Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Goodreads Summary:
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 am a pretty tidy person. Except for a few areas, my house is pretty well organized and neat. And I have taught my son to be a tidy person. Or maybe he’s just naturally that way. All of his toys have a specific place in his playroom. All of his clothes have a designated section of his dresser. Just like my things. But I have gotten lazy about getting rid of clothes he’s outgrown or things we’re no longer using.

I wanted to read this book to see what the buzz was all about. I reserved it from the library several months ago as a possible candidate for my 2015 Reading Challenge “a book that everyone has read.”

My Review:
Overall, I liked this book. The beginning was a little slow as I didn’t feel I needed the psyching up that perhaps messier people might need. I wanted her to get to the point and start telling me how to tidy up. I agree with the basic approach: get rid of stuff first, keep only what brings you joy, and then organize what’s left – assigning a specific place for each item in your home.

I am skeptical of some of her statements, and I don’t think I’ll follow her methods to a tee. But I am motivated to tidy up our house. And actually I already started last weekend. I got rid of a whole carload of stuff that had taken up residence in my son’s closet – old clothes, baby items, etc.

I listened to the audiobook, but I recommend the paper copy of the book, so you can refer back to each section, following her proposed schedule, as you tidy up your house.

The “life-changing magic” portion of her method is that tidying your house helps you know what you like and builds your confidence. Many of her clients make life changes after her course because they realize what they want from their careers, their relationships, and their lives. In that way, this book was inspiring beyond just my already heightened enthusiasm for throwing things away.

My Rating: 4 Stars
Understand my ratings.

My Takeaways:
I am recording these more as notes for myself when I begin tidying, but feel free to use this as a cheat sheet in case you want to get started before reading the book.

– Tidy your whole house in one shot, as quickly as possible (average = 6 months)
– Tidy by category, not location
– Start with things of less emotional value or rarity (clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, mementos)
– Complete discarding before you begin organizing
– Collect all items of a category in one location, hold each item in your hands, and think “Does this spark joy?” Only keep those items where the immediate answer is “Yes!”
– Don’t get rid of other people’s stuff
– Two reasons why you might want to keep something that doesn’t spark joy: (1) attachment to past, (2) fear of the future – those reasons are also a reflection of how you want to live your life

You may also like


    1. I agree. She didn't really address the issue of time except to say once you get your house in order, it's easy to keep it that way. I disagree. If I wasn't interrupted every 5 seconds by my son, I might be able to purge more often.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge