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Marie Kondo “the life-changing magic of tidying-up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing”

Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

 

Doesn’t Translate for Me

 

As a Professional Organizer, I wanted to give a balanced review of Ms. Kondo’s book. I am quite sure, having explored the website of the Japan Association of Life Organisers (JALO), that there are significant cultural differences contributing to the mindsets of American and Japanese organizers. And credit to my colleague Cindy Jobs as well for for the brilliant observation about cultural differences. I am equally sure that the relative sizes and designs of Japanese and American housing options create organizing challenges unique to each. I am also desperate to believe that there are language differences between English and Japanese which don’t work in Ms. Kondo’s favor – I lost count of how many times “lazy” was sprinkled in her book, and I dearly want to believe that it’s a translation mistake.

But I still can’t give this book a positive review. I would be more willing to if I knew that Ms. Kondo belongs to JALO, but I haven’t been able to find a confirmation. Ms. Kondo claims to have synthesized a huge knowledge base into a perfect system – nonsense, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all in organizing. Ms. Kondo has developed an extremely oddly mixed collection of techniques and it is hard to tell whether they are dictated by her idiosyncrasies. She claims to tailor her approach to each client, but often proclaims “just do it this (my) way.”

I would have been glad to see her give credit to the organizers she says she studied as she developed her concepts – those references are invaluable for anyone who wants to fine-tune what s/he’s learning one-on-one. For example, the idea that our clients are lazy is completely unspeakable to American organizers: our core belief is that 99% of our clients are not lazy, crazy, or stupid; they are trying their darnedest and something is getting in their way.

Ms. Kondo is proud of having a very low backsliding rate among her clients. But she never mentions her drop-out rate. I found myself wondering what it might be.

About Lauren Williams

Me, Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®: I'm a professional organizer who works in homes, home businesses and also small businesses. I'm a NYC native who's spent time in Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Baltimore and now Seattle. All great places, but NYC will always be home, and Seattle will be where I now stay. I help you think outside of the box to get something into the box.