The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Book - 2014
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lendmeyourears2017
Jun 02, 2019

“Putting your house in order affects all other aspects of your life.”

- Marie Kondo

This is a bold statement but according to the author, Marie Kondo, tidying can be meditative and peaceful as well as satisfying. She is a self-confessed tidier to the extreme since childhood to the extent that she not only tidied her room, her brother’s room and on to the entire household on a regular basis.

She talks about how to analyze the “why” of a purchase and whether it still fulfills that need. How did you come to acquire an item? Was it a gift from a loved one that has ties to that person which is why you can’t let go of something? She instructs her clients to “…choose what you want to keep not what you want to discard.”

People who use her method never revert. Her method involves putting things where they really should belong. Ms.Knodo insists that “…success depends on seeing results immediately.” She has an interesting viewpoint when it comes to belongings (only possess what you love) and is ruthless when it comes to filing papers – circular file for most of it especially in this electronic age.

The reader, Emily Woo Zeller, uses tone and pacing to give a calm, placid delivery to a message that can be a hot button topic among family and friends. Her presentation keeps you involved in the message.

I smiled to myself throughout this book recognizing myself in the people she described as well as my family and friends in her sharing experiences with clients. It’s as if she had looked in my closets and storage areas.

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Evol69
Mar 27, 2019

This book taught me many techniques for tidying, organizing and managing living space.

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Tica77
Mar 04, 2019

I have read several books on organization and de-cluttering over the years and have learned things (and applied these principles in my life). The difference with this book is the approach she proposes to tidying up: keep only the things that bring you joy. She does give a system to proceed with this while emphasizing the importance keeping only those things that bring you joy. This is probably true of clothing, trinkets, photos and other personal objects. When it comes to electronics and kitchen items, practicality seems a better criteria. Her system for folding is interesting and I plan to try it out. You can watch her on YouTube. Unique indeed.

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KMJ_
Feb 26, 2019

I’m glad I read this book, but there is absolutely no way I am going to take any of her advice. The book is good at making you think about possessions and our attachment to things, but it just isn’t practical. Maybe some people can follow this method, and really tidy up their house. I am not one of those people.

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Redheaded_Reader
Feb 16, 2019

I hear Ms. Kondo has a Netflix show now? I'd be interested to see it, if I had TV. As far as the book goes, like most self-helps, there are things that are helpful and things that are less so.

A major "plus" in my opinion is the "sort by category" method. Why go room by room when you have multiples of the same thing in different rooms? In the bathroom, where cosmetics and medicine cabinet items tend to expire before we use them, this is particularly helpful. Assemble all items in the same area, cull the expired and no longer used (what's the point of lipstick in seven different shades of magenta when you never wear lipstick anyway?), and redistribute the kept items. Clothing is also another area where this method works well: sort everything by type and size, keep only your favorites, and voila! You now know a) everything in your closet is something you actually like and b) what you actually NEED to buy to flesh out your wardrobe (as opposed to doing some expensive hit-or-miss guesswork).

The other thing I like is the "keep only what you love" mentality. Face it, how many times do we cringe or turn a blind eye to something we bought on a whim or were given as a gift, but do not use, cannot stand, or can't bring ourselves to throw it away because it's "perfectly good"? Having belongings around that make you feel guilty JUST BY OWNING THEM is not fun. If we only ever kept items that we loved or were useful (i.e. I don't "love" my screwdriver, but it sure is handy to have one), how nice would that be.

If you donate these "perfectly good" items, then someone else who may truly need them gets a chance to own them. And once all the "excess" has been culled, you can more clearly see what you yourself need to fill the gaps. This can lead to wiser use of your money, again as opposed to buying stuff at random and hoping you need it OR finding you already had one buried somewhere at home.

Other things in the book are not as helpful. Fancy garment folding? Please. It's all I can do to motivate myself to fold stuff the "regular" way. Talking to your belongings? That's a bit "out there" for me. I also see complaints in the comments here as to how Ms. Kondo comes across. I don't recall anything in particular myself, but it's important to remember that she comes from a different culture than our own, and it may simply be a matter of "translation".

