“I laughed, I cried, I lost 15 pounds! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!” So said Stephen Colbert in reviewing his own book. Though I haven’t seen Colbert’s book, I suspect that many people feel the same way about Marie Kondo’s slim volume, the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. (Apparently, she didn’t want to clutter up the title with capital letters.)
As winter draws to a close, and Pesach looms ahead, the time is right to examine the remarkable cultural phenomenon triggered by this little book. How did it remain on the New York Times’ bestsellers list for over 66 weeks, take the world by storm, and achieve cult-like status? Has there never been a book written about tidying up before? Have we suddenly discovered that we have too much stuff and it needs to be organized? What happened to warrant the sale of five million copies of this book as well as licenses to print it in 40 languages? Is there something new under the sun?