#CBR7 Review #8: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I’m a clutterbug by nature, and grad school has only amplified it. There are papers everywhere, I have student papers, and countless books from the library to aid with my research. Not to mention clothes, kitchen gadgets, my own books, movies, shoes, and years upon years of memorabilia. I find myself at an impasse: there are days when I want to live in an empty room, but most days, I feel like I can never let go of ANYTHING. So I found myself drawn to Marie Kondo’s book and idea of simplicity and tidyness.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is based on KonMari, Marie Kondo’s philosophy of tidying up from her self-started business in Japan. She holds to two main theories of organization: discarding ALWAYS comes first; and second, organize and store once you’ve discarded. She even has a hierarchy of discarding: clothes (tops, pants/bottoms, dresses, jackets or coats, bags/purses, and shoes), books, papers, komono (Japanese for miscellany like gadgets, kitchen items, bathroom items), and finally, personal memorabilia like letters, trinkets, and photos. Beyond that, she motivates you to ask WHY you want to tidy, and what are some objectives for making you want to clean your house–in other words, what are your goals? Do you have unresolved issues? What are dreams you have for yourself? Ultimately, her goal is to simplify and work on tidying all at once, so that you maintain a clean and organized house, as well as an orderly mind.

I actually think this is a workable system. I want to go and clean my closet from top to bottom and get rid of all the old clothes that I never wear. I want to be more mindful of my clothes, my books, and my stuff so that my life is clean and well-organized. Now, note to you Cannonballers: her advice on books is RUTHLESS. I think some modifications might be okay for those of us who are bookworms. Nevertheless, I really like some of her ideas. Last year, I refused to purchase a book unless I had already read it and knew that I would read it again/teach with it/really liked it. I saved a lot of money on books, and I enjoy the challenge of taking a stack of books BACK to the library instead of piling on my shelves.


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