So You've Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson: Compulsively readable, but somewhat unsatisfying.
New Nonfiction (with commentary): 27 July 2015

Marie Kondo's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: Not really meant for me.

I don't actually know what kind of magic it's going to take to change my life, but sadly, I don't think tidying up alone is going to do it.

Have you heard of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing? It's a bestseller and it's been getting a lot of good press (including some good words from readers I either trust or like or both). So I thought, my house and life are a mess, and this book is only 213 pages long, let's give it a whirl.

It was a fun (and somewhat useful) little read. Kondo's a well-known organization and decluttering expert, and in short and delightfully straightforward chapters she advises you (basically) to touch all your stuff, figure out if it "sparks joy" in you, and if it doesn't, ditch it. There's more to it than that, really, but that's the gist. She also concludes that if you tidy up your surroundings, and more fully appreciate fewer possessions, you will change your life for the better.

Let's get one thing straight: I'm totally on board. For at least the last decade I have had no problem throwing stuff away. Likewise, it is pretty easy to avoid acquiring things when you can only shop for fifteen minutes at a time.* One friend who told me about this book was telling me she didn't know if she agreed with the part of the book where Kondo suggests emptying your purse every time you get home (so as not to accumulate odds and ends, etc.). At that point I emptied my pockets onto the table: card wallet (reinforced-with-tape paper credit card sleeve that I use to carry about 5 important cards), cell phone, keys. I said, "Done!' She laughed but I do suspect she rather thought I should have my Girl Membership revoked.

But the thing where she tells you to ditch anything that doesn't "spark joy"? Well, whatever. If I actually abided by that there would be very few possessions left in my house. I hate my stove, for instance, and disdain its glass-top surface as ridiculous every time something boils over. And that old red short-sleeve sweater? Well, it's the only thing remotely appropriate to wear with my black "funeral skirt" (and you can guess why I keep that around). So you see my difficulty in going along with that one.

But at the end of the day? I did read the whole book and was somewhat charmed by it. I'm not going to start folding my clothes the Marie Kondo way, but the other day I did thank my house for housing me so nicely (she also recommends frequently thanking your possessions for their service) and it was nice. Did it change my life? Not really. Was it a harmless way to express joy and gratitude? Sure.

I'll take it. Have a good weekend, all.

*I ABHOR shopping of all types (except book-) and Mr. CR jokes that we only have fifteen minutes in any given store before I start hyperventilating. This smacks of high maintenance, I know, but it does mean that people you're shopping with start to learn to make their choices quickish.