Dr. Helen

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

I recently purchased Marie Kondo’s Amazon #1 Best Seller Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up because I tend to love organization and decluttering. Of course, now decluttering has now turned into a fetish or outright disorder because every behavior has to have a downside these days. That said, this little gem of a book is fun for those of you who want to put some order or just some simplicity into your lives. From the description of her first tidying book:

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

The book is both helpful and insightful and yet, rather puzzling about what kind of joy one gets from over-tidying. The author says that the reader should pick up each object and feel it and if there is no joy to pitch it. She does discuss function but overrides its usefulness at times when she throws important things away. For example, she threw a hammer and some tools away and then tries to use a frying pan as a hammer. Well, naturally it didn’t work and she lamented throwing her hammer out. She did acknowledge at that point that utilitarian things bring joy as they help us get things done.

There has to be a happy medium here somewhere when it comes to decluttering. I tend to throw things out pretty quickly too but a set of tools and some objects are just necessary to life. Perhaps joy should be the determining factor when it comes to throwing out clothes or knickknacks but when it comes to some items like hammers, etc., not so much.