Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Ten Speed Press (October 14, 2014)


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.


My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Thoughts:

My family has been on a journey of surrounding ourselves with only things that serve a purpose or bring us joy, and ditching the rest. I've read a lot of books on minimalism! I reach for them for extra inspiration and to remind myself why this journey is important to me. Thousands of items have left our home(much more to go, though!), and every time I see a space cleared, I feel lighter. (I won't leave the impression that we don't bring things back in, because we do. I get to review products, and we have fun with this. We just try to remove things as other items come into our home. Also, don't imagine my house neat and tidy yet, because it's not, though I have hopes for soon.) This book left me a little concerned, though. The author shares stories from her childhood and up, and I just felt like there was some severe OCD issues, which I've never felt about minimalism authors before. But, hey, the author has turned it into a very successful business and a bestseller, so what do I know?!

This book has some wonderful ideas on both minimalism and "cleaning" methods, like how to fold socks, not how to clean a toilet. I left the book with extra inspiration and some ideas I want to try. The author makes it clear that this is an all or nothing method, but I'm not going to think of it that way, or it would be a "nothing" for me. I think this book will be best for single folks. There's a couple of mentions of children, but really, there's not much advice specific to children. You won't find any advice on toys or schooling, or anything like that. (I just began reading Joshua Becker's Clutterfree with Kids, which I assume is more specific to the children realm of minimalism. I'll try to let y'all know my thoughts when I finish, but I'm liking it so far. ) The author recommends you do an "all at once" decluttering. That sounds wonderful, and I have no doubt that's the way to go, but I have 3 little ones that I take care of and teach, and there's not the time to devote to an "all at once" cleaning. There's just a definite vibe that this book is meant more for single folks.

This author goes into more detail than most minimalism authors about certain areas that are difficult for people to part with, like books. I've parted with hundreds of books, maybe even more than a thousand at this point in the journey, so I appreciated the extra lesson in clearing books I don't absolutely love. Even so, I can't imagine not having lots of books(that we love and read!) always surrounding us. If you ever visit my home, books will be the thing that would make one question my minimalism efforts. ;)

There's also sections that I skipped, like how to minimalize Buddhist charms and shrines and all. I'm a Christian, so of course, those parts didn't apply to me, or interest me. I thought some parts of the book were a little corny. She believes that we should treat our objects like people. When you get home, greet your house. When taking off your shoes, thank them for their service. When you empty out your purse(because it has worked hard and deserves the rest), thank it for the good job it did today. Any out of season clothes should be stored in drawers, and they should be opened occasionally, so your clothes can get a little air and breath. You should also rub your hands across them, so they know they're loved, and that they will be back in use soon. See? A bit corny. ((That said, since childhood, I've felt to need for stuffed animals to look comfortable(which just can't happen in the bottom of the toy box). I've always struggled with stuffed animals being a little bit real. Maybe that's a bit hypocritical of me! ;))) I DO think we need to appreciate our items more. I would like to get in the habit of thanking God for blessing me with shoes when I take them off, or for the coat that kept me warm. I don't think we appreciate what we have enough in our spoiled country! I DID benefit from this book, though, despite my concerns!

Again, there's some really good advice in here, and plenty of things I hadn't read about before, like storing everything vertical, even carrots in the fridge, and storing purses inside of another purse. Especially if you're single, this is a beneficial read, if you don't mind skipping over the different religious customs.

As a side note, so far, my all time favorite minimalism author is Lorilee Lippincott. I've read two of her books, Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life and The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life. I love her non-judgmental attitude, which appears to be super hard in the world of minimalism. If you want a jumpstart on minimalism, I highly recommend her books!

Also, to show you that I DID gain encouragement from this book, I spent the next day decluttering. I filled 5 big bags with garbage, along with 4 small bags. I also filled several bags and boxes for donation. Not too bad, considering I was also taking care of 3 little ones, and there's already been many rounds of decluttering! ;)

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

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



  1. I would love to read this book. I've been on a simple living journey for a while. Although, my goal isn't necessarily minimalism, I do appreciate their tips and advice. My biggest area of "clutter" tends to be paperwork and books! I've been trying to scale down how many I own by only keeping books I LOVE. Easier said than done. ;)

    1. Paper is a huge issue for me! I have a large filing cabinet and it's pretty packed, mostly with school kinds of things, but there's too much in there!
      And, yes, getting rid of books is always easier said than done! (which is why I still have too many) :)

  2. Sounds a bit corny as you said...though beneficial. I liked how you added how you relate with the stuffed animals, even if you don't thank your shoes for their service. I don't either!

    I need to read a bit more to help stay motivated. I did clean out the linen closet today. My husband isn't quite with me with wanting to get rid of perfectly good stuff that we MAY need. :)

    1. Jonathan has gotten more and more on board as we've gone along. He's always called me a pack rat, but he actually has way more clothes than me at this point. (but I DO have all my books) ;) I think he realizes how much easier life is and how much less stressed I am when things are simple. (It IS hard getting rid of perfectly good stuff, though! )