With the exception of my early childhood, I’ve always considered myself a tidy person. I’ve always enjoyed cleaning and organizing my room. I spent a lot of my time perusing Real Simple Magazine and watching HGTV shows where people go through all of their stuff and organize with fancy systems you could buy from The Container Store. One thing I have struggled with in the past, is controlling how much stuff I have. I can remember being a kid and having a TON of toys. After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I know I’m not alone.
I kept hearing a lot about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying online and put off purchasing it because I didn’t think I needed it. I look around my house and think, for the most part, it’s pretty tidy. Being clean is a whole other issue. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I have moved three times since age 21 and my parents have even moved out of my childhood home. These events have forced me to go through my belongings several times and in the process, I have let a lot of things go.
My love for Mid Century Modern and Scandinavian spaces has led me to want to get rid of even more. I love open, bright, and neat rooms. I don’t think I’ll ever prescribe to the minimalist lifestyle but I do want the things that surround me to be things that I love. Before picking up the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I had already gone through almost all of my clothing (at least what was in my closet and dresser) and dropped off five or so laundry baskets of stuff to Goodwill.
I really struggled to make it through this book. It isn’t one that really captures your attention so it may be difficult to read through the whole thing. There were many times where I shook my head and though “well, that sounds like BS”. However, I did take a few things from it. The first concerns purging. I don’t think I have a huge problem letting things go but lately I have had to force myself to dispose of sentimental items such as cards, gifts, and childhood items. This book has given me the push I needed to say “thank you for the happiness you gave me upon receiving you but it’s time to let you go”. I still hold on to some of those things but I don’t feel the need to keep every single item.
I’ve heard some criticism about the book and how it boasts the “privilege of clutter”. I can kind of see where this is coming from as Marie encourages people to throw away excess. She assumes you can just buy more when you need more, but that isn’t always the case. However, this book isn’t for everyone. It’s not meant for the fleeing refugee that only has the shirt on their back. I definitely rolled my eyes at times throughout this book, but it did encourage me to keep what is important to me, and let go of the things I have that don’t “spark joy” or have a purpose. I hope it will help me live with less material items, which is one of my goals this year.
In conclusion, is this book for everyone? No. Is it worth reading, sure! It’s only 224 pages so it isn’t a difficult read. There were a couple positives I took from it that I will apply to my own life and I do think it will maybe help me buy fewer items and get rid of even more excess that I don’t need. I don’t think I (or anyone, really) need to go full hog and throw away everything but the necessities because if you have the room, it’s OK to hold on to mementos and backup items if you have the space.