Book Report: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This was a book I had been wanting to read for quite some time, but just never got around to it. So yes, this book report isn't very timely, but lots of folks I know have also been "meaning to pick this one up!" and haven' I thought it was worth a quick review.  

What I liked:

There's nothing that I dislike more than when books gives you vague and unhelpful solutions to the problem it's trying to solve. Marie Kondo gives you step by step instructions to achieve results. 

I kid you not, it took me 2 hours to read. I underlined a lot and wrote down some key points - but for the most part, skimming was fine. I had read lots of reviews saying that because it wasn't written initially in English, it makes for a choppy read...but I didn't experience that. It was just very plain and simple. Of course the real time is spent actually purging and going through stuff, but the actual read is quick and easy. 

Here are some takeaways (consider this your SparkNotes)

1. You have to change your way of thinking before you change your habits. So, just willing yourself to be a better "tidy-er" is not a thing. You have to mentally prepare yourself before you start. Good wisdom for this, also, life. 

2. We should be choosing what we want to keep rather then what we want to get rid of (41). When I first heard about the main premise of holding each item and seeing if it "sparked joy" I'll admit - major eye-rolls. BUT I will say, that when you're looking at stuff with the eyes of being able to keep it because it's wonderful rather than throw away because it's less wonderful the whole purging experience is more pleasant. I was surprised at how few (well, I mean, for me. Let's not get carried away here...I still have a full closet!) things I wanted to really keep. 

3. If you want to be a person who treasures what they have, you need to get rid of the things that have outlived their purpose (paraphrase, pg 61). Damn. So here's the thing. I should have probably prefaced with this. I am a hoarder with certain things. I have LITERALLY 4 WEEKLY PLANNERS THAT I DO NOT EVEN USE. I bought them because they are cute (ok, I bought 3 and 1 was a gift), and I used to be a planner person in school so of course I needed them! But, I've realized that I rarely turn to paper because I have very few assignments that I need to keep track of. I have sadly become someone who uses the calendar on my phone to organize my life. Which is cool. Which means I need to freaking get rid of the planners. Same rule applies to everything else. Shirts (how many grey tees does Lauren need?). Shoes (this is a touchy subject because...SHOES). Etc. 

4. Ok, this one WRECKED me. She mentions that little thing we do of saving every piece of note paper from every conference or seminar or church service or seminary class (ok, I added those two), which strikes right at the heart. I have a file drawer of papers that I have not looked at IN YEARS but for some reason I feel compelled to keep. I kind of ignored her tips when I read through on this one, but as I am writing this, I feel convicted. I need to part with them. She gives a great reason - stating that when we decide to keep this useless (ouch) material, most of the time we don't actually put the learnings into practice. We trick ourselves into thinking that we will put them into practice after we've given the materials another read-through...and then we never do. Pesky. So those gotta go. 

5. I loved this idea: that the things we like don't really change over time. So, putting the house in order is a way to find out what those things are (175). Brilliant. 

6. Tidying is an act of restoring balance in people and possessions (190). I love this. There is nothing better than a clean house. A clean room. Oh, the joy of balance. 

What I didn't like:

I live in a large home with 4 other girls, so while the tips helped me organize my own room and office (at work), I can't really put the method into practice with the rest of my home. When you combine the stuffs of 5 20-something's going to get a little crazy. So, this isn't much of a critique on the book as much as it was a learning for me. Unless you're the sole inhabitant of your house (what a dream!) or the primary decision maker on organization in your house - you'll have to be OK with only practicing in spaces that are yours. 

I pretty much ignored the section on purging books. I know, bad Lauren. But here's the thing, it's been a lifelong dream of mine to have an in-home library, and I know if I purge books, I'll regret it later. I purge every once and awhile with books I didn't like or know I will 100% never read or pass to a friend...but I can't bring myself to part with many others. I keep them contained to their bookshelves (well, I try. Let's be gracious on that one.), and they aren't piled up everywhere creating a mess. But - if you're a better person than me and don't feel like parting with a good book is like giving away a child, then I'm sure you'd be into this section. 

Who is this book for?

If you are overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF you have in your home/office/life in general...this is a good read for you. It will convict you (which is always good motivation, at least for me) and inspire you to make a change. 

If you feel like you are pretty organized overall, but you have a few spaces that you think could use some tidying up - i.e. office, spare room, kitchen, etc., then this is a good kick in the pants to get those rooms in tip-top shape. 

I would argue that most people (unless you are insanely minimalistic and have nothing in your house) would benefit from reading this little book. 

You can pick up a copy on Amazon. Or, if you're a friend, shoot me a text and I'll lend you my copy! 

LR //