Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo

Title: Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
Author: Marie Kondo, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano, illustrations copyright 2012, 2015 by Masako Inoue
Publishing Date: 2016.
Publisher: Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, New York. Originally published 2012 and 2015, by Sunmark Publishing, Inc., Tokyo, Japan.
Pages: 292, including Index and Copyright page
Date Purchased: March 18, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-60774-972-1
Reading Dates: June 10-July 1, 2016

The book is divided into two parts, of three chapters each: Part I encompasses "Master Tips," which is a "how-to" guide on the more subtle points of the KonMari method. Part II is the "Encyclopedia," which covers the more practical aspects of organizing and tidying up following the KonMari method.

The book is not too different from most organizing books I've read, including those written by Peter Walsh. The thing that separates this book from the average organizing book is the added spiritual dimension that KonMari gives her method, which is based on the practice of the Japanese animistic religion of Shinto. In the Shinto spiritual belief system, all things, including what we in the West would consider "inanimate" objects, are considered to be imbued with spirits. Kondo encourages her readers to respect these spirits by thanking and saying good-bye to any items they may be discarding or donating.

This may seem strange to the Western mind, and to practitioners of monotheistic religions, but the way she describes it, Kondo's explanation makes sense. I would suggest that if you don't feel comfortable thanking and saying good-bye to your things, then maybe thanking the deity of your belief system for allowing you to have enough wealth to provide such things might be preferable. Then thank the deity for allowing you to have more things to replace or use in place of the objects you are discarding. We in the developed world tend to forget how lucky we are to have enough and even more than enough than we need, so being grateful for our things would not be out of order.

One of the things that I liked about this book, more so than her previous book, was her humbleness and her willingness to admit when she was wrong and made a mistake and that she would work to rectify it. I think that is one of the qualities that has won Marie Kondo fans around the world.

As a book on organizing, I found it inspiring, though not inspiring enough to plunge into KonMari-ing my apartment. I'm going to think long and hard about that, since I have a roommate and shared spaces to consider. That said, Marie Kondo lays out her method in detail in this book, and many of the questions and contradictions that were raised in her last book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, are answered and clarified.

Whether or not you decide to undertake the KonMari process and apply it to your work or living space, I would recommend discussing your plans ahead of time with anyone with whom you share your space, so they know what's going on, if it affects them. It seems to me that's the polite thing to do. However, don't let their reaction stop you from undertaking the process, as far as it relates to your own things and space.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Taking A Break

I apologize for my long absence from this blog, and my perfunctory posts of late.

There's a family health crisis going on. When such things happen, fashion and pretty much everything else take a back seat. My sister is not doing well. Since she was the one person who talked to me regularly about what I wrote on this blog, plus a lot of other things, I've lost interest in posting. Not that my other readers don't matter, but since very few people comment, it's hard to worry about interacting with an audience that I'm not sure is there, taking an interest in what I write. I'd write anyway; I enjoy writing. But right now I'm focused on what's going on with my family, which is not an appropriate topic for this blog.

So I hope you will understand that I need to take a break from this blog for an undetermined length of time. I will respond to any comments, but I won't be doing any new posts for the time being.

Take care, and be well.