 101. I will share systems and strategies that work well in some cultures along with lifestyles & time management
III. Tidying points that were on key with how I believe and how it relates to my thoughts
So away we go:
1) Success in organizing is 90 percent about having the right mind set. p.5
I absolutely agree.
2) Order of one’s home is dependent on values, some quit because they expect me to do the work for them. p.6
I understand what the author is saying, but some of my clients do not have the time or energy to do all the work themselves. I think it is ok, to help my clients hands on.
3) Instruction in tidying is neglected at home & school. p.10
Very true statement, unfortunately much of our school is dedicated to the tests and scores. There is not a focus of practical life skills.
4) Must change thinking before able to change habit. p.15
This is so true in regards to those who like to save too much, you’ve got to make peace with purging and organizing in your heart first.
5) Tidying all at once versus little at a time is one of her strategies. p.12
This would be fine if both the client and organizer had the time and strategy. It is a good tip, but I do not think it is fully practical. She compares this to dieting. p.14
I see what she is saying, but just like dieting it would be wrong to say all or nothing. Every positive change you make in life is good.
6) The author strives for seeing instant results & perfection. p.17
This may be too difficult a burden to place on someone. Everyone is different.
7) Sort by category not by location because we disperse items throughout the house. p.25
This was definitely a new one for me and I totally agree with the first phase of this strategy. The only thing I will add is that again, with the lifestyles and large homes that some people live in, items will still have more than one location. I think of it like office supplies, there is a resource room, an office and desk.
8) Don’t change method to suit personality, discard first by category. It’s about too much stuff. p.27
This definitely steps on some toes. It gives no room for different personality and working styles, but there is some truth to this.
9) Before you start visualize destination, like a model home. p.37
I love this idea. It is important to have a plan and an end goal. Understand that the end may not look exactly like you thought, but it is to fit your needs.
10) Instead of focusing on what to discard. It should be on what you keep that sparks joy. p.41
This was also a new one that I love and have started implementing with my books. It definitely makes things easier.
11) Rebound is because you didn’t do it right the first time. It is to completely affect the mind/heart. p.34
This is another statement that is a little tricky. I agree but also disagree. Again each person is different and we can’t expect everyone to stay perfect when we live differently in parts of the United States.
12) Keep going even if tired for the joy that comes after. p.66
I disagree. When one is tired it becomes hard to focus and time to take a break. For some this is a difficult task already. If you add fatigue it may result in a reluctance to continue.
13) If you forget an item in another area, you cannot keep it. p.67
I disagree. The cluttered & disorganized person may truly love an item in another area and may have thought it was lost and now found
14) What to keep. Where to put it. p.19.
I agree. Her core message that she repeats in the book is that there are only two compelling things: what to keep and where to put it.
15) Before you study or write, tidy your room. It occurs because they need to put something in order. p.20
I loved this one. Even with myself before I tackle a big writing project, I have to organize first. It does feel like it clears my mind and helps me to feel productive.
16) Bid farewell to ‘just because’ approach to saving mementos. p.106-107
I agree. Keep only what brings joy.
17) Disposable items. Gifts. p107-108
I agree. Gifts are meant to convey feeling. It served its purpose. I do have other thoughts on giving gifts, but I will focus on this for now.
18) Decorate closet with secret delights. p.162
19) Never had a problem with client regret because they knew it didn’t spark joy. p.185
I agree. Even if they did have a regret and realized they wanted or were missing something, it was not life threatening. The fact they didn’t need to search through clutter was a stress reliever. Life is easier when you know things will still work out even if you are lacking a particular item p.186 & 187
20) How do you know what does or does not bring joy. It’s the spontaneous decision and the sparkle in the eyes. p.198
21) The author states to reduce until you reach the point where something clicks. p.124
I agree somewhat. You will know when you feel you are finished, but everyone is different and some even struggle with volumes of decisions to make.
22) Space affects body. Detox. Once we declutter it is easier to clean. p.193.
Now, that we have explored Marie Kondo’s core message on the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, in the next blog I will share the technical parts with you.
Click here if you are ready for me to help you tidy. https://lisagiesler.com/contact/