book review,  Writing

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

As I stated in my first blog post, I have a messy desk. But the mess doesn’t stop there. I am a busy mom of three and I want to learn to clean my house more efficiently. I know where everything is… but I need some help.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, is a New York Times best seller and it boasts that all her clients that have tried her method, have never reverted back to their messy ways.
This sounds perfect. I know cleaning a house that contains two over worked adults and three young children is going to take some time to get back to order, but after reading this book, I now think that it is truly impossible. Organized, happy and feeling better? Done in a weekend?
Let me back up for a moment.
In the book, it points out that there are different types of people and how they view their things. One type is the person who can never throw anything out (my husband), the type who can throw things out but are lazy, and then the people who are both not able to throw things away and are lazy.
Where this method is totally off base with is, what about mothers who work outside the home? Her book is chocked full of stories of women in their fifties (whose children are grown and out of the house or who are downsizing), professionals in their office space, and single women in their clothing filled apartments.
No wonder she has a 100% success rate of her clients keeping things clean, she doesn’t have little tornadoes following behind what you just cleaned, and making it a mess again.
I do go through the clothes that don’t fit the family anymore, into what can be donated and what needs to be tossed out. This only happens four times a year with the changing of the seasons. I could try to bump it up to every other month but I do enjoy things like sleeping and eating, so I shall have to see.
So where do busy mothers fit into her three categories of people? I am able to throw things out so this eliminates both the first and third, but can a working mother of three be called lazy?
I wouldn’t call my self lazy. I work a forty hour job outside the home, I cook homemade meals (once in a while we get pizza, depending on the time I get home), then laundry, dishes, home work for the kids, bedtime routine, then I read and write for this blog. The only thing that I could be remotely “lazy” in the fact that I’d rather spend an hour with my husband cuddled on the couch watching Game of Thrones than cleaning my house. My husband and I are only on season two, so please no spoilers!
I checked the back of the book for the “about the author” and found what I expected, no mention of children in her life. I went online and looked at her answers to parents who have children. She gives the same advice.
Have the child touch every item and decide if that item gives them a spark of joy. If it does, then keep it, if not, it gets tossed out or donated. My children are too young to understand the concept, let alone be happy with me tossing out their toys. They don’t want to give up the toys yet.
I know that this might go against the rules, but before school lets out, I am going through all the toys, getting rid of the baby ones, as the youngest will be three this summer, and there is no need for them and anything that is broken.
Since my husband has the inability to throw anything out, he will not be helping me in this epic purge.
This all being said all of her advice is sound. We shouldn’t live with stuff in our house that no longer has a purpose. I will be using her methods of folding laundry and cleaning out old clothes that I no longer wear.
Her book does have merits, when I go to look at getting new clothes as I need them, and what I bring into my home. I can also see how this would be truly helpful for people who are out on their own for the first time, or the parent who now has a whole house full of stuff from their kids growing up and want a fresh start.
Where I can’t see it working is in a household like mine. Too many people who aren’t on the same page.
Will my house be the temple of cleanliness that her book is touting, no. Not for a long time. However I can take what I learned from the book and use it to move forward. The youngest is three this year. That means the last one will be going away to college or university in fourteen years. So expect my house to be the Zen of all houses in fourteen and a half years.
Until then, back to stepping on Lego.

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