September Book Club: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Our September book club pick is here – it just might help you refresh and renew for the season ahead!

The time between seasons has always felt special to me. It’s a time of transition, offering the opportunity to reset, look forward and set intentions for the months ahead. Weather shifts, priorities change. Often, we mark this time of renewal by refreshing our space, clearing the cobwebs that may have gathered during the busy months prior in an effort to think and see more clearly, in all senses. With autumn just around the corner and the time to clean up and clear out upon us, this month’s book club pick felt obvious to me: Marie Kondo’s wildly popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo, a Japanese cleaning and organization consultant, introduces the reader to the KonMari method – a method touted to guarantee lasting results and create a calm and motivated mindset.

Over the past several months I’ve found myself feeling weighted down by the burden of stuff. Too much of it, and not enough space in my small Philadelphia apartment in which to store it. These days, as we seem to accumulate more and more needless things, it’s become increasingly common for people to rent storage units in order to hide away the excess. I’ll admit, this idea is one that has crossed my own mind on more than one occasion, but I’ve refused to succumb, knowing that the solution wasn’t to hide it away, but to finally get rid of the glut and change my ways. For good. As a packrat-by-nature, the guaranteed results of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up were too good to pass up and so, I find myself with Kondo’s book in hand, and plans for some major cleaning and organizing on the horizon.

I’ll be discussing the book and chronicling my journey to tidiness all month long, and I’d love for you to join me! Pick up a copy today and be sure to check back each week for discussion and a breakdown of each section.

FP Sept Book Club- Tidy Low Rez 05

This weekend I’ll be diving into the first and second chapters. The first, titled “Why can’t I keep my house in order?,” delves into the why behind our clutter and Kondo’s technique. Here she explains why it’s best to tackle categories over rooms and why being a “storage expert” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking”

It’s in this chapter where she recommends tackling your clutter in one full day, rather than over a period of time. While the idea sounds intimidating, it makes sense…how often have you compiled a small bag of goods to donate with plans to do more the following day and then…you don’t? And the bag sits there…and then you pull that sweater you were on the fence about in the first place from the bag and…well, you catch my drift. It’s like ripping off a band-aid – the faster you do it, the faster it will be over and you’ll start to see results.

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The second chapter, Finish discarding first, delves into the actual act of decluttering and discarding and the emotional ties we have with the things we needlessly hold on to.

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.”

It’s here where we’ll truly begin to reckon with the items we’ve held on to for a needless amount of time and where we’ll finally learn how to just let go. For me, this is a big one. With my tendency towards sentimentality, I can think of a number of items off the top of my head I’ve held on to for far too long that just need to go, but until now I’ve been unable – or unwilling – to release my grasp.

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FP Sept Book Club- Tidy Low Rez 02

+ So, are you in? Whether you choose to grab a copy of Kondo’s book or just follow along here on the blog, I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey.

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  1. Hell yeah I’m in! Just downloaded this on Kindle so I could read it on the go (even though I have the printed copy too!). Decluttering is one of the BEST things I can do to make myself feel accomplished. Lack of “stuff” or just having things that make you truly happy is the best. I can’t wait to dig into this and follow along on the Free People journey :)

  2. It disappoints me that Free People is jumping on the bandwagon for this book. I’ve read it and can’t believe it is such a runaway success. Decluttering is WONDERFUL but a majority of the things she presents in this book borders on insanity. So many other great books on decluttering and living with less… I can’t imagine picking this one.

  3. Hi Karen, thanks so much for your comment! I chose this particular book for the month because there’s so much discussion happening around it – both critical and complimentary – which makes for a great book club pick, but I’d love to know your recommendations for similarly-themed books :)

  4. I had requested this book from the library and took it home and having found that it was not to my liking I simply kept it on a table in the balcony for the duration of time borrowed until it was due back at the library. There are many books on ‘De-cluttering your life, your house, and to tiding up’ for the better of you and the environment; I could not find any new information from this book. Knowing that I had this book outside on the table did spur me to organize some things that I had been meaning to rid of.

    If nothing else, this book is meditative and makes one ponder some big questions or none at all.

  5. Such an AWESOME choice for the current book!!! I LOVE de-cluttering, it gives me such an expansive feeling of freedom every time I get rid of all the excess stuff…it feels like a mental and spiritual cleansing as well as a physical one…I need to do that more and more… and a bit more… I recently moved in with my fiance in sort of a hurried move in which i simply boxed up and moved all my “stuff”. now its time to let as much of it go as possible…. thank you so very much for the wonderful reminder to get to it!

    The Weaver Of Words…..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale

  6. Discardia
    The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life

  7. I loved this book. It made a huge difference in my life and how I look at things. I now have the least amount of stuff that I’ve had in my entire life and I feel free. :)

  8. I purchased the book some time ago. I finally started reading the book last week. I have found it to be helpful. I have read a lot of books on de- cluttering and this has been the most helpful. I am finally able to purge!

  9. @Karen how so? Some of them might sound a bit exotic or quirky if you have never had anything to do with Japanese culture (Marie Kondo was a Shinto shrine maiden, and this clearly imprinted itself on the book), but I wouldn’t say that most of it is unreasonable or insane.

  10. This was my book-of-the-year for 2014-15. KonMari is a gratitude based method of keeping what you love, it’s not about “decluttering,” but focus on the joy. Anyone can teach decluttering and organizing, Marie Kondo takes a paradigm shift and goes to a deeper level. The result is a home that just feels amazing every day. I can’t even imagine anyone reading this book and not loving it! I’ve read a lot of organizing books but this is the gold standard.

  11. I’ve read others that are enamored with it too. Each to their own, of course. I didn’t love it, don’t at all see the gold in it and enthusiastically recommend other books on the topic when asked.

  12. I have not only read this, but done the whole thing. And it’s really life-changing. It has changed my shopping habits, my space actually stays tidy. My wardrobe is also really tidy and suddenly all of my clothes work together and I’m getting more compliments an my outfits than ever before.

    The things is, this is not my first time decluttering. I have done countless wardrobe purges before and followed many guides to organise and declutter my home. This is the first time that I have seen a permanent change!

    I gave almost of her “weird ideas” a go, even the ones I was really skeptical about, and I was surprised at how well most of them worked. So don’t diss it if you haven’t tried it. Just test it out on your wardrobe and then we’ll talk.

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