Top critical review
DOES THIS BOOK SPARK JOY?
7 August 2018
The writer asks us to hold each item in our possession in our hands and ask this question - Does it spark joy? If it doesn't, then discard it.
I bought this book on several recommendations. But I should have asked myself if the thought of reading it sparks joy before buying it. This is the biggest take-away from this book. Now I find myself asking this question whenever I go shopping. If the thought of eating it, wearing it, doing it, doesn't spark joy, it's time for reflection.
And that's it. The rest of the book is minutiae of how to discard and store things according to the Kon-Marie method which the writer invented which reads like a self-praising professor who gives boring lectures on how his past students did extremely well due to his teaching methods and how other teachers aren't that good or effective.
The irony is that this book is for hoarders but hoarders would never pick up this book. Or even if they pick it up, they would just pick it up to hoard it and not to read it. Or to read it and never follow through it. And if you are thinking of gifting it to someone you think has a hoarding problem, forget it. Hoarding is a psychological issue and unless the person navigates and cleans rubbish off their mental recesses, reading this book is just another dump in the ocean of mental junk.
The gist of the book:
- Take up cleaning the whole house (or universe) at one go! This probably won't work if you live in a joint family with your kids and parents and parents-in-law because you'll have to spare a week or two for it- on your own without interruption.
- Discard anything that doesn't spark joy. (Alas, I have bought things when I was younger and stupider and I have no spare monies to buy them again.) But this book maybe the one to go.
- Sort things by category, not by location. Example, if you are sorting the clothes, then sort ALL the clothes in your house at once, not just in one cupboard. (This is great, but I have all my stuff in their exact location already)
- Then the rest of the book is about how to store items in a cupboard (for which if you follow the book, you might need new cupboards with more drawers and clothes that don't wrinkle), how to clean the bathroom, how to arrange things in the kitchen, how to sort papers and documents and books, how to let go of gifts you do not use, etc. etc. etc. etc. till you get bored of reading the book about cleaning and decide to get rid of boredom by watching a movie and the idea of cleaning goes out of your brain and into the same vacuum of universe you were trying to clean.
(P.S. I read the whole book)
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR:
- People who already follow a routine cleanup of their stuff. For example, I have decided I'm only going to keep a certain number of clothes in my cupboard. I buy clothes ONLY when they get worn out or stop fitting. I do not buy clothes every Diwali or even for any close family member's wedding. Anything unused for 5 years has to go.
- People who are quite organized or like organizing tactics like DIY storage solutions. This book is against storage solutions and instead focuses on discarding.
- People suffering from some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders- we guys are already doing great at cleaning. No need to bend ourselves double and ruin our lives over it by reading one more book on it.
- People looking for an idea on minimalist living. This book is not about minimalism. I thought it was so - going by the white cover with the word 'Japan' on it. But that is why we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and people by their home-organizing techniques.
- People who like window shopping.
- People who go shopping whenever there is a 'sale'.
- People who 'have to have' something when they see something on a store window.
- People who have a hard time discarding things out of guilt or any sentimental value.
- People who have other people (usually mothers or wives or domestic help) to clean and organize things for them.
- People who have overflowing wardrobes and bookshelves.
- People whose lives are out of order (in existential crisis of some sort).
So I held this book in my hand after reading it and asked myself - Does this book spark joy?
It is a very easy read, but like a boring chemistry textbook unless you are really interested in the subject.
[I bought a paperback copy of the book. The font and binding are good.]