Title: The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up
Marie Kondō
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Review Spoilers: N/A
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It’s no secret that the KonMari method of cleaning has taken the Western world by storm. Ever since the terrible Gilmore Girls revival name-dropped her and Younger satirized her methods, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. 

A few months later, and here it is – in manga form.

Unlike the longer version of the KonMari method, this is a short, illustrated jaunt through boy-crazy, messy Chiaki’s life with a few step-by-step pages of tidying tips.

I think I would have preferred the original book much more. Let’s just say that Chiaki’s story doesn’t feel very empowering: she’s a self-admitted hopeless romantic who picks up a series of hobbies to fit whoever she’s dating at the time. She has no real personality outside of her love life. And guess what? She wants to tidy up her apartment to snag a man!

Well, maybe that isn’t specifically the reason she wants to clean, but it’s certainly implied. Her neighbor/love interest appears throughout the book, and only takes interest in her after she cleans her cluttered apartment.

Like any self help book, you gotta really lean in to the methods to see if they work. Unfortunately, the storytelling comes across as preachy, so I’m not willing to try most of them. I do like her organization system for papers (3 folders depending on how long you need to keep the documents and which require responses) and her approach to cleaning emotionally-charged items.

I can see myself putting some of KonMari’s methods to work, but some don’t seem practical (emptying your purse every night and folding most of your hanging clothes) or don’t translate well culturally (e.g. clapping your hands to ‘wake up’ the energies of old clothes, sprinkling photos with salt to remove their bad energy.)

The other downside is that we only get about 5 pages of actual how-to KonMari method, wrapped in 100-plus pages of illustrated parable. Throw in a dash of existential crisis because a manga version of KonMari makes you question how much of your life is lived with intent or purpose, and how much of the sh*t you’ve accumulated in your life is ‘just because,’ from your career to your relationships down to your f*cking winter sweaters, it’s a rip-roaring good time for anxious people.

It really begs the eternal question, “What in my life sparks joy?” and “Have I ever experienced true joy?” and “AM I A JOYLESS HUMAN BEING INCAPABLE OF HAPPINESS?” 

Needless to say, maybe not the best book for neurotic twentysomethings.

If I ever do decide to go full KonMari and tidy up my life, I do feel like I’m better equipped to do it. But in the meantime, I think I’ll take the book, close my eyes, hold it in my hands, and thank it for its service. Right before it goes into the library donation bin.

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