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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

By Marie Kondō
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What's it about?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō is a revolutionary guide to decluttering and organizing your home. Kondō's KonMari method encourages readers to only keep items that "spark joy," leading to a more mindful and intentional approach to tidying. This book offers practical advice on how to effectively declutter and maintain a tidy living space, leading to a more harmonious and joyful life.

Marie Kondō is a Japanese organizing consultant and author known for her best-selling book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Her writing style is practical and insightful, offering readers a fresh perspective on decluttering and organizing their homes. Kondō emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with items that spark joy, and her unique KonMari method has gained widespread popularity for its transformative approach to tidying and simplifying.

5 Key Ideas of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Learning to tidy up is not as intuitive as one might think. It's a skill that, unlike other domestic tasks, isn't typically handed down from generation to generation or taught in schools. This oversight has left many without the necessary tools to maintain an organized and clutter-free environment.

Why We Struggle with Clutter

The struggle with keeping our spaces tidy stems from a simple truth: we have never been formally educated on how to do it effectively. While we may learn how to cook or sew either at home or in school, tidying up is often seen as something you just 'pick up' along the way. However, this assumption leads many into a cycle of clutter that they can't seem to break free from.

The KonMari Method steps into this gap by offering a structured approach designed specifically for those who haven’t had prior training in tidiness. By following its principles, individuals are equipped with strategies that go beyond surface-level cleaning and delve into the heart of what it means to keep an orderly space.

Transformative Power of Tidying

Tidying isn't just about having a neat house; it's about transforming your life. When you engage in what Marie Kondo calls a "tidy marathon," you're not only clearing out physical items but also making room for new habits and mindsets. Achieving visible results through organizing can profoundly affect emotions and behaviors—leading people away from their previously cluttered state towards sustained orderliness.

Striving for perfection during these marathons ensures that every item is considered carefully before deciding whether it stays or goes—a critical step toward preventing future accumulation of unnecessary belongings.

A Special Event Approach

Treating tidiness like a special event rather than an everyday chore changes the game entirely. Instead of feeling like Sisyphus pushing his boulder uphill daily only for it to roll back down again (a metaphorical representation of daily tidying efforts), completing the task all at once brings lasting satisfaction and prevents rebounding back into chaos.


  • Engage in Comprehensive Tidy Marathons: Set aside time for dedicated decluttering sessions where everything is evaluated methodically.
  • Focus on Visible Results: Use tangible progress as motivation; seeing clear spaces reinforces positive feelings associated with being organized.
  • Strive for Perfection Through Discarding: Be ruthless yet thoughtful when discarding items; half-measures lead back to disorder.
  • Categorize Items Before Location-Based Organization: Group similar items together before finding them homes—it’s easier to organize when you know exactly what you have.
  • Teach One Universal Approach To All Individuals: Implement one effective strategy across the board instead of customizing methods based on personality types—simplicity breeds success.
  • View Tidiness As A Special Event Not Daily Chore: Shift perspective so that major organizing feels like an occasion worth celebrating rather than another box ticked off your endless list of daily tasks.

By redefining our relationship with objects and embracing education around organization techniques such as KonMari, we unlock not just cleaner living spaces but also clearer minds capable of focusing on what truly matters in life—the joy-sparking experiences unburdened by material excesses.

Key Examples/Data

  1. Tidying as a Learned Skill: The author highlights the lack of formal education or training in tidying, emphasizing that tidying is often assumed to be a skill acquired naturally. The absence of formal instruction in tidying is compared to the teaching of cooking and sewing, which are passed down as family traditions. The author argues that the neglect of tidying education leads to ineffective storage methods and clutter. This example underscores the need for structured tidying methods and education.
  2. Tidying Marathon Doesn't Cause Rebound: The author challenges the common advice of tidying a little at a time to avoid rebound, emphasizing that a tidying marathon, when done properly, does not lead to rebound. The author shares personal experiences of attempting to tidy a little at a time and the subsequent failure, highlighting the misconception around tidying methods. This example emphasizes the effectiveness of a comprehensive and focused tidying approach.
  3. Tidying as a Special Event: The author introduces the concept of tidying as a special event rather than a daily chore. The idea is to complete the once-in-a-lifetime task of putting the house in order within a short period of time, leading to a lasting impact. The author argues that daily tidying is insufficient without the completion of the special event of putting the house in order. This example emphasizes the transformative nature of a comprehensive tidying event.
  4. Storage Experts are Hoarders: The author challenges the common belief that effective tidying is primarily about storage solutions. The example highlights the author's personal experience of investing in various storage items and methods, only to realize that the real issue lies in discarding unnecessary items rather than storing them. This example underscores the importance of discarding as a fundamental aspect of tidying.
  5. Sort by Category, Not by Location: The author shares a personal realization about the inefficiency of tidying by location and advocates for tidying by category instead. The example illustrates the author's shift from tidying specific locations to categorizing items and tidying based on categories, emphasizing the importance of understanding the overall volume of possessions. This example highlights the practical approach of tidying by category for a more effective outcome.


  1. "You can’t tidy if you’ve never learned how."
  2. "Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever."
  3. "The moment you start you reset your life."
  4. "Storage experts are hoarders."

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Summary: Common Questions

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up focuses on decluttering and organizing one's physical space.

Mohammad YektaBy Mohammad Yekta
We would recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to anyone who is looking to simplify their life, create a more organized living space, and experience the transformative power of decluttering.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō is a standout book in the Productivity field. For a concise summary and key takeaways, sign up for free on our platform. You'll be able to access insights from this book and summaries of other noteworthy books.

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