Housekeeping Nirvana

(Ten Speed, $18.99, 304 pages, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60774-927-1)

What is the "pathos of things"? The Japanese expression mono no aware portrays the profound feeling conjured when we are touched by nature, craftsmanship, or the lives of others with an attention to their temporariness. Further, it alludes to the quintessence of things and our capacity to feel that pith. At the point when things are placed in an orderly and tidy manner and our bonds are reinforced with our possessions, we can recapture the affectability to mono no aware.

Influenced by Shintoism, the key to the KonMari method is to save items that “spark joy" and discard the rest. What this book offers is deeper, step-by-step "how-to" instructions for the mechanics of maintaining a tidy home. Yes, here you will find detailed instructions on how to fold your shirts, bottoms, dresses, towels, rags and even bags. She will also, of course, explain what should usually be hung and why. She goes into the philosophy of each room and what should be stored with what. Even better, she assures you that as you tune into the logic of the materials you own, you'll discover what storage philosophy makes the most sense to you and your items.

While many readers genuinely enjoy purging items that do not spark joy, there were some who complained that there were items that left indecision. Kondo gives you permission to hold onto things that you're not sure about; while, advising you to try and make use of them while you decide.

Spark Joy provides details, tips, and diagrams to assist in executing the tidying action plan. Her precise “fabric origami” folding techniques will revolutionize your drawer space.  With the inclusion of her “tidying encyclopedia”, Kondo authoritatively provides instructions on packing suitcases to dealing with unwanted gifts and mementos from the past.

Works like Spark Joy, have flourished and gained luster.  It appears a new generation of authors, like Kondo, mines their rich ethnic veins and continues the American tradition of exploring current social issues and framing them within an intellectual post modernistic context.   It is commonly understood that postmodernism suggests fragmentation in the form collages and hybridity.  Kondo questions the traditional and common place structures used for home organization and offers insight.  Not appearing judgmental, as to distrust the modern views on home organization, she rather excavates lessons from her tidying journey and Japanese culture, becoming the archeologist of an international tidying phenomenon.

Many readers thirst for open, less canonical approaches to housekeeping and home organization. This very thirst has been quenched by Kondo, as she wrote to reflect on the “pathos of things” and how our lives are shaped by things and our inevitable emotional ties to them based on a mix of culture, color, and shape.  She has broached upon this topic with special allure.  

What constitutes the authenticity of this book, and to what extent the reader will allow its material to embroider upon his or her memories, is solely dependent upon the readiness to embrace a new mindset:  the ability to mono no aware.