Christianly Book Review #1: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by MW Cook

Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up” is not a Christian book. It has nothing to do with Christianity. I didn’t even finish it. Nevertheless, it seems an ideal first book for the year of living christianly because it’s the first book I read this year. If I dig hard enough I can find parallels, I bet.

First, Marie Kondo promises big stuff. She claims if you do it her way, your house will never get cluttered again. Crazy, right? In a completely different way, Christianity offers to change your life forever.

Second, the KonMari is really simple. “Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.” That’s on page one. You could stop reading and just do it now.

Third, the KonMari is surprisingly difficult. You have to go through every single possession, category by category, physically handling each, and keep only the things that spark joy. Seems risky. This is where most people stop. Just like rigorous Christianity!

Fourth, something about the KonMari seems to really work. We KonMari’ed our house during Christmas break and there hasn’t been any return to clutter since. In the same way, we’ve all heard stories of people whose faith overcome real-life problems.

Fifth, I only had to read half the book to get benefit. I read the whole thing and learned the KonMari fold (it looks really cool) I’d have even more KonMari magic. Even so, the amount of KonMari I was able to put into my life was enough to make positive change.

Sixth, the KonMari changes how you look at things. We had twenty garbage bags and three van-loads of clothing, toys, electronics, books, gear, trinkets, utensils, dishes, furniture, and et ceteras that we are better off without. It’s not that we don’t need it—we don’t even want it!

Seventh, the KonMari makes it so you are only surrounded by the things you love. This parallel is a little reachy, so I’ll unpack it. While the KonMari offers freedom by removing unloved things, Christianity teaches indiscriminate love. In both cases, everywhere you look you see the Beloved.

Eighth, the KonMari can seem unpalatable, scary, against common sense, and is rarely seen through to its core. Similarly, the really powerful and difficult things at Christianity’s root tend to be left undone. G.K. Chesterton had a point when he said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

All in all, I recommend the KonMari because it worked for me. It was a great way to clean house in preparation for my year of living christianly. If you have the time and will-power, get a copy, read half of it, and lay siege to your fortress.

The next christianly book review will be significantly more christianly.