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Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up



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Many of you will be surprised to hear that the first phase of Sage Sleep, Parenting, or Homeschool Coaching is always what I call Sleepscape or Playscape Design, which means pruning, purging, organizing, and inviting with the greatest of intention. There is a direct connection between the state of your home and your and your child’s internal state. Every object, color, texture, sight, smell, and sound has an energy that your child reacts to. If you’re wanting to shift the emotional mood and family dynamic, your home environment is where the work begins. As I had begun work on a challenge for families to kick start this process, I felt called to this book.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is such a powerful book and easily digested read. It’s inspiring and falls perfectly in line with all the Sage Parenting mojo here. As a matter of fact, it is presently being read by my 11-year-old son who is totally digging it.

We keep our home pretty simple and clean, even the nooks and crannies, which is no easy feat with a family of 5. We make routine runs to the donation center as we regularly rotate and organize our belongings. With children, this type of process is not a one-time event, as children grow, change, and evolve practically daily.

And still, that pile of hangers on my closet floor in the above photo are from shirts that had given me pause in releasing for one reason or another. This book gave me even more permission to acknowledge with gratitude the way something served me and let it go because it does not spark joy today – a high criteria indeed and one that I have written about in so many words: “Every object either adds to your peace and joy or takes away from it – nothing is neutral” (that’s me, not Marie, but we would totally be tidying friends, right?).

Not everything in this book is realistic, applicable, or ideal for families (a single woman could live this gospel like a disciple) but that’s okay. There is MUCH to be gleaned here while surrounded by hundreds (thousands) of Legos. The toys and activities that are on those great room shelves are only those that are beloved or intriguing right now, while the bulk are out of rotation and stored in a well organized way, and those that no longer add joy to the family are given a new life with a new family. You see, really good play is messy most of the time, and while her book might not specifically allow for that, YOU can while also integrating the heart of her philosophy and strategies. A tablescape covered in paints, papers, paintbrushes, and rocks is not contrary to clean and organized. This quality activity of childhood actually springs directly from clean and organized. In a sea of chaos, this sort of inspiration of pure creative work doesn’t thrive.

If anything about this book stirs something inside you – seize that (get the book, read the wisdom, let the Japanese tidying spirit move through you (and your home)).

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