I was excited to find Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up at the library since I had read great things about this book.
It's a tiny book full of wonderful tips and information about decluttering and organizing your home. While I found her references to treating items as living things a little disconcerting at first, I thought that the different perspective that the author gives on this subject was interesting and thought-provoking.
I have read lots and lots of books, magazine articles and blog posts about organizing and decluttering. Every year, right after Christmas, you can find me going through each room in our home and trying to organize and declutter the same things I organized and decluttered the year before. I thought this would be just another book that would give me the same information in a different way. But that was definitely not the case. Right from the first page, the author throws all the accepted organizing rules right out the window. Her advice on organizing by category, instead of by room, what to throw away and even how to fold clothing was different from anything I had read before.
One of the most eye-opening things I read was the advice the author gave about the greetings cards we can't bear to part with. She writes:
"This means that each card has fulfilled its purpose the moment the receiver finishes reading it."This advice freed me of the guilt I feel when thinking about throwing away a card or letter. I realized that I don't need to feel guilty because I have received the message that the sender wanted me to have. She goes on to say that we should keep cards that "spark joy" in our hearts, a recurring theme in her book.
For me, organizing and decluttering has always been a tug of war between my frugal self and my minimalist self. I hate to let anything go that might be used in the future and might save us money months from now. This quote from the book was especially thought-provoking:
"Of course, I am not saying that my clients have never regretted discarding something. Far from it. You should expect this to happen at least three times during the tidying process, but don't let it worry you. Even though my clients have regretted parting with something, they never complain. They have already learned through experience that any problem caused by lack of something can be solved through action."I don't need to let the fear of regret stop me from letting go of something. If I do find myself in that situation, I can take action and challenge myself to find something else that I could use or find some other way to solve the problem.
Two other quotes from the book that challenged me:
"But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future."
"...we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of."I really enjoyed the new ideas and insight into organizing and decluttering that I learned from this book. Now the hard part begins: putting the ideas into practice.