The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing




  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


International best-selling author Marie Kondo – inspired by Nagisa Tatsumi’s The Art of Discarding – became a decluttering consultant in Japan. She shares her “KonMarie” cleaning-out method with simplicity and grace. She urges you to put your hand on everything you possess, one item at a time, in categories – books, clothing, dishes, art, furniture and so on. Ask, “Does this spark joy?” If not, throw it out. As you unclutter your space, Kondo pledges, you will unclutter your soul, your thinking and your connection to the world. Don’t clear a space and then organize it, she says. Instead, once the discards are gone, then and only then, put away what remains. Kondo is especially ruthless about books, photographs and papers. Chuck them all, she says. You may find her practical advice more credible than her New Age insistence on the spiritual transformation simplicity could bring. Culling and organizing, she asserts, will enable you to forge a new relationship with your life and your history. And in that light, the few things you decide to keep should provide a sense of the sublime.


Do readers follow Marie Kondo’s advice? She’s sold more than two million copies of this guide to getting rid your unwanted and unneeded items. Kondo’s approach to decluttering is heartfelt, detailed, specific and ritualistic. She intends her directions to be actionable, but does her commitment to this program and the spiritual benefits she envisions encourage readers to engage in her recommended ceremonies or merely to imagine dreamily what their homes might be like if they did?

As with any self-help book, the first consideration must be whether the book actually helps you help your – you know – self. Taking Kondo literally and following all her rituals to the letter might call upon as much or more spiritual energy than savoring your newly pared-down home might refuel. But applying common sense – a worthy enterprise when encountering any self-help book – reveals that Kondo provides myriad fine shortcuts that could replace her giant leaps, lessen the clutter in your home and conceivably make you feel better about yourself. One small step might be considering in bulk what Kondo urges taking on one item at a time. Maybe a quick lap around your closet with a garbage bag in hand could produce some measure of the spiritual growth you’d earn contemplating each item of clothing on its aesthetic, joyful and soulful merits.

About the Author

Organizing consultant Marie Kondo developed the KonMari Method and stars in the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. She also wrote Spark Joy.

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