I disliked Ms. Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’m warmer to Spark Joy: an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up. It’s significantly gentler: Ms. Kondo has softened her “my way or else” invocations, acknowledging that people can use other approaches to their possessions, in particular when it is necessary to assess the utilitarian stuff of life like garbage cans and screwdrivers and legal papers. Even if it means keeping items – gasp! She has also begun acknowledging some of the sources of her knowledge, which I wish I could explore, but sadly they do not seem to be in English translation: The Thrilling Art of Not Discarding! by Shinobu Machida and a magazine titled Himawari, published in 1948 by Junichi Nakahara, a well-regarded fashion icon of the time. But I still don’t see her truly taking learning and thinking styles into account. I still see her quirks underlying (undermining?) the suitability of her process for many people. She now recognizes that her intuitions are in line with Feng Shui principles: that can be as useful a starting point as any other, if it resonates with you. As with all organizing books, read it for any and all support you find within its pages. Just perhaps remember that no one book will solve all problems.
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