In short, read the book, accept that it isn't gospel, pick-and-choose what will actually help YOU, and ignore the rest. (Hint: that's pretty standard across the board for self-help books.)

h
HilarySquires
Feb 14, 2019

Reading all the negative reviews on Good Reads was way more fun than reading the actual book.
- wear a pretty nightie to bed
- rip pages out of books to keep only the passages you like
- throw perfectly usable items in the garbage
- brag about how much garbage you are creating

No, thanks!

VaughanPLKim Feb 12, 2019

Knowing I will be moving in the next few months, it seemed a good time to hop on the Marie Kondo bandwagon and start de-cluttering my home. While the concept of asking yourself whether an item "sparks joy" can take some getting used to, I found it a useful way to consider what I truly wanted to keep vs. what I was keeping out of guilt because I hadn't used it enough or might use it "someday." Fans of Marie Kondo and her KonMari tidying method can also check out her follow-up boo,k "Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying up" as well as her Netflix series, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo."

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sjesscag
Jan 25, 2019

Stopped on pg 180.

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EddyQubit
Nov 27, 2018

A must read for beginners in tidying. Read this if you want to transform the relationship you have with your things and your life. Tidying never lies. Once you start, never give up until you're done! And take as long as you need to.

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DataBender
Nov 03, 2018

Some good ideas to maximize storage and utility. However, there's lots of fluff (e.g the emotional state of your socks) to fill out an entire book.

k
krenit
Sep 27, 2018

One year after reading, I am still dedicated to sorting my socks and folding the rest of the clean laundry. Nice to start the day with one less complication.

f
firefly5
Jul 03, 2018

I am not even 1/4 through this book and I am ready to quit. I find this author arrogant and self important. Imagine a child in kindergarten reading women's magazines! Really?

She writes for a young audience. I did continue to read this book and it became more interesting when she got to the part where she has "tidying" in categories. This was not an interesting or helpful book for me.

t
TParedes
May 30, 2018

Why did this top my list when I searched on "Witches / adult/ Gresham" LOL

s
spanoplos
Apr 30, 2018

Some good tips in here, some of which I have applied (closet!). Not sure it all adds up to a full book, but it is a quick read and worth the time / effort spent.

SPPL_Violet Mar 17, 2018

I held this book in my hands...and it did not bring me joy.

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GLNovak
Mar 04, 2018

Ever since I could read I saw books and articles about keeping a handle on possessions - thoughtfulness about buying, discarding, storing, displaying, commemorating - and as an adult I look around my home and realize I am an artful hoarder, at least I think I am. Mari Kondo has written this book to help us deal with our stuff, first with clothes and then moving on to books, papers (my lost cause), odds and ends, and finally the worst of all, sentimentally charged mementos. Her advice is to discard first using the maxim of keeping only those items that spark joy (all my items spark joy, even all three of my potato peelers). She also says you only need one of something; you should always keep it in it's own place; and you will be happy. I keep duplicates of things like scissors, cutlery, notepaper, pens in the places where they are used, but do follow her belief that everything should have a place, and should be returned to that place when not in use. I expect her experience with smaller Japanese houses led to that one only advice. What she doesn't emphasize is the fact that some of us just buy too much - witness 'retail therapy' as an accepted prescription for the blues sometimes. I did enjoy this book simply because I got to meet an enthusiastic woman who really loves tidying (I notice she never talks about cleaning up). Her upbeat approach would definitely endear her to her clients. I suspect she is sometimes viewed as a therapist, a conclusion I came to when she relayed some thankful comments from clients as followup to her sessions. I would love to meet her, but am afraid that she would not find me a good student. This is an easy conversational read that you might get something out of.

d
dnk
Feb 02, 2018

I cannot promise you that you will change your life or find your bliss, but I can say that I had a lot of fun following her tidying advice.

The basic premise of the philosophy, as you may have heard ad infinitum, is to only keep those things which "spark joy". If that's a little too airy for you, try things that you have a visceral, immediate, positive reaction to. As others have noted, there's an essential difference between focusing on what you're getting rid of (as many other cleaning/tidying advice does) and focusing on what you're keeping. In my opinion, Kondo's way of doing not only helps you as you transition your space, but also going forward when you make new purchases.

