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Click to purchase

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Happy happy joy joy. That’s what I got out of this book.

I live a dual life. At work I am a librarian with a tendency towards OCD. Every paper is filed. My work email inbox is always empty, every email filed in its proper folder. My desk is immaculate.

At home, my personal email inbox contains thousands of emails. I am drowning in paper. There is stuff everywhere. And therein lies the problem.

Stuff. Too much stuff. I know it and have cleaned up parts of my life. My husband renovated our closet and it is a California Closet dream. A place for everything and everything in its place. Something new comes in and something old goes out. It’s a beautiful thing.

Books are a completely different thing. A few months ago I attended a seminar on book collecting. Turns out I’m not a book collector, I’m a book accumulator. Even with the advent of downloadable egalleys for review, I still receive a minimum of 20-25 books a week at my front door. Of those, I have requested maybe 1-2. The rest are unsolicited and for the most part, not likely to be read.

Over time the books have taken over my house. I believe that every room needs a bookshelf, but it was completely out of control so a couple of years ago, I invested in a new wall of shelving, 12 feet of it. I sorted all my books, kept an 8 foot run of nonfiction, an 8 foot run of cookbooks, but the only fiction I kept were books I truly loved, that made me happy, and signed books. In desperation I started a “Pre Pub Book Club” at my library which gets about 30 galleys a month read and discussed.

So when I heard about this book and the “KonMari” method, I figured I would give it a looksee. The library version, thank you very much. A book I could take home, read, study even, then return. Which I did.

There is also a specific folding process for clothes which works fairly well for some things, not so well for other things. Here’s a video with a demonstration – yeah, my bras don’t look like that. And I like hanging clothes more than folding and I’m sticking with that.

So it turns out I did some things right. Like only keeping the books that make me happy. But the KonMari process means you sort by category, not by room as most organizational methods suggest. And that means taking every (fill in the blank,) dumping it in a pile in the middle of the floor, then picking up each item individually and seeing if it fills you with joy. If not, out it goes.

Frankly, I don’t have the patience. Back to the clutter.

4/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo. Ten Speed Press (October 14, 2014). ISBN: 978-1607747307. 224p.


  1. ewhatley says:

    I love this post. Most of my life I was an “accumulator” – books, record albums, tapes, clothes, shoes and on and on. I lived in more space than I needed to accommodate my stuff. I live at the beach now and my life is very small and simple. Several years ago I got brutal about keeping only what I needed and am getting ready to move to a 500 square foot studio condo. Still have lots of books as my friends use me as their book depository. If I haven’t read it, I keep it, but once a book is read it’s passed on for someone else to enjoy. Getting rid of clutter and downsizing is so liberating – like lifting a big load off your back. Also gives you more time – less to clean, less to maintain. For me, that means more time spent on the sand. I’m going to recommend this book to several of my friends who have too much stuff.

    • Stacy Alesi says:

      Thank you so much for writing! You really seem to have a handle on clutter. I must admit, I am completely envious of your beach life. I dream of retiring to a beach somewhere…that said, I can’t imagine retiring. It’s quite a dilemma!

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