Review of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up

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Lately, when I meet people for the first time and they find out what I do, I am frequently asked if I’ve read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up.  I had the book on hold at the library (at one point, I think I was 186 of 211) and it finally arrived last week.  

I read it in 2 days because it’s a small book and contains only 5 chapters.  Some of what author Marie Kondo said resonated with me and other parts of the book were too outrageous.  Mainly, Kondo talks about her organizational theories supported by stories from her life and a few client stories.

Let’s start with what I liked.  She said that her clients gained confidence through tidying and I liked the way she phrased that.  When I work with clients who previously avoided a room of their home, I like the squared shoulders that come toward the end of an organizing session when they reclaim the space.

Instead of asking clients what they want to throw away, Kondo flips the question and asks clients what to keep.  This seems like a more positive choice and one that I found myself using with a client last week.  

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I also tried with Sweet Husband and his books, but it turned out he wanted to keep everything and the cat just got a temporary hiding space.

Walking readers through the steps of organizing a home, Kondo frequently mentions allowing items to “rest” and suggests that we should thank socks, purses, and other items for their service during the day.  While this seemed a little kooky at first, I actually found myself buying into the idea that we are blessed to have our items, so we should treat them well.

Now, on to what I didn’t like about the book  She always uses absolutes in her writing (ha ha).  This type of writing brought me out of the narrative.  For example, she claims that she has never had a client rebound and that all of her clients are able to keep their houses tidy after her consultation.  I just have a lot of trouble believing that.  

My intention as a personal organizer is to work myself out of a job (probably not a good business model, but whatever . . . ).  I want my clients to learn skills such that they can work through their spaces; however, I am fully aware that organizing is a gift that people have in varying degrees.  Sometimes this means that a client needs an occasional session to keep him/her on track toward her goals.  I have professionals in my life that help me with my goals (e.g., CPAs, pastor, Sweet Husband, the scale), so I feel blessed to serve in that role for someone else.

Would I recommend the book?  Eh.  Probably not.  There are pieces that are interesting, but probably not worth your time.