I got the audio version of this book thru my library. I listened to it twice it was so good. It starts out a little slow with the author talking about her childhood and obsession with tidying.
Her philosophy is very different from the mainstream and is insightful and wonderful. Start with getting rid of everything you do not love or does not bring you joy. Instead of working from room to room, she has you gather everything in one category. She starts with clothes, then books, then papers...etc. I cannot remember all of them.
Her methods are simple but very effective. I have already got rid of all the clothes I was hanging on to that honestly I was never going to wear again. She has a chapter on folding clothes properly. I am now excited to fold my laundry and do it willingly because Marie's folding method makes it fun.
I am going to gather all of my books and sort those next.
I know a secret. If you have too much stuff and it's bugging you then get rid of it. All of it. Well, nearly all of it. Save a few things but only the things you absolutely love, the things that spark joy within your being (you'll know it when you feel it, says the author) and don't bring more things into the house unless you love and/or need them. Don't think you can do that? Well, never mind then.
This author wants you to be absolutely ruthless with your possessions and do it in one fell swoop. Don't dilly-dally and put certain unpleasant things off. Absolutely do not waste money buying "storage solutions". Just get rid of your stuff and you won't have to store it or dust it or leave it there to feel bad for itself. Now, none of this is a bad thing (though the last might be a wee bit kooky) and honestly I'm all for it. I had way too much crap lying about and it was driving me crazy. Broken crap, ugly crap, gifted crap, crap that had been there so long it was invisible to me. But this book has a problem and it is a BIG one that I'm betting many of you here on this site may take issue with as well.
Step #2, you see, is books. BOOKS! Step freaking two is BOOKS. As you can probably easily imagine, I am stuck here on step #2 because, well, it's a call to action to rid myself of my precious books! I've been collecting books since I was twelve years old. I have a lot of books but I'm afraid I may love them all.
#1 was clothes, shoes, accessories and that was a breeze. Who needs clothes taking up space that could hold a few books? This was easy, thought I. My closet was done in an hour or so. Everything culled, sorted and color coded and folded all nice and tidy-like. I could blow through this, thought I. A zen and clutter-free life was within my grasp. I had this. Then step #2 happened and I was instructed to rid myself of all of the books I have loved before (but may not love again) and all of the books I have not read yet. Uh oh. I was told to remove my TBR pile(s) from my life. Forever. And almost always. She'll allow you to re-buy digitally if you are pining away and dying of sadness for it. I was instructed to touch each one and see if it sparked that apparently not-so-elusive feeling of joy within me. Trouble is they all kind of did. I suppose I am broken. I tried folks, I truly did. I took pictures and even posted them online in an attempt to humiliate myself into following through. I even went so far as removing a gigantor bookshelf, stocked three piles deep, floor-to-ceiling, from my room as well as an armoire I no longer needed. I have to admit my room looks and feels calms and free and spacious. The bookshelf now neatly resides in my basement. I pulled off all of the books and starting sorting them but it made me incredibly sad to think about tossing them out of my house where they might potentially end up in a trash/recycle bin (according to the author everything has feelings so how could I allow this? Better they be a little lonesome on my shelf than DEAD, right?!). Instead of tossing them into bags, I started arranging them by color (which she wants you to do with clothes) and then I put all but a dozen or so back up on the shelves. They look happy and pretty and they brighten the back wall of the basement. I have decided that I am keeping them. They are my one and only vice and I work hard. They are not clutter.
I think I shall pretend that step 2 was nothing but a fever dream.
After I was revived with sniffing salts I got back to business. So next comes all of the other stuff which I can easily part ways with; the paper, the stuff no one ever eats, the gadgets (my days of bread baking are over), the broken things that we've been thinking we'll fix someday, the mementos, pictures and all the other useless crapola that has been residing in the basement since we moved in a million years ago. I've removed countless bags of trash and several car loads of "stuff" and hauled them to Goodwill and I miss none of it. It is so much easier to clean my house now. I haven't followed this plan as written, it's difficult when you live with several other people, so we still have some bins and crud to get to but now I'm inspired to keep at it.
