Book Chat

Book Chat: The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

Whenever the seasons start to change, I always find myself on a purging bender… so Marie Kondo’s latest book came into my life at exactly the right moment! (She would say that’s no coincidence.)
Ready for some Monday morning book chat?
The true purpose of your home and your things is to bring you happiness.
Start date: 9/3/2017
Finish date: 9/5/2017
Genre: Self Help
Format: Paperback
Source: Blogging for Books
4 stars
At first, the manga version of Marie Kondo’s iconic tidying book seemed like a gimmick to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by how useful, informative, and charming I found this little book! In fact, I wish more nonfiction books came in this format. There’s more wiggle room to convey the information in a playful manner, while cutting out some of the repetitive language that’s rife in most self-help books.
The story of one person’s tidying experience is a great fit for manga. I haven’t read the original book or any of the subsequent spin-offs (there’s even a journal now), but I don’t see how Kondo’s specific folding methods could be described without diagrams or illustrations.  Each step of the (very particular) KonMari method is illustrated in short chapters as we follow our main character Chiaki’s tidying lessons with Marie Kondo to rescue both her home and her life. At the end of each chapter, there’s a brief summary of the main points. Chiaki’s story isn’t very profound but her reactions (especially to some of Kondo’s more bizarre strategies) are spot on.
I already knew the gist of the KonMari method, and I knew ahead of time that some her ideas are kooky, but I have to admit: I love it. Yes, thanking your clothing for keeping you warm before letting it go is kind of weird, but it really helped me get rid of some things I’d been holding onto for far too long. Touching each object to see if it “sparks joy” before deciding to keep or discard it is so easy to make fun of, but it was actually kind of revolutionary for me to imagine a home filled only with things I genuinely love. I probably won’t be adding a pinch of salt to rid sentimental items of bad karma, but I can see how the action can help you say goodbye.
You can find a million reviews and Youtube clips from people who have tried the methods themselves, but here’s a quick list of my biggest takeaways:
  • It’s not about what you discard, but what you keep.
  • Discard first! Then organize.
  • Does it spark joy? That’s the only criterion for deciding what to keep in your home.
  • Work by category (not location).
  • You don’t need to buy a ton of new storage containers; use what you have instead, like shoe boxes. (I do this already!)
  • Leave sentimental items for last. It’s surprisingly emotional to let things go even if they don’t serve any purpose, and I definitely struggle with this one!
  • “Someday never comes.” Kondo’s attitude toward books was a big one for me to wrap my head around, but I see her point. According to her, the best time to read a book is right now; if you’ve missed the window, better to donate your unread books and trust that the right information will come your way when you need it. I can’t say I’ll follow this advice to the letter, but I’ve been mulling it over.

I haven’t officially started the KonMari process in my own home, but I always feel like purging when the seasons change anyway, so reading this book sparked some major tidying. Over the weekend, I did a quick purge of clothes, books, bathrooms, and komono (miscellaneous items) with the new “does it spark joy?” criterion. The chapter on books inspired another few bags of books and movies to make their way to a used bookstore, and I’ve renewed my commitment to keeping my “hall of fame”collection whittled down to my existing bookshelves (and maybe even some breathing room for fluctuation). I’m excited to tackle the categories I’ve always had major trouble with in the past: paperwork and photos.

I’ve read plenty of self help books that I never put into practice, but this manga inspired me to take action; now I see what all the fuss is about!

I’m sure you’ve heard about Marie Kondo by now, but you can check out her bio here… and of course you can purchase The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up on the publisher’s website or on Amazon!
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***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***
The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
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3 thoughts on “Book Chat: The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

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