June 8, 2015

Tidy and Organized Crap Is Still Crap

There is a psychic cost to owning stuff... even if it is tidy and organized.
I have not read Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing". From what I can see, she is into helping people organizing their stuff.

But tidy and organized crap is still crap.

In all fairness, it appears the author is in way deeper than just making a bunch of useless stuff aesthetically pleasing. The few choice quotes I went over tell me she is also urging people to own less stuff.

Less stuff, but more meaningful stuff. Things that speak to your soul and add to your life.

A bunch of messy stuff is soul-sucking. A bunch of organized stuff a little less so. But just enough stuff to help you engage in your passions and priorities is a blessing.

The following quotes suggest that putting this book on hold at the public library for further research may be a good idea. There are some real nuggets of wisdom here, and I speak from personal experience in my quest to live on the least amount of stuff as possible.

And no crap, organized or otherwise.

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
- Marie Kondo


  1. I just wrote a post with a link to an article called "Let's Celebrate the Art of Clutter." I thought of you when I read it. Here is an excerpt:

    "The stuff we accumulate works the same way our body weight does. Each of us has a set point to which we invariably return. Each of us has been allotted a certain tolerance, if not a need, for stuff; each of us is gaited to carry a certain amount of weight in possessions.

    Some of us, rare breeds, tend toward the minimalist; some tip into a disorder of hoarding. Most of us live in the middle range. How marvelous it is to simply accept that, and celebrate it".

    Although the article is written with humor, I'm inclined to think she's right with the above statement as I can't seem to get past a certain point of de-owning.

    You can read the whole article here:

    1. How interesting. Sometimes the things we own, including clutter, can become a form of art in itself. As long as your things are useful and beautiful to you it probably doesn't matter so much on the quantity.

      Some people can find themselves by living with next to nothing, others by interacting with the things they own. So long as we make that discovery, it doesn't matter how we get there.

      For this reason, I am fascinated by hoarders, minimalists, and everything in-between. Thanks for thinking of us and fuelling more thought on this topic. Great post.

  2. This book is actually more about getting rid of the excess than about organizing. Yes, she goes into organizing too, but I think it's much more about paring down and letting go of what we don't love. After that, organizing is easy since there's much less left. While I don't agree my possessions have feelings (this is common in Japanese culture so I hear), it's definitely worth a read. I'd already downsized my possessions quite a bit, but after reading the book I was able to cut my clothing, books and many other categories by half at least. =)

    1. I appreciate you filling in the information I was missing. From the quotes I expected that the rest of the book would be excellent. How exciting that it worked for you. I look forward to reading it soon.

      Can books have feelings? I think that trees have feelings, and books are made from trees. Perhaps some residual tree energy gets transferred to the books. I like to think so.

  3. Anonymous6/10/2015

    The book is very much aligned with your approach; I think you'll like it.

    1. Thank you. I am looking forward to reading it.

  4. I like the title of this post. Very Much. "Tidy and Organized Crap Is Still Crap."

    I'd give the book a one star. But I wasn't able to read it all. The message and delivery of it was not worth my investment to read all of it. Perhaps the author has Obsessive-Compulsive behavior problems.

    May be some good quotes in the book here and there if they are out of context with the book as a whole though.

    To me it seemed her message was 'if the crap you have sparks joy, then keep it and use her obsessive organizing system to store it. One size fits all. She seemed adamant about her way was the right way for everyone. I found some of the suggestions about how to organize and store crap to be labor-intensive!

    And I surely don't need to keep all the things that spark joy! I'd need a mansion to store it all!

    I liked one suggestion in the book. Bring all of the same items to one place on the floor, then sort through it, like your clothes for instance. That way you truly see how much in one category you have. It does make it easier to scale down when it is all together out of the closet for instance. It makes you face reality of how many shirts you really have. That's not a fresh idea. Ask anyone who is relocating.

    I thought it clever how publishers/marketers design this cute little book and cover. Gimmicks like this take off like wildfire in popular culture and marketers take full advantage of it! Authors of these kinds of books get turned into gods or a gurus creating a huge following. Authors seem to love the embellishment of such fame and cash. I always want to know what the author's credentials are. A coach?? I'd need a lot more background on this philosophy and author before I could sign up.

    Will be curious to see what you think of the book if you read it. My plans are to recycle the Tidy book. From the parts I read, I don't feel comfortable passing on or keeping the copy I have in circulation.

    Agree with you fully, crap is still crap. I gotta keep things real simple.

    If I were recommending a good book about dealing with the things you own, I would highly recommend, "Making Peace With the Things in Your Life," (2002) by Cindy Glovindky, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. I found her second book, "One Thing at a Time," (2004) helpful also.

    The author is a practicing psychotherapist and personal organizer. It was written before the de-cluttering/down-sizing movement was in full swing. She is down-to-earth and has no angry agenda. She respects individuality and humanity. She has a sensitive, calm and rational approach to coming to terms with the things you own. She is deeply rooted in approaching "things" from a psychological perspective and physically getting rid of excess stuff.

    When I read anything in her books, I am motivated to take the next step, get rid of some more crap. But she is not a motivator per say. It is more the way she explains things that makes me want less "things" crap.

    I've read many books on de-cluttering, organizing, etc. These two are the only ones that I still have on my shelf. I've read them twice and pick them up when I am stuck and can't get going on de-cluttering. I also read randomly on Not Buying Anything Blog for inspiration and support as I make my way on to a more simple lifestyle.

    I am not a professional book reviewer! I am just sharing what book/s I liked on the subject and found worthy to stay on my book shelf.

    There are hundreds of quoteworthy statements in both books. My books are earmarked and underlined. I just opened "One Thing at a Time." I'll leave you with a quote from the book at the end of a section about clearing out deep storage areas like the attic, garage, etc:

    "Purge everything you can and consolidate the rest. Remind yourself that the more you take out, the more you'll be able to clear out your living space and live clutter-free."


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