A Scientific look at Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
In the last year, a certain self-help book became a best seller, seemingly out of nowhere. This book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, claimed that “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and past in order too” (Kondo & Hirando, 2011). This book claims that by tidying up and organizing your house in one go will not only help you keep your house tidy forever, but also change your life (Kondo & Hirando, 2011). While the approach Kondo takes to cleaning is rational, I wanted to look at whether her theories on the importance of tidying, and her claims about this ‘life changing magic’ are bounded in scientific fact or not. By examining the hallmarks of pseudoscience, the effects of stress on life’s, stress reduction strategies, adherence to trained regimes and some of the recovery rates for hoarding, I aim to determine whether the Japanese Art of Tidying actually is magical or not. Firstly, it is well known that long term stress has detrimental effects on the body, and the mind. One study published this year showed a possible link between cortisol, the stress hormone, and depression (Jin, et al. 2016). Another literature review published this year linked stress with increased risk of developing several mental and physical conditions, like certain cancers, arthritis, mood and