Full Title: The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy

I laughed, but I’m not proud of myself. This satire for fans or non-fans of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō, takes no prisoners in its scathing examination of the minimalist movement. As it clearly states in the intro, this is not a self help book. As a librarian, I’d add that it is under the Dewey Decimal classification 818s (humor) rather than the 130s (self help), so that claim would be true.

First, let’s make one thing clear, I’ve loved ‘de-cluttering’ various rooms in my house and finding those objects that ‘spark joy.’ But, I couldn’t help but laugh at the process of it through the lens Jennifer McCartney provides. Here’s what she has to say about ‘life changing magic’: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your station in life or making changes to things you’re unhappy with. I guess. But be wary of neat slogans and books that promise life-changing magic. The only real magic in the world is from unicorns and the high you get from poppers. pg 19

I’ve never felt like a failure at the ‘tidying process’ but Jennifer’s book should appeal to those who do. Here’s her advice for how to ‘Be Free’: “Let go of caring, let go of guilt and feelings of failure. Breathe in good messy, breathe out boring tidy.” pg 28

In her book, Marie Kondo writes about thanking her small purse for its service at the end of every day. Jennifer has different ideas about the care and functionality of your handbag: “…you should always purchase the biggest purse you can carry. Here’s a good purse test: Can it fit a bottle of wine? No? Move on. Yes? Buy it.” pg 75

At times, Jennifer is downright dismissive of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing‘s teachings about every object having a “spirit” and she’s particularly vitriolic about the way Kondo rolls her socks. If that is going to bother you, you may want to skip this one.

A humorous read alike: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do by Sarah Knight. Warning: contains approximately a billion f-words.

Thanks for reading!


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