Top critical review
A good book that perhaps is too comprehensive in some areas and neglects others
February 28, 2018
First, this book has done for me what I wanted it to do: it’s helping me get rid of junk, albeit not quite in the way the author wants me to do it, but progress is progress, right?
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.