The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

This is the book that inspired last year's addictive Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I adore Marie Kondo and I was so excited when her book turned up on Brotherhood Books -- I'd been waiting to nab it for ages. After watching the show, I was inspired to reorganise my drawers and discard lots of clothes. This is stage one in the Marie Kondo de-cluttering process. Then I managed to clean out the kitchen cupboards. But alas, I got stuck after that.

Marie Kondo comes across on TV as a sweet, quirky, almost elfin presence -- kneeling to commune with the house before she begins the tidying process, thanking each article of clothing for its service before she discards it, squealing with delight and clapping her hands in her swirly skirt and neat blazer. But under this dainty persona lies a will of steel and a ruthless determination.

There are two parts to the Marie Kondo process. The Netflix series focused primarily on the first part: throwing stuff out. But the second part is just as important: finding a home for everything. This is the part we have trouble with at our house. I'm pretty good with my own personal possessions but there are lots of things in our house that 'float' -- just looking around me now I can see remote controls, magazines, jigsaws, notebooks, textas which are picked up and put down randomly as required. This is the very definition of clutter!

Then there are the contents of laundry and hall cupboards which might be cleaned out periodically and reorganised (my other half is very keen on this activity, which we call 'shifting deckchairs'), but not really in a systematic way. So we end up with three lots of extension cords, two boxes of batteries, several rag bags etcetera. One area I can't agree with Kondo is books: she says get rid of them all! (Okay, almost all.) But my books spark so much joy that I'm going to break that rule.

You could summarise Marie Kondo's philosophy very simply as 'when in doubt throw it out.' This works well unless you start to get squeamish about landfill, but the real point is not to keep acquiring stuff you don't need (because you probably already have it but don't realise it, because it's lost in the back of a cupboard somewhere), and to truly care for the things you do have. I think I'm inspired to have my life changed again!


  1. The Marie Kondo process presents a particular difficulty when one of the couple is a hoarder (and a little hint - it's not me!) I've had to realise that there is no higher moral value to tidiness. Some people are easily overwhelmed by mess and disorder - some can tolerate or even enjoy it. My husband refers to his 'oasis of chaos'. I like to keep my drawers and wardrobes neat and sparse, he likes his to overflow...but we manage to cohabit fairly peacefully.

  2. Of course you're right, there is no moral value to tidiness, but I must admit untidiness does make me anxious (not dirt though, I would rather be tidy than clean!)
    My dad is a hoarder, though he doesn't get much opportunity to indulge his habits in aged care, and one of my daughters also has hoarding tendencies. I try not to let it get to me, but it is difficult to turn a blind eye to her overflowing shelves and piles of STUFF. Luckily we had a moth scare in her room and I was able to leverage that into a bit of a clean out... I dread to think what she will be like when she has her own place!