What hasn’t been said about this book and the movement it spawned? Did The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up change my life?
No. My willingness to read the book and follow its direction helped prepare me for the divorce and subsequent move that would change my life and for that I am grateful. Genuine value resides in the ideas and methods put forth by Marie Kondo. I particularly responded to two ideas.
One was that you should begin the process of cleaning out your stuff by questioning what life you want to live in the space you have. The rounds of questioning help clarify what you want, why you want it and how it will work. By adding in a thoughtful component, Kondo turned the process into more than just sorting and storing and donating and tossing out. There’s a goal in mind, a prize. The life you have wanted is possible if you are willing to dig it out of the haphazard pile you’ve made of your rooms.
The second idea I responded to is requiring people to touch all their stuff. Pull everything out of cupboards and drawers and the back of the car. Pile it all up. When things are in a place in your home or car or cubicle or work truck then they have by their very location developed squatter’s rights (at least in our minds). A thing is sitting on a shelf so it must belong there. A thing is in the side compartment of our truck so it must belong there. But once everything is dethroned (as it were) and put in a jumble with every other piece of clothing you own or book or tool then it suddenly loses its privilege of place and becomes just another thing to be picked up and thought about.
“Does this spark joy?” People love to make fun of the idea but I think it is pretty brilliant. Instead of focusing on what you are going to get rid of, you focus on what you are going to keep. What matters is what stays, not what goes. For someone going through a divorce, this can begin a healing process that starts from the outside in.
The books says that if you do the process right, you will only ever have to do it once. I don’t know about that. I did the process about 3 years ago. In that time my life has changed a great deal and it feels like time to go through the process again. Here’s some irony for you. My ex husband just gave me a physical copy of the book.
So the universe offers an opportunity. I think I will take it. I’ll let you know how it goes.