July 28, 2015

On Apologies and a Book Review: July 28, 2015

We have a famous family story that involves a visit to another province when I was about 11.  During this visit, we met some second cousins for the first time.  One of these cousins was an only child who seemed not entirely used to hanging out with other kids.  At some point, this child kicked my sister’s hand.  Asked for an explanation, she replied, “Oh sorry!  I was aiming for your face!”

Of course, it was not at all funny at the time, but it became hilarious as the explanation for anything incredibly stupid that was made worse by the explanation.

This little snippet doesn’t have much to do with de-cluttering, but it is an example of how all-over-the-place my head is tonight.  It also came to mind with the story of the (now)notorious dentist who mercilessly slaughtered a fan-favourite lion in Zimbabwe.  “Oh, sorry!  I was aiming for the NOT famous lion!”

There are, however, times when an apology is both necessary and meaningful.  People do do stupid things.  I did something incredibly stupid today, for which I am going to agonize for the hours, days, and weeks to come, but I really wanted to acknowledge the grace with which the apologee (is that a word?) accepted my apology.  I have a lot to learn.

With that said, I will now shift gears onto the raison d’être of this blog: de-cluttering.  I had promised a review of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I have now finished the book.  I am here to tell you that, while my life has not changed, I ended up being more entertained by the book than I’d expected. I also dog-eared a page so I could find this quotation to share with you about the effects her assistance in tidying-up have had on her clientele:

Their figures are more streamlined, their skin is more radiant, and their eyes shine brighter.

I don’t know if they also became wealthy and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but certainly the author seems to truly feel that there is something magical about purging.

This is not an attitude one generally encounters in books about dealing with cast-offs.

That, and the glee with which she tallies up the sheer amount of GARBAGE her clients generate is rather astonishing.  I kept thinking “Japan is an island” and wondering where all the garbage ends up.  It’s odd that she never mentions any environmental concerns other than to occasionally suggest recycling a thing or two, as an option, if you want.

My overall impression was of having met with someone who is charmingly bewildering in the earnestness with which she espouses her nutty ideas. I’ll admit I shuddered at her accomplishment of having convinced a lawyer couple to just turf all their documents.  It’s kind of like the Atkins diet of de-cluttering books.  Does that comparison not work?  I guess I’m thinking of comparing it to the fad diet of the past – a diet everyone shakes their head at because it was just so darn single-minded.

If you’re reading this book just for the tips, I’ll give you the tips to save you the cost of the book:

1. Sort your stuff by category, put it all in one place, then throw out everything you don’t love, and do it all at once.

That was going to be a list, but really that’s the entire deal.  If, however, you’re planning to read the book to enjoy the adorable kookiness of the adventures of a woman who falls to her knees (literally) in gratitude in the homes of her clients and offers warm chatter to the actual house, please enjoy the adventure.

I did appreciate the fact that she even prompts her readers to get rid of the book itself it if didn’t spark joy.  I’m happy to lend it to you, I think I’ll flip back through it now and again just for the joy of it all (however silly).

Day 270 scorecard: 1350 down, 495 to go

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