Book Review | The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

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Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying has become somewhat of an international sensation. She is a professional ‘tidier’ based in Tokyo where she helps all kinds of clients declutter, tidy and organise their homes using her own ‘KonMari’ Method. This book talks you through the KonMari Method, so you too can experience the success that Marie’s clients have.

It has to be said, the title is a little silly (life-changing magic, really?!) and some of the client success stories that she starts with are a bit much so I was pretty cynical when I first began reading it. However, Marie’s genuine personality does start to come through as you continue reading and she just seems to sincere and lovely that I really did change my mind. Marie is so convinced that having a tidy home equates to a tidy mind and her enthusiasm really cuts through all the crap that it is hard not to find yourself agreeing with her.

In a nutshell, the KonMari Method is based around decluttering and organising by category rather than location. For instance, clothes, paperwork, books. Marie sets out the optimal order for doing this so that  you begin by discarding items that are relatively easy to let go of and leave more meaningful or sentimental items for later. You have to do everything in the one go so pull all of your clothes out of the wardrobe, drawers etc. gather them together and look at each item. You have to do this for every item in your house and only keep items that ‘spark joy’. Once you have purged your home completely you have to find a place for everything and then your home will be permanently tidy.

This sounds extreme, but actually there is a lot of sense in it. For example, if you have beauty products in your dresser, plus your bedside cabinet, plus your handbag, plus the bathroom… do you really know how much you have? In terms of asking if something sparks joy… I think this can be taken with a pinch of salt. If you’re not a cleaning junkie it’s unlikely that your collection of household cleaning product will spark joy but you might want to hang on to it. But it is worth asking if you actually like  some of the stuff you’ve been hanging on to. Marie points out that a lot of people hang on to gifts purely out of guilt, but actually the purpose of the gift was to receive it – you understand that the person giving it to you did so out of love, generosity and kindness and you appreciate that, but you shouldn’t hang on to something that now makes you feel bad. Also, Marie is not as harsh as she first seems, if something is silly, weird or even not used regularly but you love it, you should keep it.

I think that some of the more earnest/cheesy phrases are possibly down to too literal a translation from Japanese plus a bit of difference in our two cultures (i.e. literally thanking your handbag?!) but overall this book is not half as ridiculous as I had expected. In fact, I would say that if you’re already thinking about your spring cleaning, definitely give this a read first as I’m sure there will be at least a few tips in there that will really speak to you.

When I start packing for moving house I will 100% be remembering Marie’s words to help me reduce the clutter in my new place. I’ve also just discovered that there are a bunch of YouTube videos where Marie demonstrates her folding technique for clothes so I will for sure be checking those out!

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying? What did you make of it?

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3 thoughts on “Book Review | The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”

  1. This sounds really interesting! I am not a clean-and-tidy sort of girl. I like to declutter every six months or so – but I really hate the day to day stuff. I am actually trying to put a bit more order into my life at the moment. I might have to find this book- even if it’s just for a bit of inspiration!

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