Post-read edit: Added 4th star. Rarely do I see self-help books which really help, once you give them the chance.
This is a really useful book, particularly therapeutic if you feel guilty about throwing away/ donating your things; the author reasons with the reader, patiently providing statistics (the average chance that you will reread a book you've read already if you are not an academic? 15%) and arguments to help you part with 'difficult gifts' from family members, for example.
I essentially agree with the basics precepts of the book, which are:
- be honest about whether you use the items you own
- throw away/donate items you do not use and/or do not like
- make the segregation process thorough, but quick (this is probably one of the reasons why Kondo does not suggest selling things - this would definitely create the room for misgivings and 'adopting' the discarded items back)
- store items owned so that you can see them/ in a way conducive to using them.
The author is young and zealous, but I must say she gives lots of practical advice. Still, content-wise, I can see two potential weak points: first, the book documents life in a very affluent society, and may be grating to some. Secondly, it seems to be primarily addressed to single (not to mention childless) people, with only a few consoling statements along the lines of
"To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy. As if drawn into your wake, they will begin weeding out unnecessary belongings and tidying without your having to utter a single complaint..."
Cleaning quietly on one’s own generates another interesting change—the ability to tolerate a certain level of untidiness among your family members."
The reason why I can't find it in me to give the book 4 stars is part V, full of woo-woo psychobabble, which makes me too embarrassed to really recommend this book to people (and it deserves to be recommended).