Our April Virtual Book Club choice is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. We’re starting to see signs of Spring after what felt like a long Winter so this one sounded like a great idea to kick off some Spring cleaning. The book also seems to be all over the Internet, as we saw it on podcast, blogs, and magazine articles!
Overall Pop Rating (1 to 5 stars, more stars the better we thought it popped!)
B: 2.5 stars. I think the overall message is a good one and she has some interesting ways to think about how to tidy your home. But, I’m not sure it needed to be a book – a full length article would have been just as impactful. There are quite a few examples which could have been removed completely.
T: 2 stars. I wanted to love this book, but the author’s tone was a bit too condescending and black and white about things. She kept saying how not a single one of her clients ever reverted back to a cluttered space and I find that very hard to believe!
Why were you drawn to read this book?
B: I struggle at times to get rid of things, especially sentimental things or gifts from others, so I was hoping to learn a new way to approach tidying these types of things. I also have friends and family who have read it*, loved it, and were able to take actionable steps from the book.
T: One of my intentions from the Life with Intention online class is to have a tidy, stylish, and uncluttered home. I thought this book would help me figure this out. I also love having things organized so I thought I’d enjoy this book.
What is one thing that you will take away from this book?
B: I like the concept of asking yourself “does this spark joy?” before deciding if you will keep or discard a specific item. Her goal is to help you create a home where you are surrounded only by things you love, which is a concept I can get behind.
T: I like the idea of looking at each of your possessions and determining if it sparks joy. I don’t know that I agree that this should be your only criteria to keep something as the author suggests (for example: what about a white tank top that I wear underneath things? It does not spark joy, but I’m not getting rid of it!).
Who would you recommend this book to?
B: Hm, this is a tricky one. Perhaps someone who has an open mind and really has a desire to try a new approach?
T: I would pass on this one!
*So, I say above friends and family who have read the book. Well I spoke to one of them – my mother – and she approached the book as more of a reference guide. Meaning, when she wanted to organized her books, she read that section, and then put the book down until she was ready to tackle another section. While this isn’t part of Marie Kondo’s philosophy of tidying the entire house in one go, I thought it would have been a better way to approach the book for me then reading it all the way through.
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