This book will give you some unique tools and I do recommend it if you skip step two or perhaps save it for last, if you're anything like me. She has a nifty way of folding clothes that helped me fit everything into a few drawers and will keep me in check if I decide I need more yoga pants. You really do see just how much of each clothing category you own when you pile them all on the bed/floor and separate them into their own little categories. She doesn't declutter by room but by category. This stops you from getting stuck (on pictures or mementos which are left for the end) and forces you to deal with an entire category and actually finish the job so you never have to do it again. She also tells you to start with a clear vision of your end result. That bit of advice has helped me tremendously.
The author clearly has an obsession with tidying. She does not deny this. Apparently, she's been this way since she was a wee, strange child and goes into great detail at the beginning of book about her childhood hobby of "tidying". This makes the start a bit of a slog. I found some of her beliefs a little quirky and I will not be emptying my bag out each night so my stuff can "breathe" only to put everything back in come morning (what the?!) but if you can overlook some of the odd things she says, you'll more than likely find something here to help you out.
I listened to this book first on Audio and then read it to make sure that my ears were hearing correctly. I firmly believe that you should hold on only to what gives you joy and have worked very hard recently to purge and purge on many levels and areas but...... when the author says that she can't imagine that there could be more than 30-40 books that bring a person joy - well I about wrecked the car! And then I almost had a heart attack to hear her talk about tearing pages out of books and throwing mutilated books away - much less her cavalier attitude about throwing books away. I would rather get rid of 90% of my wardrobe than purge books or even tear out pages. Never mind actually throwing books away! As Sheldon would say, "The HORROR".
Wait, you know haters are gonna hate, but why are so many people loving this book. I listened to it, and my first thought is that the author seems kinda like she might fit a DSM-5 Diagnostic Classification for mental health issues. I mean she has been obsessed since the age of 5 with decluttering and organizing.
She said kooky things about how your possession might feel, and that if you let them go they will return to you in another form. Thank your items one by one and then discard them. Only keep the things that bring you joy. (which is great advice)
Here is the part that I think is gonna be the sinker for all of us on PBS. She said that she had met people who often have 3 books to be read hanging around. And some have up to 30 books. She even mention one client that had 3 bookcases. Gasp 3 bookcases of books. She also wants you to store your book cases in your closest. Plus get this. Why not just rip the pages out of the books you feel are keepers and just keep the pages? she suggests. Gasp. rip up a good book?
The audio set has 4 Cds, and the last talks about feng shui. I sure wish she had started with this, as it explains that there is this idea that all items have a life force and energy. I would not have thought she was so off her rocker if she had told me of this whole idea instead of suggesting I think about my possessions feelings, and that these items might feel unneeded, wanted to be released and needed to rest.
The last part of the book she talks about how she did a great deal of tidying in order to gain her parents approval and that she never really did relate to people very well. Gee, I was right on target that she might have has some relationship or mental health issues.
Overall she just wants you to discard everything you dont love, as it just causes stress. Everything! Dont save stuff for someday. Dont save manuals for your washing machine, dont store info or data that you could find say online, if you were ever ever ever to actually need. But use shoe boxes as containers for things you need to store in drawers or cabinets. Plus no stacking; you must fold your clothes in a certain way and do vertical rows. Folding is fun she tells us.
If you dont have time to read or listen to this book, just go throw things away.
A bit repetitive in the beginning, and I am mostly ok with throwing out my stuff or donating, so I almost quit it. But the sections on how to fold and load drawers was eye-opening and worth the read! I am actually redoing the drawers! Cannot believe the space I've gained. And convenience. Also, every once in a while she throws a simple thought out about ditching paperwork, loving what you keep, that just pops your eyes open. I actually jumped up once and ran to the file cabinet to grab more stuff to shred. And I am pretty good about keeping up with throwing it out...or so I thought.
A quick, worthwhile read.