“Keep only what you regularly use, or really love” has long been my rule for tidying. This book says basically that, only changing the ‘really love’ to ‘spark joy.’ I do like that–our lives should be about joy and by selecting some things and discarding others, we focus on those things that do enhance our living. Even a toilet plunger can ‘spark joy’ because think about not having kept it!
The rest of Kondo’s book (the KonMari method of tidying) was not really anything new to me, although based on some reviews I read, many consider it life changing. I wonder if it was boring to me because the author is really building a whole book around a few simple ideas. There were long winded chapters on how to fold clothes so they can stand up in a drawer with the assumption that is what you have–I have mostly shelves, so her system doesn’t even work for me.
Suggestions that are just common sense were presented as if they were sagely wise revelations such as: Gather things that are alike. Tidy items by category, not room. Clean out the insides of closets first so there is more room to put other things away. Provide a space for each thing and keep it in its place. Not earth shattering stuff…A place for everything etc–your mother may have mentioned something about that. She also anthropomorphizes which annoyed me…balling socks is ‘cruel’ and clothes hanging in a closet that is empty end up feeling ‘chilly’ while those in a squished closet ‘can’t breathe.’ She also ritually thanks each item she discards and says farewell to it, as if it would hear and understand and not take the rejection personally.
Her chapter on the kitchen was ok. It deals with the tension between keeping things at hand and keeping spaces free of clutter and easy to clean. When beginning a recipe or meal, she recommends a common system…take out all ingredients and tools before you begin and return them to storage as you finish with them. Her suggestion for keeping compost in a plastic bag in the freezer is a good one for hot buggy climates (my daughter does that in South Africa!).
The book itself, as object, is very tidy, complete with its own lime green elastic band bookmark! Although for me the book did not spark joy, but since I borrowed it from the library, I can joyfully return it–thank you and farewell!
Note: This is a companion volume to Kondo’s first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up which I have not read.