Home as a second skin: A contribution to a theory of magic (of tidying)

Edgar Tasia


In this article, I describe a “magical” dimension in the work of home organizers (HOs) in Belgium. HOs, I argue, as professional organizers, not only help their clients to deal with the disorder and clutter of their homes but deliver a promise of magic: that “care” for the home interior produces “care” for the mind, the body, and even the earth. To do this, they rely on the one hand on knowledge based on an epistemology of analogy; on the other hand, they use specific technical know-hows, allowing them to participate in world transformation. In the course of their interventions, an order of things—both ideological and pragmatic—takes shape. From this double ordering stems a marvelous feeling. Indeed, the analogical principle (body-home-earth) that animates the process of home organizing and the incorporation of collective representations allows the act of tidying to be magical.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/724921