Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Even though I'm a clutter-ridden person by nature and could certainly use a book to help curb those tendencies, I probably wouldn't have read this best-seller if it hadn't been selected for my book club. Then, the book didn't come available at the library in time and I opted to skip the meeting. Even though I no longer needed to read it for discussion, when it did come in, I decided to go ahead and read it after all.

The premise of the book is fairly simple. The author urges readers to sort through all of their belongings, in order, asking the key question of "does it spark joy?" She recommends starting with clothes, then books, then papers, then odds and ends, then mementos. As evidence of my own problem with too many belongings, I had to laugh at the idea of piling all my books on the floor in one spot to evaluate each of them in turn. There is not a spot big enough to contain all the books we own. Of course, I could simply start with my own books, as she suggests and that might be more doable. Still, of all the things I own, parting with books would be my most difficult chore. I understand that I probably won't read them again, but I still prefer to keep them and yes, they do spark joy (well, maybe not all of them - so I guess there is always room for some tidying - ha).

She sounds quite ruthless when it comes to papers - another downfall of mine. She would simply toss them all. But, I am a writer. Many of those papers are drafts and revisions and the like. I would do well to organize them, but even that seems like a monumental project.

Still, I came away from the book with a desire to tackle my stuff. I know there is a good deal of purging that could be done and I agree that it would benefit more than just the relieving of space. Clearing clutter would free my mind and emotions. I agree.

What I couldn't agree with was the author's continual conversation with the things she encountered. She thanks clothes and bags for their assistance after her day is done. She writes as if socks have feelings about how they are stored.

It would require a great deal of effort to put the advice gleaned from this book into practice. She suggests it might even take six months to accomplish. Do I have the energy and motivation to stick with that kind of goal for six months? I don't know. But, I'm game to give it a go. When the boys go away to visit Grandma next weekend, I might just tackle my clothes and see if I can keep the momentum going into books, papers, and mementos. Although my husband would wish me to change up her order of attack to papers, books, clothing, and mementos. He really doesn't care how many clothes I keep. He is more concerned with ridding our house of the endless papers and books (he has his own hoard of numerous books, so he acknowledges it as a mutual problem).

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