Kon Marie

Motherhood: Books That Have Helped Me Along the Way.


The Birth Order Book

The Birth Order Book

The Birth Order Book is easy to read, it has helped me better understand myself and my children. It has also helped me see the difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism. The later can be a stumble block to bettering oneself.

The temperament God Gave your Kids

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Another quick and easy read! This book helped me understand how to motivate my children and discipline them according to their different temperaments. I liked how practical it was! I could apply what I learned right away.

Kon Marie’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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We’ve written several book reviews on Kon Marie’s books already but I had to put it on this list because it has helped me create a more peaceful home without spending a dime on organizational tools or home decor, and when your home is more peaceful, so are you, and so are your children!

Little House on The Prairie Books

Vintage Little House Children's Books Complete Series 9 Book Boxed Set (Paperback) 1971 & 1970s (Little House In The Big Woods; Little House on the Prairie; On The Banks of Plum Creek; The First Four Years; Farmer Boy; The Happy Golden Years; Little Town on the Prairie; The Long Winter; By The Shores of Silver Lake)

The Little House on The Prairie Books have been so wonderful to read with my children. They reaffirm the importance of hierarchy, authority, and obedience  within the family- a truth which has become politically incorrect these days. They are also a fascinating account of frontier life.


What Books have helped you? I’d love to hear!



The Drama of Decluttering Books

Any book lover will agree, books are hard to part with. We have a certain attachment to unread books, read books, half- read books, beloved books, good books, okay books, books that have that amazing paragraph, chapter, sentence, books that speak to us not so much in perfect prose but in the dovetailed ideas presented within its bindings.

I recently read an insightful article on Kon Marie and The Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books much of it resonated with me. It delved into the heart of the problem of simplifying a library:

“A book can wait a thousand years unread until the right reader comes along,” said the critic George Steiner, and that’s true. The good ones are incantations, summoning spells. They are a spark, a balm, a letter from home. They contain demons, gods in a box. They are tiny rectangles with the whole universe packed in.

It is so difficult to part with these bound pieces of paper because they are more than just paper, they are microcosms! Each book seems a literary miracle to us. That it should ruminate in the maker’s mind for years, be written down, revised, edited, printed, (if lucky enough) published  and then finally somehow find its way, through who knows how many hands- to us! No wonder decluttering books is a painful process!

But it is necessary. Books maybe be microcosms, incantations, but gathered together they build a whole, a library. Such a living organism needs to be reevaluated from time to time, aired out to avoid stagnation (Otherwise it would be just another hoard and we book lovers selfish dragons.)

As a mother, I assess my children’s library often, is it meeting their needs? Have they outgrown the books? Do we need to replace or repair beloved but tattered titles? Are they being fed quality? Are there gaps in the collection?  (Spiritual reading should not be overlooked, even – especially in a children’s library. I find that this is too often the case.) Children grow quickly! Their minds and needs change, are we keeping up?

I also need to discern my needs and my own library. Am I inspired, comforted, and informed by what’s on my shelf? Or are there dead spaces? books that once spoke to me but I no longer have a need for? Are there books that never spoke to me but I keep out of mere pretense? old textbooks? We will always have our favorites and there is no need to let those go. And it is always nice knowing that there are books on shelf for when the time comes. However, there is nothing like a thoughtful library, curated to truly meet our needs for today. This is what we should ensure.

Much like a garden,  libraries need to be cultivated,  trimmed in some areas so that the whole can flourish. Deadheading is the term gardeners use. The simple technique of pinching off old weathered blooms to make room for new ones. It makes all the difference to a rose bush. It makes all the difference to a library. Yet we will  encounter the same problem as the gardener: should I trim this autumnal bloom? Just past its prime? or leave it for another day? It is still blooming though petals bruised and dogeared. It is up to us to determine when the book should move on. But rest assured, after all the work of sorting and letting go of books, it is exhilarating to find empty shelf space, room, glorious room! For those books that have been calling our name. Who knows? They could be life-changing.

-Mrs. Cooper


A Review: “Life Changing Magic” & “Absolutely Beautiful Things”



Like many others, I found the method and philosophy laid out in Marie Kondo’s book The Lifevchanging Magic of Tidying Up (which I read last year) compelling, even exhilarating. I could not sleep the night after I discarded “dead weight” clothing and organized my drawers the “KonMari” way, charged with the energy of the project.

This year, I read a very different book about interior decorating: Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro. Two books could hardly be more different in design. The Lifechanging Magic: compact, pure text, generous white space, a softly colored cover. Absolutely Beautiful Things: coffee table dimensions, gorgeous full pages of photographs, pull-quotes and lively fonts. This difference in format reflected a difference in practice. Marie Kondo inspires many to minimalism. Anna Spiro unapologetically celebrates maximalism. Though not illustrated, The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up conjures images of muted, neutrally-toned rooms and simplicity of furnishing, perhaps with a touch of living greenery incorporated. The pictures in Absolutely Beautiful Things show layers of eclectically blending objects: vivid pink candles, stacks and shelves of mixed-size books, and piles of “divine cushions” in varying patterns of fabric. In a Marie Kondo room, you might contemplate an orchid. In an Anna Spiro room, your eye could wander through mazes of color and texture. In fact, color is a topic Spiro excels in discussing. The wonder of blue and white, light pink as a perfect background for anything, pink itself as the “navy blue of India.” When I read Anna Spiro, I think of India. When I read Marie Kondo, I think of Japan.



Where the two agree however is in the basic principle: have nothing in your house, in your space, that does not spark joy. There is really nothing in Anna Spiro’s philosophy of beauty that advocates multiplying objects for multiplicity’s sake. The multiplicity is for the joy of it. And Marie Kondo herself doesn’t equate the paring she methodized with minimalism. Each person will have an individual “clicking point” at which the amount of stuff they own will feel right.

One of the deepest insights in Anna Spiro’s book is in her understanding that neutral tones and color are not enemies but rather complement each other like lovers. As I look up from my screen, lavender daisies and ferns against a stained-wood window frame with the deeper greens of late-spring woods beyond prove her point.

Beauty has many manifestations. My personal preference in furnishing is toward maximalism (especially when it comes to filling bookshelves!). But a “bright and colorful” maximalism has no more room for “dead weight” objects than the sleekest minimalism. And neutral tones and colors can live happily together, whether that means a single pink flower in a vase of pussy willows against a bare and neutral room or a riot of cushions on a sedate sofa. The KonMari principles we associate with spareness are generous enough to provide a foundation for the most cornucopian melange

The differing visions of interior beauty offered by Marie Kondo and Anna Spiro remind me of the differing literary visions of two of my favorite novelists. But that perhaps will be the topic of another post.


– Mrs. Aldertree