Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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BOOK review
Started on: 4.September.2015
Finished on: 8.September.2015

Title : The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author : Marie Kondo
Publisher : Ten Speed Press
Pages :  214 pages / 224 pages (e-book) / 4hrs 50mins (audiobook)
Year of Publication : 2014
Price : $ 15.55 (www.bookdepository.com/) / Rp 259,000 (www.periplus.com)

Rating: 4.5/5
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"The results show that tidying has changed their way of thinking and their approach to life. In fact, it has changed their future. Why? This question is addressed in more detail throughout the book, but basically, when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don't, and what you should and shouldn't do."
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant who helps a lot of people tidy up their homes. In this book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo shares her step-by-step method (named the Konmari method, after her name) to tidy up your home and not going back to clutter. The book itself is divided into 5 main chapters; each one has smaller chapters that discusses deeper into the topic. The author starts off by talking about the problem, why people can't seem to keep their house in order. And then gradually guides the reader through the step-by-step process of the Konmari method and how the magic of tidying up will dramatically transform someone's life.

"Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and "easy" storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral. This is why tidying must start with discarding. We need to exercise self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished identifying what we really want and need to keep."
In the first chapter titled "Why Can't I Keep My House in Order?", Marie Kondo breaks down all the reasons why people constantly failed at tidying up and keeping their house in order. A lot of sources encourage people to tidy a little each day so that it won't be too overwhelming, but in this book Marie Kondo stated that if you tidy a little each day, you'll be tidying forever. And she also tackles the problem of storage and stated that storage experts are hoarders—because storage doesn't solve the problem. Marie Kondo also emphasized that we don't have to change the method of tidying to suit our personality; because there are basically only three types of people who can't stay tidy: the "can't-throw-it-away" type, the "can't-put-it-back" type, and "the-first-two-combined" type.
"Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first. This principle does not change. The rest depends on the level of tidiness you personally want to achieve."
The second chapter, "Finish Discarding First", is all about the first step of the Konmari method—discarding. It might sound a little intimidating at first, but Marie Kondo has some tips to make things easier to do. She understands perfectly that things that can still be of use or have sentimental / emotional values are harder to part with, which is why she suggest that these things should be sorted out last. The best sequence to start sorting and discarding things is: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, things with sentimental value. The most important things is to decide not on what to throw away because that will lead to unhappiness, but decide on what to keep—what things sparks joy.

The third ("Tidying By Category Works Like Magic") and fourth chapter ("Storing Your Things to Make Your Life Shine") focuses on how to organize the rest of the things that are not discarded. Marie Kondo divides this part into sub-categories as well to make it easier to understand. She suggests a way to arrange your clothes so that it will be practical and tidy, how to store/sort books and arrange papers, etc. The author also writes a lot about storage tips to help and make staying tidy easier.
"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence?"
And the last chapter, "The Magic of Tidying Dramatically Transforms Your Life", sums up everything and how doing the Konmari method will bring changes in your life. Marie Kondo focuses on encouraging people to be surrounded only by the things that sparks joy in their life, things that are able to make them happy. It is said that your living space will affect your body as well; thus it is important to keep your house tidy and in order at all times.


image source: here.

I know I'm literally writing the whole book in this review, but I'm writing this more for myself because I feel like this book contains something that I want to constantly be reminded about. That's why I'm writing the book summary as thorough as possible. As for the book itself, it is indeed life-changing for me, who's been desperately trying to be tidy and constantly battling with clutter. I love how at the beginning of the book Marie Kondo points out the things that I've been doing wrong all these time. I do go by the rule of tidying a little bit each day (and it's true that this habit doesn't get me anywhere closer to being tidy), feels wasteful if I throw away things that can still be of use, and I'm sort of addicted to storage items. By that point, my interest in this book grows bigger and I want to know what she has to say to solve these problems. When it comes to the discarding part, I got pretty excited because I love to declutter my things once in a while and throw out things I don't need anymore. But I didn't expect her to be so hardcore about discarding. Even though it's hard for me to apply her methods in the first place, I find that everything she said in this book is true. Back then, I tend to hang on to a lot of items with sentimental / emotional value because I feel like these things hold memories. Long story short, I was able to throw away TONS of things like old photos that don't spark joy, old love letters, past journals, and even manuscript of novels that I've written when I was younger. I've hold on to these things for so long because I thought I would regret it if I throw them away. But now that I've discard them, never once did I look for these things.
"It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past." 
"The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past."
"You may be physically tired, but it feels so good to get rid of unnecessary items that you will find it hard to stop."
Marie Kondo is also right when she said that discarding things can feel so good and that you will find it hard to stop, because that is exactly what happened to me. I tried to apply her method of making tidying an event and do it all in one go. And one day I ended up with five huge plastic bags full of stuff that I wanted to discard from my room. As I look at these bags, I kept thinking how I've kept these things for so long when I didn't even need them. Another important point that the author said in the book is to reduce until you reach the point where something clicks. Everyone has a different click point because each person has different things that sparks joy in them. Even when I still have a lot of things in my room, I feel satisfied because all the things I have now are things that made me happy.
"The click point differs from one person to another. For a shoe lover, it might be one hundred pairs of shoes, while a book love might not need anything but books....
As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you'll see what your true values are, what is really important to you in your life. But don't focus on reducing, or on efficient storage methods, for that matter. Focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy and on enjoying life according to your own standards. This is the true pleasure of tidying. If you have not yet felt a click, don't worry. You can still reduce. Tackle this job with confidence."
After going through all the steps to clean out the things I don't need, I focused on Marie Kondo's tips on how to avoid rebound after tidying up. I constantly suffered rebound after I tidied up my room the previous years, so I think I really need to fix this problem. At this point, she explained the basics about why clutter formed in the first place; which is because of failure to return things to where they belong. So when everything has a designated place and there's no complex storage system in the living place, it will be easier to put things back and avoid clutter—and hopefully there won't be any rebound.
"Yet despite the drastic reduction in their belongings, no one has ever complained that they had a problem later because I told them to get rid of something. The reason is very clear: discarding those things that don't spark joy has no adverse effects whatsoever. When they finish tidying, all of my clients are surprised that they notice no inconvenience in their daily lives. It is a strong reminder that they have been living all this time surrounded by things that they don't need."
I really love this book and how Marie Kondo successfully changed my mindset about tidying up. For the experience and changes that this book brings me, I would totally give this book a 5/5. However, the book gets pretty repetitive at times. I wouldn't mind the if the book had been a little bit shorter, or maybe Marie Kondo can throw in more examples from her clients; because it gets a little bit annoying when something is repeated over and over again. So in terms of content, unfortunately I can only give it a 4.5/5. Lastly, I didn't really discuss my experience on tidying up my books/bookshelves in this post because I'm planning to write a separate post for that :) Hopefully I can finish that one soon.


Here's the book trailer with Marie Kondo explaining what the book is about :)

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by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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