Recently at a Shabbat lunch, my friend Debbie tugged me on the arm and whispered, "You have got to get that bestselling book about tidying up. It's amazing!"

"You have got to get that bestselling book about tidying up. It's mind blowing!"

Of course I had seen Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It had been on the bestseller list for eons; I had seen it in the homes of several friends; and the author was quoted relentlessly in the media. This had been so irritating to me that I had to buy a new dental guard to keep from grinding my teeth down to my esophagus. Look, I'm a writer who has to scratch and claw her way to achieve only mediocre book sales, so I admit to an ungenerous, knee-jerk antipathy to any author zinged with such colossal success with her very first book. She earned additional irritation points due to her youth, beauty, and being the world's reigning expert at something that has always been the bane of my existence: decluttering. Despite my respect for Debbie, this tidying up book was the last little book in the entire universe I wanted to see.

Her enthusiasm also shocked me. Debbie is an amazingly organized woman, a professional designer and chef. She's not one to storm around the house looking for her glasses or wondering who moved her pepper grinder. I was a little frightened to think that even someone like her could find revelations in yet another organizing book. I wondered: After the advent of stackable see-through storage bins, what possible breakthroughs could Ms. Kondo have discovered on the tidying frontier?

"You have to read it," Debbie said. "It's mind-blowing."

The last time someone promised me a mind-blowing experience with a new product on the market, within the hour I had separated myself from nearly four hundred bucks on two sets of Tupperware (meat and dairy). Apparently, I was still a sucker for The Big Promise. I gritted my teeth as I joined the mob, ordering a copy of the book from Amazon. Fortunately, it was a lot less pricey than filling all my kitchen cabinets with Tupperware.

My heart raced when I opened the book. Could I cope with new and innovative advice on decluttering? Getting the book reminded me of when I first started to learn Torah. That was scary. I was afraid of having to follow a lot of new rules. But on the other hand, if the Torah was true, and God really wrote it, and following it would help me live a more meaningful, happier life, well, duh, of course I was going to follow it! By golly, if this tidying wizard was also offering truth, I’d be brave and face it, too. She couldn’t possibly be suggesting nearly as many rules as I’m already following.

Besides, even I realized that my stand-by excuse that a messy desk is a sign of a creative mind had become as stale as last week's mandlebroit. And truthfully, on the two occasions in the last twenty years when I had totally cleaned off my desk, I did feel lighter, freer, and more creative. I even broke out into song! Now when I faced my desk each day, a rampage of project notes, bills, school pictures of my kids that were fifteen years old, and expired coupons, I only felt like singing the blues.

I saw from page one that Ms. Kondo really was ingenious. While all the other organizers tell you to declutter one room at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, Ms. Kondo, perhaps because she is Japanese, recommends the kamikaze approach: she wants you to go around the house and get rid of anything that doesn't bring you joy. That's rather a high bar! But based on her clients' experiences with this approach, she promises that my life will change forever. (They said that about the Tupperware, too.) I'll finally accomplish my goals! (Really?) I might even lose weight, though I might break out in a temporary bout of acne from the shock to the system of losing 800 pounds of clutter in one day. As eye-popping as these promises are, this one was the one that really grabbed me by the adenoids and wouldn't let go: If I did it her way, and purged my home of everything that did not bring me joy, I would never have to declutter again, for the rest of my life!

I looked around my house and saw a U-Haul's worth of things that didn't bring me joy. Vacuum cleaner. Bathroom scale. Hand weights gathering dust in the closet. Throw pillows that once matched bedding I had, maybe eight years ago. An entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica (missing only the volume of P) that is so old it describes nations that no longer exist, and has no entry for computers. My husband won't let me get rid of it. Go figure.

I am working up the courage to eject, expel, and purify the premises around here, though there is nothing I can do about the kitchen. Ms. Kondo would not understand the concept of two sets of dishes, not including for Pesach, and all the extra food Jews keep in the pantry because we need to feel emotionally safe. Nor would she understand our need for thousands of books, and books bring me joy, even the ones in Aramaic that I can’t even read. But I could see really whacking away at most of the other stuff around here, and when I find that courage (maybe it's hiding behind the dusty hand weights?), I will lower the shades and launch my mission, taking my house from jumbled to prim, mussed to immaculate, in only eight hours! Wisely, she recommends a stealth operation, tossing and junking when no one else is around to stop me. (She doesn't offer advice on how I will defend myself when the rest of the family comes home and screams that we've been robbed, seeing how the place has been picked clean, which is why everyone's voices are echoing off the walls. Bet you anything this woman's not married.)

I’d like to try it, so I can achieve more of my goals. Say, for example, having a book that also sells a gazillion copies, too.