Speaking of purchases, what made me grin and even giggle was her observation that "storage experts are hoarders". Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. (The Container Store must be gritting their teeth.) Whereas people who advocate storage solutions are trying to maximize the amount of objects one can store in their space, her advice is to review and whittle down your possessions until you feel a "click" that tells you when you've reached the minimum you can own. This should be more like a weight lifted off of your than a panic that you don't have enough; if you feel that, you've gone too far.

A corollary of her advice not to obsess over storage is not to buy special storage solutions. She advises using shoe boxes and other boxes you probably already have around the house. (That sounds very DIY, but it comes off as much less pretentious than most DIY titles.) After sorting through my drawers, bookshelves, bathroom, kitchen (including cabinets and shelves) and closets (bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen), I'm happy to report that I haven't had to buy one special storage item to more logically store my items other than book ends to help vertically store my books.

This book isn't taking off because it's giving a lot of specific advice on tidying, although it does do that. What makes it "magical" is that it promises that you can tidy once (however long that session might be) and then be DONE so you can get on with the rest of your life. Just as importantly, the process of tidying, which requires you to listen to yourself to determine what makes you happy, can help reveal what you would like to do with the rest of your life.

After my tidying jaunts, I did indeed feel refreshed. The little bits I have to do daily to keep the space tidy- which is really putting things in their place and then wiping down surfaces- don't feel onerous but instead like lovely little rituals. All this while being able to carve out a sanctuary in my small condo. I have been much calmer and happier since I embarked on my tidying project. I recommend it for anyone.

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ktandtdevine
Jan 06, 2018

Wow. Not sure why this was a bestseller. I enjoyed "The Joy of Less" but not this...at all. It didn't contain any new information besides the many long sections on how she believes things have feelings and how she has always connected with her possessions more than other humans, including her family. I would NOT recommend.

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eesparzaam
Dec 27, 2017

We couldnt do it in one day, but rather used our vacation as an opportunity to do one category each day. Our house is not cluttered for visitors, but in our closets we had a lot. Seeing how many things i held on to because of a memory, or just because was amazing. I feel refreshed after doing this.

HCL_staff_reviews Dec 12, 2017

Are you drowning in stuff that you can't seem to get rid of? Is "declutter the house" one of your New Years Resolutions...that you still haven't gotten around to, because you can't bear to part with your beloved things? Are you the sort of person who anthropomorphizes everything from socks to spoons to childhood pictures?

Never fear, Marie Kondo is here. Her methods for choosing what to keep (only the items which "spark joy") and how to store them are no-nonsense but thoughtful. Her insights into being saying farewell to items that are no longer loved or no longer useful helped me to say "thank you" and "goodbye" and let those items go.

There is quite a waiting list at the Library for this international bestseller, but it is not a long or difficult read. I have no doubt that patrons who have our copies out now will return them on time! — Michele S., Minneapolis Central Library

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BOOKMONKEY109
Nov 24, 2017

The author overlooked the most important factor in decluttering - an editor.

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randalljay
Oct 13, 2017

I really enjoyed her approach and philosophy. It does help to speed read because there's a bit of fluff to flesh out the book. But her approach is right. For me it was a way to think of a rational way to approach a hard job...with lots of stuff and memories and no immediate need to do the cleansing. But the meat of the book is to have a plan and she presents a good one.

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SirRichardII
Oct 05, 2017

Many life-changing and magical insights such as, "The socks and stockings in your drawer are essentially on holiday. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest. But if they are folded over, balled up, or tied, they are always in a state of tension....They roll about and bump into each other every time the drawer is opened and closed. Any socks and stockings unfortunate enough to get pushed to the back of the drawer are often forgotten for so long that their elastic stretches beyond recovery. What treatment could be worse than this?"

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Karii00
Sep 26, 2017

I really enjoyed the book. It was like having a conversation with someone who is passionate about what they do. I read this book after initially reading the manga for more information!

I look forward to testing out the methods.

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najn_arte
Sep 24, 2017

I found most of the advice inapplicable, especially doing it all in one day. If you live in one of the now trendy 'tiny houses', you might be able to do it, but if your home has three bedrooms, a family of three plus pets, it's just not realistic.


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