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(On Marie Kondo and tidying using the power of ritual in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying)

Whether or not you believe these objects are conscious (I don't think she does herself, really), these suggestions can still be beneficial. In the same way that going to church can be good for you even if god doesn't exist, because of the sense of community and the little biscuits they give out.

Like many classics and religious texts, good ideas are sometimes hidden in metaphor. Humans are bad at rational thought, but great at ritual, pattern matching, stories. This is a book about rituals! "Tidying is not an everyday thing." I would not be surprised if she suggests a small sacrifice to the rubbish bin before starting in a future book, and I bet it would be effective.

The ritual of thanking her bag or caressing her items makes her more intentional about her items. Makes her care for them, prevents her from buying duplicates. It concentrates you on the 'joy' of the items you already have, instead of the lack of items you may not have.

So why does she tell us to caress our clothes and talk to our bag instead of just writing "be intentional about your purchases, and value the things you already own" (very stoic)? Because that wouldn't work so well, would it? If it were that easy the bible would be a two page pamphlet.

Cal Newport talks of the importance of ritual for deep work. It is hard to get into the right mindset to do deep work, so ritual can help reduce friction. Do the same idosyncratic thing to ease yourself into the deep work session. Many great writers have done this in the past.

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Last modified 2019-08-16 Fri 16:28. Contact