Book review: The life-changing magic of tidying.

By Jennifer Janson, Editor.

I’ll admit, it was with some scepticism that I picked up Marie Kondo’s bestselling book. I doubted the benefits from a business perspective and as I’m generally allergic to new fads, I was definitely not going in with an open mind.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The simplicity of this book is what makes it so beautiful. This is stuff you can do tomorrow – and feel an impact the very same day.

For the first half of the book I had an image in my mind of a rather genteel American woman who had spent years living as an expat in Japan, sharing her insights with the great ‘uneducated’ in the ways of tidying up. This was my vision of the author until I dug a little deeper and realised Marie Kondo is, in fact, Japanese. And an official clutter consultant. And the book is translated. This started to make a lot more sense because the writing style is rather clunky in some areas. And there are cultural references that took me aback (at one point she extolls the virtues of dressing up to tidy up).

But I was able to overlook all of that.

The core theme of the book is that to truly declutter every area of your life you need to do three things:

  1. Identify why you want to do this
  2. Commit to discarding things around you that do not spark joy
  3. Say goodbye to those things with gratitude

It’s almost impossible to tell people this without making them laugh. But when you read the book, it makes a lot of sense. Kondo gives you a formula for working through every area of your life, starting with the easiest area, and moving onto the most difficult. And believe me, once you start, it’s addictive.

What is the implication from a business perspective? I suppose it’s obvious, really, but in getting rid of the physical clutter in your life, it seems to free up space in your mind too. And an uncluttered mind is far more creative, focused, efficient and productive.

Having started on my own home, I was compelled to work on my space at the office. It’s an ongoing process, but I feel better, and more efficient already.

Still sceptical? Why not check out this short video of Marie Kondo working with a journalist at Fast Company to tidy her desk?

I’ve seen this book coming up in business book bestseller and top ten lists time and again over the last couple of years, and now I know why! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is the book for you.


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