Friday, September 30, 2016

Try It, You Might Like It #2: Self-Help

"Try it, you might like it" - it's what someone says when they present you with some food you've never had before or your mom wants you to try on some clothes she picked out for you.  I'm using it here on the blog as inspiration to choose books in genres I don't normally read; to branch out from my reading comfort zones; and to maybe find some new favorites!

For this installment, I've chosen self-help books.  I don't think I've ever actually read a self-help book, but with the popularity of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Marie Kondo, 2014), I figured I'd see what all the hype was about.

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 best seller 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. - from Goodreads
Marie Kondo has created a system for tidying and organizing a home that she claims will change lives.  While I agree with her overall message, I found some of her methods to be a little strange and impractical.

Kondo theorizes that an uncluttered home allows us to think more clearly, be confident in our decision-making, become healthier and happier, and help us realize our goals for the future.  I agree that not being bogged down by material items can help someone feel more relaxed and clear-headed, at least to a certain extent.  Some people just like "stuff," and as long as it's well-organized and neatly displayed, I don't see a problem with having lots of things.  When it gets to the point where you can't see your floors or you just have messy piles of things everywhere, ok, that's a problem.  I also think this could even be applied to the workplace - when my desk is tidy and organized, I feel like I can be more productive.

Kondo talks about clients who have thrown out 35 bags of clutter and 200 books on their first round of decluttering.  My husband and I live in a small condo that is pretty full right now, but pretty much everything has its place and our closets are neatly organized - I don't think we could get rid of that much stuff.  Kondo suggests only keeping those items that "spark joy" - my cleaning supplies don't spark joy, but I still need them, and they are kept neatly out of sight.  However, I do agree with trying to surround ourselves with only things that we LOVE, not just for the sake of having things or because they were a gift from someone.

I found some of Kondo's decluttering methods to be impractical.  She says we should not ball up our socks, but instead fold them and line them up in the drawer.  She also says we ladies should unpack our purses at the end of each day.  Some of these methods seem to add a lot of unnecessary work that most people just don't have time for.  As for documents, she basically suggests throwing everything out, as user manuals have no use and paystubs aren't needed past pay-day.  She also seems kind of unsentimental about things like photographs and books.

Kondo believes that one house-wide massive tidying-up is better than doing things piecemeal, even though it may take awhile.  I can't imagine having everything in my house in one big pile, touching each item and deciding if it sparks joy in my life, for possibly a month or more.  I believe doing a little at a time is still a great approach, so it's not completely overwhelming.

I don't know that I would read more self-help books in the future, maybe if I had some specific issue I wanted to work on (kinda obvious, that's what they're for!).  I think instead of trying to apply every piece of advice in a self-help book, I would just pick and choose the best methods that will work for me.  Sometimes you don't need a complete overhaul, but maybe just a change in your point of view, a new way of looking at things.  As far as Marie Kondo and her decluttering methods, I may try some of them, such as paring down our clothes, cleaning out those junk drawers, and getting rid of items we clearly don't need or use - but I'm still going to ball up our socks! 


  1. I'm with you. I think some of what she wrote about was helpful, but she's pretty extreme. I think only true hoarders need to follow ALL of her advice. I do read a lot of self help type books - usually on parenting or relationships. I enjoy listening to others ideas and taking the things that make sense to me.

    Side Note: I am trying to follow you on Bloglovin, and it can't find your blog. Can you create an account and let me know when it's there? Lots of people use Bloglovin, and it's great way to get new readers and regular readers who will read your posts everyday then. :)

    1. Thanks for the advice! I think I have it set up on Bloglovin now - I'm not that tech-savvy, so still working out a few kinks!


I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!