I have been into the minimalist culture, simple life and decluttering for many years now, and have read lots and lots of books, blog posts and articles on these subjects. So when the KonMari hype started, I decided I wanted to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing , too. I put myself on the waiting list in the library, and a week ago I finally got to loan out the book.
I read it very quickly, in a few days' time. Parts of it were very annoying to me, like the constant talk about trash bags - how many trash bags people fill, and just the general idea that whatever you declutter should go into trash bags of all places, and then be thrown into the trash. I mean, how wasteful is that?! I would never, ever throw usable things into the trash! I would always try to sell, donate or at least recacle them. At times I thought, what a pampered little young brat Kondo must be, just encouraging people to throw stuff into the trash, when other people are in need and could well use all those clothes and stuff Kondos customers just toss out. That part really outraged me. I am very well aware that many people who read Kondos book won't of course do it like that and use their own brain, but just the idea that she even would suggest that makes me angry.
Other parts of the book I really liked and could start using right away, as they kind of resonated with the way I think, too. I love the idea of thanking your stuff and your house for their good service. I did that while decluttering clothes, and it made it so much easier to let go of things, knowing that I part with this shirt or blouse "on good terms" and that it "knows" I appreciated it and its service. I've always had this deep knowledge in myself that even things are somehow alive, and that's why I really loved this suggestion.
The concept of sparking joy was also an eye-opener. I usually keep everything as long as I can still use it, but indeed when I looked into my closet with the joy mindset, there were several perfectly good pieces of clothing that just didn't give me joy anymore. I took them into my hands and immediately a mental picture would arise. If the picture was me, looking bad in some way or bringing up bad memories, I put the piece of clothing onto the donation pile, after thanking it of course, with a light heart, knowing someone else will get much use out of it.
In general I am very happy to have read this book. It gave me new inspiration to look through my stuff, and I will be continuing with books very soon. One can notice just how young Kondo is and that she must have had a very secure childhood financially. I think that with some more years and perhaps seeing the world outside the walls of Japanese apartments where only well-off people live will give her ideas and writing more depth and understanding about the world.
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