The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Book Review
My husband came home the other day and said there is something different about the house but I don’t know what it is. To which I replied emphatically, “I know exactly what it is! It’s joy! Can’t you feel it?! I’m not even done with the house yet! I still have so much more to do!” I was floored that he had already noticed the change in the house when he hardly noticed the cleaning I would do. Before, I would honestly get frustrated that he didn’t notice my hard work but now I realize it’s because the feel of the house didn’t change; just the position of the stuff. And as corny as it may sound that is exactly the feeling you get in your home from using the KonMari method after reading The Life Chaging Magic of Tidying Up. Joy.
I have owned this book now for three years and always thought I will read it, “some day.” It was’t until after I started writing these minimal book reviews that I finally picked up the book up and read it. Purchasing the book itself was a bit serendipitous. I was in San Diego with my sister and decided to go to a used book shop, Verbatim, with her. I was on a mission to find a used version of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. After scouring the store I just couldn’t find the book so I decided to ask the store clerk if they had it in the store. She said, “Yes! Right here!” and literally turned around and pulled it off the top of the book cart behind her! Yay, me! I was so happy I had my sister take a picture of me with the book in front of Pigment. My joy is quite apparent.
Before I really dig into this review I want to say a quick thank you for this book coming into my life. Even if it no longer brings me joy in the future, and I decide to part with it, I’m still happy for what I have learned in this book and that I can share my thoughts on the book with you all!
First of all taking everything out at once to sort it out is a must! A while ago while cleaning out my kitchen I had said that I believed that it was good for me to take everything out to assess it but might be too overwhelming for others. But after reading this book I am doubling down at that statement. The only true way to really tidy up is to first take everything out and lay it out on a bit flat surface like the floor or a table. This is the only way you can truly assess each and every item. This way you can hold it in your hands and really take a look at it. Turn it over in your hands and literally get a feel, both physically and emotionally of the object. I would not recommend pulling out what does work one at a time. A lot of items are hidden behind each other this way and I don’t believe you can get a true sense of each item either. Items really need to wake up in order to know how they make you feel and what they offer your life.
Sometimes I was the exception and somethimes I was not. As a minimalist I just thought I would make some small changes when reading this book to get myself back on track. Even though I have way less than other people I still FELT like I had too much stuff. I started to have some fears creep in like not having enough storage or enough clothes to wear. And while there were times I didn’t have enough I enjoyed clearing everything else out to figure out what exactly I needed. No wonder I had so much unsurity! I didn’t know what I truly needed! And even though I didn’t have enough storage solutions for the items I know I still totally agree with Marie that storage is not the answer! Tidying first is the answer; then finding a happy place for each and every item you own.
Personifying your things may sound a little weird but it’s the best idea ever! Consider a sock. After a hard day of being stretched over your feet how would it like to rest when it’s not in use? Do you think that it would like to be stretched into tiny balls and squished into your sock drawer or maybe it would prefer to be folded and lovingly placed snug and cozy against other socks to rest before being put back to work again?
I think this way about everything now and I can’t help it. Once you start you really can’t stop. Because the reality is that items treated in this way look nicer and last longer. They have a special glow about them that shows that they have been well taken care of and loved. I have seen this in other’s appearance and clothing but I couldn’t ever quite put my my finger on it, but now I realize that this is exactly it. Just in the same my husband couldn’t quite put his finger on why the house looked so nice I couldn’t place what was so different about these people before. I started pouring love into my home and starting considering what would make each and every item happiest and the feel of the house started to change. Of course, this was after I decided if the item brought my joy or not.
Has given me crazy focus on my life. This process has caused me to really consider what I truly want out of my home. Because if you don’t know then your home won’t be able to ever, in a million years, give that to you. I really thought for a long time about what I wanted from this place of rest and refuel and as cleaned it developed into this:
I want to come home to a clean and orderly house. But I want it to look fun and inviting. I wanted everything to be simple and accessible so that everyone in the home, including my husband and children, knew where everything goes so that items didn’t build up as they unloaded there belongings from the day. I want to love being in my kitchen again and feel relaxed enough to let the kids start helping with cooking or my projects.
I want to use the living room as a place where the whole family can relax and gather. And this includes friends and family when they come over. I want my husband to feel like he can relax and be comfortable and I want my children to have the freedom to be creative and themselves. And I really want to have my own creative space where I can unwind and keep clean; because cleanup isn’t overwhelming but a practice of loving my space and keeping it happy. I also want it to smell good with candles and food and the feelings of sweet calm, joy, and peace.
All of this may seem a bit demanding of my home but if a home is not for all of these things in my life then what they hay is it for!? Since this is what I wanted this is how I tidied my house. I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of my home at first but there more I went on the more clear this goal became. These feelings were poured into the home and they even lingered. They became contagious as everyone in the home shared in these feelings as they walked into the room and interacted with it. They felt more joy which also spilled onto the room and on the cycle went. Doesn’t that sound like the best?!
Now, I am not saying that there are never any negative emotions in the home. There certainly are since that is how life is. But there is an overall feel to the home that has shifted to more of what I want since I have changed how I tidy and how I approach my home.
The most amazing and simply thing that Marie Kondo says is, “How can you tidy if you never learned how?” I really struggled with this one becuase I thought, well, I am an adult with kids! Of course I should know how to clean, organize, and tidy. I didn’t even realize how hard I was being on myself! I have never even learned how to tidy (sorry mom) but I expected myself to be the expert regardless. It’s funny how we do that to ourselves.
Following the KonMari method has made me feel so much more confident, and less overwhelmed, with tidying. And not just cleaning or organizing. Marie Kondo’s concept of tidying is that once you do it you don’t have to do it again! I have to admit that this also seems crazy but once you start doing it you also realize that everything has it’s own happy spot and cotinually reorganizing isn’t really necessary anymore. I have only been following this method for a few weeks now but I have to let you guys know if this is really true in, maybe like, a few months.
My biggest advice is to not be so hard on yourself about tidying up! Read this book and give yourself some confidence in tidying. My other advice is to be demanding or a dreamy as you would like about your home. It’s your home! It’s your playground, your retreat, and the place that refuels you. If it’s a place of stress and overwhelm it’s almost like you can’t even truly give yourself the rest that you need. And we all know that this is a must as a human!
One other big thing that i wanted to save for last is how much I have learned about myself. How the simple act of tidying has shown me what I want my home to look like and even what my personal style looks like. I have an even clearer vision know of what I like because I am realizing how those things make me feel and my house feel.
If you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up yet read it! It’s a real game changer! If you would like to see more of my minimalism process and utilizing the MariKondo Method in my own home make sure to go to my Instagram page @thesemiminimalist where I have the tidying (among other tidying methods since I moved into my home!) saved under my highlights!
Thank you so much for taking a look at this post. I hope it was personally helpful to you! Happy tidying!