The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–a review of a book worth reading

photoThis is the first time I have written a book review in my blog but this book has affected me profoundly and is truly helping me make a major life change. I am in the process of severely editing my life’s “stuff.” While the author of this book, Marie Kondo, is Japanese and working as an organizer in houses that have very limited space, I am living in the USofA in a big old house that has a large attic and basement, as well as several closets, shelves, and drawers. I have been accumulating “stuff” not for years but for decades. Clothes that I wore when I was in the fashion business, so many shoes that I could put Mrs. Marcos (or a well-dressed drag queen) to shame, handbags galore, household goods from the practical to the decorative, art works, so many books, products, pictures (thank God for digital photos, all those are neatly stored on hard drives. But, I took pictures since before that time and I also went through thousands of slides and snapshots)—-and on and on and on.

I found a mention of this book on a friend’s FaceBook post on Sunday and decided to give it a read. I can only say that it truly inspired me to get really serious about editing all this stuff. I needed a philosophy to put into place in regard to what I was doing. I needed inspiration and direction to determine what to keep, what to give away, what to sell, and what to trash. Her philosophy is such a simple one. Hold it in your hand. Does it give you joy? If not, you don’t need it. I was already in the middle of the project, having gone through most of my personal clothing and accessories, and I already had pared down my “memories.” The memories–photos, clippings, magazine editorials of my jewelry designs, all those personal things that you keep that are printed on paper, had been assigned to two large boxes, one for private life and one for work. In the book she advises to do this edit last, as it takes the longest time. So, I was already ahead of the game. But, there was much, much more to go. The attic had been started, but the basement untouched. My dressing room was already on the road to recovery from my years of hoarding nice clothing and accessories. Things I would pull out, put on, take off, and hang back up. But, they were expensive and I thought I needed to hang on to them, surely I would put them on one day and keep them on. I had enough black clothes to have become a funeral director with even going shopping. Now that I am spending so much time in Mexico most of the black just seems so wrong. Just not me anymore. I am now expressing my new self by wearing color and textures. Sort of a Frida Kahlo/Juana Cata approach to style. I love mixing my Mexican clothes that I brought back from our winter trip with some of my beloved classics—an embroidered dress from Oaxaca with a denim jacket, for example. I just put several outfits together for a long week-end trip. It was such a joy to work with my newly edited things. I could actually find everything I needed, and the arrangement made it easy to style and come up with interesting combinations.  I followed her advise about how to organize the things that I keep in drawers and the items (things that I actually expect to wear and enjoy) that I keep hanging in my closet, and it has made a huge difference in how I feel when I open them. I even found several things that I thought I had misplaced because they were just crammed into a drawer

I spent all day Sunday reading this book and to show you how much it motivated me, I re-edited 13 boxes of household items down to 7. It is a good, fast read.. I have a lot more to go and I am sure that at some point this summer Fred and I will have the yard sale of the century. Even if you aren’t in such an editing mode as I currently am, I recommend this book to everyone. I look forward to a simpler life surrounded by items that I enjoy using, wearing, or having in my sight. Good-bye to everything else. Honestly, when you think about it the items in our life should only fall into these categories. I love this book!

4 thoughts on “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–a review of a book worth reading

  1. I just bought it!!! I learned when we spent all that time in Costa Rica that I didn’t really need half of the junk I have!! Thank you!

  2. Since you two have recently moved a couple of times I am sure you must have already done so much of this. For us, it was over 30 years of accumulating. So much stuff!! And now, so paired down to only the things we love and really want to have. Very Liberating.

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