The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up {Book Review}

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FTC Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, free of charge for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review in any other way and all opinions are my own.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review


Here is my review:


I’ve been seeing reviews for The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo everywhere lately. I received the book for review last fall, but was in the process of moving at the time and only recently found my copy and decided to dive in. 

The subject matter interested me as I have been working on decluttering my life for quite some time with limited success. I am great at decluttering, but terrible at stopping “stuff” from creeping back in to my house. The thing that makes Kondo’s book different than all the other books on the subject I’ve read until now is that she insists she has never had a single ‘tidying’ client relapse into a cluttered lifestyle. 


That’s the kind of lady I want giving me decluttering advice. 

Tone of the book:

Kondo seems to have been a bit of a child prodigy in the decluttering department. She describes coming home from school and immediately rushing to her room to clean and organize, even throwing out items belonging to other family members and still not feeling satisfied with the state of her home. Her tone is deeply earnest, very serious and firm, but at the same time, almost whimsical as she describes becoming sad at the sight of a drawer full of balled up socks, as she felt they were unable to rest like that. 

The Process:

The KonMari Method is very simple. The goal is a home that is completely free of clutter.

The rules are:  

  1. Decluttering takes place in one fell swoop that Kondo refers to as a “Festival”. I like this. