The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 39 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 22, 2016|
|Publisher||Random House AudioBooks|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#17,354 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#38 in House & Home
#105 in Stress Management (Audible Books & Originals)
#133 in Home Cleaning, Caretaking & Relocating
Top reviews from the United States
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By Laura I. on January 30, 2017
I will say the book is somewhat repetitive and it makes the same point over and over (you have too much clutter and you’re keeping it for the wrong reasons); this might be a cold, hard, necessary teaching method to break the habit of keeping clutter, so I won’t dwell on that. On the other hand though, in areas where I wanted more detail, such as the steps she provides to actually do “decluttering”, or “tidying” as the author calls it, I found I wanted more detail. While clothing (for example) is well covered, entire categories of typical American “stuff” are left out, such as cupboards, kitchen tools, towels/linens, sporting goods, major electronic and computer gear, and the garage (and the myriad of categories of stuff found in there). There is absolutely no mention of a garage. The book, to me, is aimed heavily towards a female audience, and I’m not saying that in a sexist way. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just a missed opportunity to be more inclusive; men have stuff too, and the vast majority (not scientifically measured, just my impression) of the examples in the book are aimed at the types of belongings women *typically* own, again please don’t take this the wrong way. Most of the client examples the author mentions are women, with perhaps only two male clients I can remember. This is only notable to the extent that many pages are spent discussing organizing purses and none spent on organizing screwdrivers. I own zero purses but lots and lots of screwdrivers (along with other tools), and they badly need organizing. But I think I’ll be able to apply the technique to my garage as well as my closet. So for any of you out there who also own screwdrivers and they are in need of organization, perhaps you’ll be in the same boat as me, wondering why your tool collection was never even mentioned.
I would like the author to focus more on suggesting *donating* the items she so desperately wants us to discard. She gives good reasons for not giving your old stuff to your family, but surely there’s a better home for unwanted clothing than the trash. I’ve made it a point to donate mine. Perhaps this type of thinking will make it into the second edition.
Finally, as the author is from Japan, some of the cited mystical benefits of “tidying up” may register as goofy to Americans. Thanking your belongings for a job well done, as she suggests, is a form of consideration which may not resonate. But this is a matter of personal preference and posture; it certainly can’t hurt but I feel all but the most committed American readers may find it a bit campy.
In any case, I did get rid of a lot of stuff on my first round, and indeed it felt good to do so. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least the author has given me a rational framework for examining an item and deciding “should it stay or should it go”. More is going than ever before.
I, unfortunately, learned some great lessons about parting with too much stuff 8 months ago when my hoarder mother passed away. I bought 120 large trash bags and with a determined ruthlessness, I tossed out 3 tons of trash. Boxed up new stuff for donation. Held estate sales for things of value...which Ms. Kondo does not seem to address very well. I thought that I would gain some insight from this book about purging my own messy house. I don't want to do to my kids what mother did to me. However, this book was no help. As someone else suggested, don't waste your time reading the entire book. Just read the sentences in boldface print. Honestly, that's all that should have been printed but there wouldn't be much money in selling a brochure.
Top reviews from other countries
I bought this book on several recommendations. But I should have asked myself if the thought of reading it sparks joy before buying it. This is the biggest take-away from this book. Now I find myself asking this question whenever I go shopping. If the thought of eating it, wearing it, doing it, doesn't spark joy, it's time for reflection.
And that's it. The rest of the book is minutiae of how to discard and store things according to the Kon-Marie method which the writer invented which reads like a self-praising professor who gives boring lectures on how his past students did extremely well due to his teaching methods and how other teachers aren't that good or effective.
The irony is that this book is for hoarders but hoarders would never pick up this book. Or even if they pick it up, they would just pick it up to hoard it and not to read it. Or to read it and never follow through it. And if you are thinking of gifting it to someone you think has a hoarding problem, forget it. Hoarding is a psychological issue and unless the person navigates and cleans rubbish off their mental recesses, reading this book is just another dump in the ocean of mental junk.
The gist of the book:
- Take up cleaning the whole house (or universe) at one go! This probably won't work if you live in a joint family with your kids and parents and parents-in-law because you'll have to spare a week or two for it- on your own without interruption.
- Discard anything that doesn't spark joy. (Alas, I have bought things when I was younger and stupider and I have no spare monies to buy them again.) But this book maybe the one to go.
