Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Perspective-Altering Books ~ The Great Purge of 2015 ~ Decluttering Series

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Before we leave this series on decluttering, let's talk about two books that have been wildly popular in the wide blogosphere this past year. I finally gave in and found them at my local library, and I'm quite pleased that I did.

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

The most interesting part was the chapter about a ten-item wardrobe. Apparently, the wardrobes in Paris are small enough that a woman simply cannot have very many clothes. This, then, requires the purchase of quality items that don't need to be replaced quickly and tops and bottoms that mix-and-match. I could totally get into this, especially if all the pieces go together. Too many choices make my mornings stressful. I know it's ironic, considering that I post outfits every once in a while for Modest Monday or Twirly Tuesday, but I'm not one who enjoys choosing clothes and trying out new outfits on a regular basis. How freeing it would be to step into my closet and choose something I love without stressing about what goes together!

A later chapter also notes that clutter is not chic. Jennifer writes about the elegant Parisian apartment of Famille Chic and its clutter-free furnishings. That makes sense. If I spend money on a beautiful, quality coffee table, I want to be able to see it. Many times, I wished the book had actual photos. But that's why we have Pinterest, right? J 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I had read about this book on other blogs, so I thought I knew the general idea. But there were so many finer points that I was glad I read it. Marie suggests discarding all in one spurt, but as I continued to read, she mentioned that some of her clients take up to six months to purge completely. So, I've been tackling a closet or a room at a time, and I've been scanning like a mad woman. With other responsibilities and eight total people in the house, I need a bit of time. But the drive to keep going is there, and that's the important thing. I can't agree with everything she says, as happens in many, many books. For example, I don't think my things are going to feel anything, let alone feel refreshed, when I release them. Also, I didn't just get rid of all my papers. Some, yes. But others I scanned to keep digitally. In the end, I still appreciated the spirit of the book. Eliminate clutter. Keep only what you absolutely love, and, I would add, what serves a purpose. 

Neither of these books' authors claim to be a Christian. Their points are, obviously, still valid. Judging by some of the materialism and hoarding I've seen in The Church, we Christians don't have all the answers. I only want to add one caveat to these two books ~ prayer. Infuse the entire decluttering endeavor with prayer. Prayer for strength to keep at it. Prayer for wisdom to know what to eliminate. Prayer for our children to understand the changes. Prayer for items to bless the recipient.

Have you read either of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments! J

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  1. I have read Marie Kondo's book. It has some great ideas, ones that I had never considered, such as storing clothing vertically in drawers. However, I do wonder if Marie has kids? I think that her method would not be quite as successful with a large family who must store a variety of tools, school materials, playthings for multiple ages, possibly building supplies, etc. But she does give a new perspective on decluttering and a lofty goal to work toward, which makes it a valuable resource in my opinion!

  2. It was nice to meet you at the Christmas program the other night.

  3. I would love to read that first book. I have been thinking of cutting down my wardrobe, because I just have too many clothes that I don't wear regularly--and so do my kids!

    I have the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up sitting on my bookshelf right now. I really NEED to read it--but I started and was put off in the first chapter about all the promises she makes that will happen to someone who tidy's up. But you are right, just because I don't agree with a few things doesn't mean the book doesn't have value. I think I am going to have to give it another go. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I've read Kondo's book and really enjoyed it! She had a lot of great points, and helped me to realize that if something wasn't being used or bringing me joy, it really doesn't need to take up space in the house!
    I haven't read the first book, but it's on my to-read list, so hopefully I can knock it off soon. Thanks for the recommendations!

  5. I love the last sentence of your post. I bring stuff to thrift stores regularly, but it just never occurred to me to pray that those things would bless their new owners. So thank you!
    As for the clothes, different things work for different people, I guess. For me, it is the least stressful to have complete outfits (that I really like!) in the closet ready to go. Mixing and matching, on the other hand, means more thought and more stress in my life. But I do agree that the things in our wardrobes/houses need to bring joy and not mess/distraction in life!

  6. I am working through this book right now. I am still only on clothes, but it is absolutely life-changing. Thank you for sharing. I would love for you to find my link up party http://faithfilledparenting.com/2015/12/faith-filled-parenting-link-up-party-3/

  7. I have not read either of these books, but I did read "Throw Out 50 Things" by Gail Blanke. It was very helpful to me, though I also didn't agree with all her ideas.

    It was interesting to hear your perspective on these books. I like the idea of mix-and-match clothing, but it would take some time to convince myself that I really should do that. My main dilemma would be that I like prints and solids for both tops and bottoms, but I have to choose just one to do that! :-)

  8. Very interesting - I haven't heard of either of these books. Thanks for sharing with The Cozy Reading Spot


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