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Tools of the Trade: Tidying Up

by Rita Sorrentino

On a recent flight during the holidays, a woman seated next to me was reading, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. When she turned and asked me if I had read this book, I told her I was familiar with the concept through snippets I gleaned from TV and social media: get rid of those things that do not spark joy, handle your clothing respectfully, and when in doubt, throw it out. After a brief exchange of ideas, I reflected that although unfamiliar with Marie Kondo’s Zen-like relationship with possessions and strict rules for decluttering, I actually developed a propensity for organization from my mother whose practical wisdom motivated me to keep things tidy and orderly. My mother’s mantras still ring in my ears, “Why handle something twice? Put things where they belong the first time (especially keys). Consider the next person who might also need to use it. Keep like things together.” I believe my mother and Marie Kondo would have found common ground.

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