- Sort things by category, not by location. Example, if you are sorting the clothes, then sort ALL the clothes in your house at once, not just in one cupboard. (This is great, but I have all my stuff in their exact location already)
- Then the rest of the book is about how to store items in a cupboard (for which if you follow the book, you might need new cupboards with more drawers and clothes that don't wrinkle), how to clean the bathroom, how to arrange things in the kitchen, how to sort papers and documents and books, how to let go of gifts you do not use, etc. etc. etc. etc. till you get bored of reading the book about cleaning and decide to get rid of boredom by watching a movie and the idea of cleaning goes out of your brain and into the same vacuum of universe you were trying to clean.
(P.S. I read the whole book)
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR:
- People who already follow a routine cleanup of their stuff. For example, I have decided I'm only going to keep a certain number of clothes in my cupboard. I buy clothes ONLY when they get worn out or stop fitting. I do not buy clothes every Diwali or even for any close family member's wedding. Anything unused for 5 years has to go.
- People who are quite organized or like organizing tactics like DIY storage solutions. This book is against storage solutions and instead focuses on discarding.
- People suffering from some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders- we guys are already doing great at cleaning. No need to bend ourselves double and ruin our lives over it by reading one more book on it.
- People looking for an idea on minimalist living. This book is not about minimalism. I thought it was so - going by the white cover with the word 'Japan' on it. But that is why we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and people by their home-organizing techniques.
- People who like window shopping.
- People who go shopping whenever there is a 'sale'.
- People who 'have to have' something when they see something on a store window.
- People who have a hard time discarding things out of guilt or any sentimental value.
- People who have other people (usually mothers or wives or domestic help) to clean and organize things for them.
- People who have overflowing wardrobes and bookshelves.
- People whose lives are out of order (in existential crisis of some sort).
So I held this book in my hand after reading it and asked myself - Does this book spark joy?
It is a very easy read, but like a boring chemistry textbook unless you are really interested in the subject.
[I bought a paperback copy of the book. The font and binding are good.]
1) "I can't get over how she anthropomorphizes socks, treating them as if they have feelings and need to rest. This woman is out of her mind!"
Some people seem to be very hung up on the metaphors in this book. When Marie Kondo talks about socks (and other objects) working hard all day and requiring a proper rest when they’re put away, she doesn’t mean this literally. The point of all the anthropomorphizing in the book is to encourage you to think about your belongings differently and treat them with respect. For example, it’s easy to throw clothes on the floor of your bedroom or stuff them in a drawer thoughtlessly, but if you pause to consider what your clothes actually do for you and the value they bring to your everyday life, you’re far more likely to treat them with care and put them neatly back where they belong. Marie Kondo wants you to be grateful to your possessions, not for the sake of your possessions, but for your own!
2) "She doesn't explain how to deal with [specific category of items]. This book is worthless!"
One of the primary tenets of the Konmari method is the belief that only YOU can decide which things to keep and which to throw away. Your own feelings, desires, and values are the litmus test for each item. Which belongings do you want to surround yourself with? Which belongings bring value to your life? Marie Kondo can’t answer these questions for you, and that’s the point! The book encourages you to take responsibility for your possessions, and, through the “celebration” of tidying, take control of them too. If you want/need some additional instruction on the tidying and storing process, I’d recommend her second book, Spark Joy, which breaks the broad categories mentioned in this book into more manageable sub-categories, and has more in-depth tips for storing items once you’ve decided what to keep.
3) "It's far too difficult to pull everything from one category out of storage all at once. I don't have time to do something like that!"
If you’re looking for a “quick fix” to your clutter problem, one where you can go at it Saturday morning and finish by Sunday evening, this is not the book for you. From her descriptions of past clients, it could take up to a year for someone to completely tidy their home, depending on the number of items they own and the difficulty they have in recognizing which items “spark joy”. As a single woman living in a one-bedroom condo with not many belongings to begin with, it may only take me a few weeks, but if you’ve got a two-story house and family of four, you’d better prepare to be in this for the long haul. Of course, the reward for this massive investment of time and effort is the Konmari guarantee that you will have finished tidying once and for all, and your house will never return to its original cluttered state!
I don’t know if this book has changed my life yet (I’m still in the process of tidying up!) but it has absolutely changed my mindset and my relationship to my belongings. It’s had enough of an effect on me that I’ll gladly proselytize about it to anyone who will listen! Check it out!