Clean up your crap: a book review

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book coverWell, that’s a very sloppy title for the book I just finished by Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but there’s the gist of it as it gets filtered through my brain. Ms. Kondō wrote a lovely, short book about her method of “tidying up”, as she calls it. But that word (tidying) grates on my nerves, so we’re going to go with “cleaning up your crap”.

Anyway, on to the book!


Kondō writes that the way to clean up our homes and our lives is to take a look at everything, and if we don’t love it, lump it. No, seriously. Don’t worry about whether you’re still going to have enough underwear to make it through the week, don’t worry that you won’t have an outfit to wear to that super-specific event, just discard anything that you don’t absolutely love and everything will work out okay.

And for goodness’ sake, when you’re going through your stuff, don’t leave anything out! Otherwise, she’s going to throw it away. (If you didn’t remember it when it came time to look at everything, clearly it’s not worth keeping.)

Don’t forget to re-learn how to fold your clothes, either.


I enjoyed it. No, I really enjoyed it. To be perfectly frank, thanking items for their service, or for the purpose they served, is not out of my realm of acceptable concepts.

And let me just say right now that I keep absolutely everything. I keep things out of guilt. I keep things because of “someday”. I keep things because I spent good money on that. And I keep things because I’ll fit into it again, and seven years ago when it fit last it was so super cute! So I am the target audience here.

What Kondō has written makes sense to me, and I am beyond excited to try it out. And I hate to clean! (Unless, of course, I’m angry. Then I clean as an expression of my fury.)

Fine Points

There are a couple things, though, that I will adjust for my sanity. Not that I think I know how to clean crap up better than the author, but I do know me pretty well.

“Quickly” is going to have to mean a few weeks. If I start losing steam, I can probably pick up the pace again, but I only have a few weekday evening hours and one weekend day available to do such things.

And I’m going to have to run things by my family. There are things that have been entrusted to me with the understanding that I will keep them. In this process, I’m not supposed to involve my mother at all, but I don’t want her to find I’ve given away or trashed something that would “spark joy” (Kondō’s words for what happens when you find something you should keep). Or, you know, send her into a deep spiral of sad.

Buyer Beware

Okay, I should address the fact that this book is kind of hokey. Thank your house for sheltering you? Give each item an “address”? And I just flipped through a couple of reviews asking about finding joy in beige underwear and carrot peelers.

I get it. I really do. This isn’t for everyone, and if you’re rolling your eyes while reading it, don’t force it. Find yourself another way to clean up your crap. There are dozens of ways, and while Kondō hasn’t had any clients slip back into their pre-tidying ways, that doesn’t mean that this is the only route.

And Finally

I’m going to take pictures.

I’m going to work very hard not to attack my husband’s stuff or my kids’ stuff in the process because “I know best.”

I’m excited.

That is all.

Productive days

Yesterday, with the day free from usual obligations (day job), I did get much more written than Sunday or Monday. I wrote 224 words here on the blog, and 1,950 words of fiction on 001, a yet untitled feline tech narrative. My fiction total for the year is now 3,355.

I am still off target. I knew 3,700+ words per day wouldn’t be easy, but it’s much more difficult than I expected. Part of that is that I’m trying to write a good first draft, and I’m used to writing Zero Drafts. (I define a zero draft as what I would write in November for National Novel Writing Month, consisting of words on the page to reach the word count, and not thinking about plot or the craft of the story at all.) My hope is that as the month goes on it will become easier as I develop the habits I want.

There are some non-writing related jobs that I would like to do to improve my writing speed as well. While I can’t afford a new computer at this point to act as my writing computer, I do have an older laptop that I think will do the job. I’ll install a word processor, and a friend will remove Internet capabilities. With that monster sitting on my desk, I should have a space to turn to that is just writing, not gaming, emails, or web surfing.

To be able to use the desk, I need to clean out underneath it. There are boxes of items I’ve brought home from my office that I need to process. I imagine virtually none of the items are actually useful. I could probably clean that area out before the weekend if I pull a box out every morning to sort through.

I’m still in a “throw all the things away” mood, so that will be helpful.

I’m very glad the new year is here. While I’m not looking forward to returning to work today, I’m hopeful it will pass quickly and I’ll get to enjoy my evening soon.