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Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have just experienced the life-changing magic of discarding two-thirds of my clothes, shoes, and accessories! One category down, a whole house to go. It’s so fun to get dressed now; all I have to do is reach in and anything I pull out “sparks joy” in my heart. After going up three sizes and then back down again within the last 2 years, you’d think I wouldn’t have anything left to discard, but that wasn’t true. So many items were hiding the good stuff, dragging me down with bad memories, worn out associations, and/or poor lines and fit.

After reading a few chapters, my husband has already begun with his own clothes, and miracle of miracles, he immediately bought some new work pants in his own style, of his own choosing, the kind that “spark joy” for him. And this man hates to shop.

So, life-changing? Yes! Does the book coincide with everything I’ve learned in the last 40 years of studying the energetic nature of human beings and all life as we know it? Yes! Do I love this book? Yes!

Am I the kind of person who, even though I recently undertook another de-cluttering project, still lived amid stashes of things that weighed me down with guilt and obligation and insecurity? Yes! My husband and I experienced some scary poverty years early in our lives together. It’s been difficult ever since to resist the urge to keep more than we need. As the youngest in our respective families, we also shared the habit of accepting whatever was given to us, hand-me-downs that might or might not have suited us. The concept of wearing, using, or keeping only items that “spark joy” makes brilliant sense to me now, and feels like wonderful liberation.

I am very excited and inspired by Marie Kondo’s work, and I’m equally enthusiastic about continuing throughout the house until we are living a much smaller, less encumbered, joyously infused material existence here in our happy home. I love the way she characterizes the impact of our thoughts on our things, and vice versa. I just love her entire outlook.

Oh yes, one more life-changing aspect (already): I hated to fold things. Just like she says, after following her instructions (and watching her demonstrate on YouTube) it’s become a fun game for me. Weird, but true. You have to experience this to believe it. I recommend reading the entire book before you begin any “tidying-up,” though, so you get the full effect of Marie Kondo’s charismatic, inspirational advice.

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