The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

This book is absolutely bonkers. I’d read a lot of hype for it lurking around the endlessly entertaining Mumsnet forums, and figured it had to be worth a shot. For the past few years I’ve been trying to downsize my possessions and adhere to a ‘less is more’ way of living, and while I’ve never been entirely successful, I have noticed a definite link between my stress levels and levels of clutter about the house.

On a fundamental level, the advice in this book is both superb and simple. The trouble is, there just isn’t enough of it to sustain an entire book. Basically, the idea is to tidy your house thoroughly, all at once, and discard all possessions that don’t bring you joy. We spent a weekend blitzing on this basis from top to bottom, and the results and maintenance have been outstanding. But… I didn’t need to read the whole book to get there. In fact, once I’d got the gist of it, reading through the rest really dragged, to the point that I considered discarding the book itself on a few occasions.

The trouble is, Kondo comes across as being very hard to relate to. She talks at length about how tidying has been her main hobby since the age of five, and how inanimate objects taught her the meaning of unconditional love. She greets her home out loud upon entry, personifies her belongings and environment, and likens the sensation of tidying to meditating under a waterfall. And of course there’s the real gem of advocating leaving ones washing up to dry on the sun in the veranda. Obviously.

So while there is the kernel of an excellent approach between these covers, the book itself makes for a bizarre read. It’s certainly helped me, but I’d hesitate before recommending it to a friend.

[Read from 8 March-19 April 2016]

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