Stacy’s Book Note: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

While I’m a fan of home organization books, I never intended to write a book note on one. I don’t want to even hint that you should add “declutter” or “organize home” to your already long to-do list. As with all other book notes, my only aim is to give you useful insights from books so you don’t have to.

I also hesitated because much has already been written about Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (available on my Bookshop or Amazon*). In fact, you can read nearly all of her principles and get a sense of her quirkiness from the NYTimes and WSJ articles.

But, after a conversation about the book with a dear client, I decided to read it for myself. Doing so, I found that there actually are several lessons that can actually be applied to life in general…beyond the home. Here are a two:

Using Joy to Make Decisions

First, Kondo’s basic premise is that we get rid of everything that does not “spark joy.” The obvious result of doing so is less stuff in your home. But, she points out that this choosing-to-let-go also results brings about important inner changes:

One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity. Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills. People who lack confidence in their judgment lack confidence in themselves.

Second, Marie Kondo also recognizes that “joy” for each individual is unique. And, therefore she suggests we trust our feelings:

In my method your feelings are the standard for decision making…. automatically following criteria proposed by others and based on their “know-how” will have no lasting effect—unless their criteria happens to match your own standards of what feels right. Only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy.

Working with so many smart and talented women and parents, I find we can never be reminded too much to: 1) make finding joy a priority, and 2) trust our own internal compass.

Have you read the book? What do you think?

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*Some of the links on this page are “affiliate links” where I receive a small commission from any purchases at no cost to you. Some of these funds will be donated to organizations supporting women and girls.