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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

This #1 New York Times best-selling 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 international bestseller 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.

  • Rank: #37 in Books
  • Brand: Ten Speed Press
  • Published on: 2014-10-14
  • Released on: 2014-10-14
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 7.28" h x .89" w x 5.22" l, .65 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 224 pages

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  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering...

6360 of 6541 people found the following review helpful.
Change your relationship with stuff and finally kick the clutter habit!
By eb
I will admit to having a tortured relationship with stuff. I grew up in a cluttered house and married the King of Clutter (he's the type of person who'll open a credit card bill, pay it online, and then just leave the empty envelope, inserts, and bill itself randomly strewn on whatever surface happens to be nearby). I don't like the disorder of clutter, but dealing with it is such a soul-sucking experience that I haven't gotten very far. Many days I semi-wish the whole place would burn down and save me from having to deal with it.

Typically I'll catch an episode of Hoarders, fear that I'm one incapacitating injury away from being the focus of an episode (if I can't clean up all those strewn papers, they'll just pile up to the rafters, after all!), and then go through a stack of junk in a fit of unhappiness. Not the best way to deal with it all.

Marie Kondo's book is the opposite of that. It's a breath of fresh air and positive energy that brings real joy to the process of "tidying up."

I was only about halfway through before I tackled my clothes. She's right to begin there. My clothes are all mine (which also means that they're in nowhere near as terrible a state as other things in my house), so going through them affects only me and involves only my own feelings. Her advice may sound silly at first, but if your belongings inspire feelings of unhappiness, guilt, etc., her anthropomorphism of them can really help you change your viewpoint in a positive direction. I finished up with three bags for Goodwill and one for the garbage man. My drawers and closet, which were never very messy, are now exactly as I want them, and I feel fantastic!

My one quibble with her instructions has to do with folding. I've always disliked rolls of items. Instead, I fold so I can line things up like files. This makes it easy to pull things out without everything falling over. For my five-year-old, I fold his t-shirts so the front image is visible on the fold, then file them in the drawer so he can see exactly which shirt is which. (Here's an example: [...]) This works well for socks as well as t-shirts, pajamas, etc.

Most of her advice and content is really focused on a Japanese audience. There are many things in the book that won't translate as well culturally for a Western/American readership. For example, she suggests that you greet your home much as you would a Shinto shrine. That is likely to carry a different level of meaning for someone in Japan than in the U.S. Other references to spiritual practice and feng-shui are not likely to resonate the same way for an American audience. I even wonder if the preference for rolling clothes is cultural, since I have such a strong reaction against it and instead prefer folding and filing!

The examples in the book also tend toward the childless female. There is a lot of discussion of travel toiletries, but very little about kitchen utensils, toys, or other items found most often in a family home. The home workshop, which is a particular problem in my home, gets no mention at all. Don't Japanese people own countless drills, boxes of screws, and electrical tape?

But the reason for reading this book is not the specific advice about t-shirts and cupboards. It's about changing your relationship with the stuff you own. The tone of her book is so upbeat and positive, it's infectious. It's hard to keep reading it to the end, because you want to jump up and start using her methods immediately. I had little trouble adjusting her suggestions to match my own cultural perspective and physical home.

In the book she mentions that it'll take 6 months to fully tidy your home so that everything left inspires joy. I'm now a week in, and 6 months seems like hardly enough time to tackle all the junk in my house, but I can fully see how this can be a life-changing process.

2298 of 2388 people found the following review helpful.
True account of someone who thought she was tidy already
By Amazon Customer
Marie Kondo says something to the effect of: If you read this book and feel as though it is you, then it is meant to be. Not a direct quote, but something that resignates with me as I read some of the negative reviews. This book spoke to me, it was truly magic. When I moved 9 months ago, I took approx 3 car loads of belongings to goodwill, thinking that I had done a darn good job of getting rid of unnecessary items. Yet still, my home continued to be rather cluttered and storage spaces felt messy no matter how much I tried to organize. I have read a multitude of books and articles, searched on Pinterest and other sites about organization. Read things on minimalism that were just unrealistic to me. I wanted to be more minimalist, but just couldn't get myself to only own 12 items in my kitchen. Nothing was quite right. Marie addresses all of these problems in her book and why they may or may not work. When I started reading I thought that I might be able to find a few things to discard and some new ways to organize the clutter I currently have. This was definitely, not the case. I purchased this book on Friday and have only tackled the category of clothing and 1 "catch all " bedroom I had because I had a guest coming to stay. I'm not even finished with those 2 places in my home and I have 2 large sized black garbage bags full, 4 smaller trash bags full, 1 medium sized box, and 3 of those reusable sized shopping bags and a pile of clothes still on the floor, all ready to leave my house. If you had asked me yesterday how many pairs of shoes I owned, I would have answered "maybe 20-25". When I took EVERY SINGLE shoe in my house and laid it out on the floor - not missing a single pair - it was eye opening, this is the magic of it. Taking a single category of item and laying it all out for you to truly see it. 59 pairs of shoes in all laid in front of me when I did this, some that I don't even remember purchasing or owning. Which is sad because I organized them all 9 months ago... I am happy to say I am down to 26 pairs right now. I even put 2 pairs that I had chosen to keep in the discard pile this morning after thinking "they are still new and cute" and then remembering why I never wore them after attempting to wear them to work (we didn't even make it out of the house before they were discarded). This book is definitely life changing magic. It helped me get past a ton of my emotions and just basic thoughts about my things and why I "needed" them or should just "keep" them whether I needed them or not, and gave me the permission I needed to discard them. If it speaks to you, enjoy it. If it does not speak to you, return it or donate it to someone it will speak to.

4060 of 4262 people found the following review helpful.
Truly life changing
By Elsomalo
I rarely write reviews, but this book truly sparked something in me that I feel compelled to share. The basic concept is to only surround yourself with things that spark joy. Decide what you want to keep, not necessarily what you want to throw away. I have bought other organization or purging books in hopes of getting my cluttered home in order. This book was the only one that I read all the way through and actually put into practice. The anthropomorphism in this book spoke to me for some reason. While I don't believe socks are alive, her concept of freeing socks in their tight, little bundles and letting them rest because they work hard for you makes perfect sense to me. In other words, don't stretch out your socks because you want them to last as long as possible. Care for your items as if they were "real" and not only will your items last longer, but you will feel better having done so. The book really is about being happier. Cleaning out your clutter and the process she describes is truly life changing in ways I cannot explain. I am about 2 weeks into my de cluttering and I am much happier in my home. I have donated and discarded over 6 large bags of items. While I usually feel guilt over letting objects go, her process and explanations have freed me of that. She has wonderful folding and storage techniques as well. My children and husband love the work I have done thus far and it is causing them to start the process on their items. An unexpected surprise for me (and total joy to my husband) is my newfound frugality while shopping. I used to be a borderline shopaholic. But now, I truly just buy things I want around me. I think differently as I shop. I know it's a change that will last. It's strange but true. Marie Kondo is not only an expert on the art of de cluttering, but she is also an expert on human behavior and how to change it. I am a believer in her methods, and fan. She's amazing. The book is well worth it.

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