Currently reading: Marie Kondo

Currently reading Marie Kondo | Wolves in LondonSo February was the month in which I read that unavoidable book of the moment: Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

Are you guys fans? It wasn’t something that had wildly appealed to me but I’d seen so many glowing reviews and “this changed my life”s that I bought it on impulse from the shelf next to the counter in the lovely bookshop in Corsham a few weeks ago.

As I was reading it, three prevailing thoughts entered my head time and again:

  1. The person who has written this book might, quite possibly, be insane.
  2. I can’t believe anyone agreed to publish this book.
  3. I can’t believe that this book has become a runaway success, bought by so many people… …and that one of those people is me!

In case you haven’t read it, you might be wondering how on earth someone could write an entire book about tidying. The answer is: she hasn’t. She’s written a (very short) book about why you should throw away almost everything you own (any possession, in fact, that doesn’t “spark joy”) and then repeated each paragraph about six times throughout the book and then printed it in really really large text.

I don’t think there is much I could tell you about my thoughts on the book that wouldn’t be better illustrated by some actual genuine quotes from the book itself. I was so astonished by so much that I read that I turned down the pages in order to return to these particularly bizarre passages again.

“Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type and therefore organising them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

“If you are a woman, wear something feminine or elegant as nightwear.”

Have you ever had the experience where you thought what you were doing was a good thing but later learnt it hurt someone? […] This is somewhat similar to the way many of us treat our socks.

“Not long ago, 90 per cent of my thoughts were focused solely on storage. I began thinking seriously about this issue from the time I was five.”

“What do the things in our homes that don’t spark joy actually feel? I think they simply want to leave.”

So, no, it’s safe to say I’m not a fan. I just can’t buy into this whole possessions-have-feelings-too stuff (at one point, she actually tells a story about how her mobile phone, that had been replaced, stopped working after she texted it to thank it for all its hard work in the past, as if it knew it had completed its purpose and decided never to turn on again…) Further, if I followed this method of “tidying” to the letter I would certainly be wandering around semi-naked*.

But, I have to admit that my attitude to my possessions actually has changed since reading this. I’ve started to question why I store so many things “just in case” of x situation arising, when if x situation really arose I would never remember where the thing is and would have to just go out and buy it again.  I do, gulp, intend to apply some of her logic to sorting through all my possessions and having a major de-clutter.

So, insane, yes, ridiculously sexist, yes, but effective? Quite possibly.

*I can genuinely tell you that I not only do not own a single pair of trousers that give me a “spark of joy” but that I positively hate every single pair I do own, since putting on a fair bit of weight in the last year and feeling massively lardy in the leg department. Following Kondo’s orders, I would have to throw out every single pair of trousers and, what? I guess the unspoken suggestion is that I go out and buy a load more. If you’re not swimming in cash that doesn’t seem like a terribly practical way of living…

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12 thoughts on “Currently reading: Marie Kondo

  1. So glad i didn’t bother with this book although I have to say I have put into practice some of which I’ve picked up in the press. I did give away a lot that didn’t ‘spark joy’ when we had some new wardrobes built and have not missed anything. AND I have started rolling up my clothes which I’m still doing 5 months later. But some off those other quotes take the biscuit!!

  2. So glad for the warning about the book but having read some about it, I knew it was not for me. What if EVERYTHING “sparks joy”? That describes a hoarder. I have a simple rule that if I buy a new item of clothing, at least one item has to go…to the charity shop. The sad thing is that due to the book’s success, there will probably be a sequel!!

  3. Haha, great review! I was thinking of picking up a copy since everyone was raving about it – now I’ll save my money.

    I guess advising people to get rid of what they don’t need instead of buying more and more is somehow revolutionary these days? From what you said, it seems like it’s mostly filled with commonsense advice (well, minus the wacky tangents).

  4. I have this book gathering dust on the shelf, never got started on it, still waiting for it to change my life. Now I’ve read your review I think I shall liberate it to fly away and be loved somewhere else. Massively lardy legs here, I can sympathise with your tense relationship with your trousers. CJ xx

  5. Thanks for this. I too have been wondering if I should find out if Kondo actually lives up to the hype – I guess not. But your post does inspire me to go and find the life changing joy of chucking out all the crap kids bring back in party goody bags. Fly, little catapult-y thing that is too flimsy to work, be free.

  6. Definitely not a book for me!! I heard about it and wondered if it would inspire me at all, but after reading this I can say no…no…no…not for me! We had everything in storage for over 2 years when we were in the US and it was pure joy when I unpacked all my clutter and had it back again in my life.

  7. You’re right, she’s completely and utterly bonkers and clearly lives alone, which is why she is so tidy, however I did get some value from it. It motivated me to declutter. I liked getting everything out and then sorting it, although again you need lots of time for that method. I have also found myself to be less sentimental about stuff since reading it. I can look at an object, realise it’s done it’s job and done it well and get rid of it. The spark joy stuff? Totally impractical and silly. Have you read The Happiness Project? I had a similar reaction to it. It changed some things I do, but I found the author so so irritating. The kind of person I would not want to be friends with.

  8. If we all threw away things that we didn’t absolutely love or need, where would the antiques and collectables be for future generations? There is something a little unsettling about someone who admits they’ve been hooked on ‘storage’ since she was five years old. Perhaps she’d have had a more fulfilled life if she’d played with her toys a bit more rather than perhaps thinking where they might be shelved?

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