Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

22318578The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Published by  Ten Speed Press on October 14, 2014

Genres: Nonfiction, Self Help, How To

Pages: 214 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

This guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this book featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

I’ll start off by saying that I typically do not read a lot of lifestyle books or nonfiction but saw The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up everywhere and thought I’d see what it was all about. I dived right into it and found it to be a quick read and easy to follow. I read the whole thing from start to finish before putting any of the ideas into practice which I would definitely suggest.

The book begins by going over the reasons why tidying usually fails and then provides the solution by discussing discarding. It next delves into the order in which tidying takes place beginning with clothes, then books, paper, and finally miscellaneous items(komono). Next comes storage and then finishes with how the process transforms your life. There is even a section on how to fold your clothes which I found easier to figure out by looking online.

Marie Kondo created the KonMari Method, which is essentially discarding and then organizing all in one go, after growing up with a tidying obsession. She tried absolutely everything and it eventually evolved into the now international craze. In it’s simplest form this method is about keeping items that bring you joy and that’s just how it should be, surrounded by things that make you happy.

I have a lot of stuff; clothes, books, mementos, collectibles, etc. and it tends to pile up when all of it is stuffed into a bedroom. I’ve started to work my way through my belongings after finishing this book but it is definitely a process. Going through my clothes alone took me an entire day. It was eye opening to say the least. When I pulled out all of my tops I was kind of disgusted with myself. In all I probably got rid of half my clothes. There were four bags full of apparel, shoes, bags, etc. to give away.

Books were another big task seeing as they consume my life. It was interesting to see them all piled together and I discovered at least one book I could not remember buying. I did end up with two small piles to donate or sell and I’m down to just two TBR shelves. I pretty much decimated all of my notebooks and binders from college which will be recycled since that is a ton of paper. I’m trying to do at least one category a day and it is going well.

Overall I found The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to be a really interesting read. Simple and straight forward but it truly hits the nail on the head. We should keep the things that bring us joy, there’s no use for anything else. Marie Kondo puts forth a method that applies to everyone. There were a few instances that seemed tailored for those in Japan but they are minor in the grand scheme of this book.

Favorite Ideas

  1. Take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.
  2. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
  3. We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
  4. But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? If so, did it change your life? Let me know in the comments!


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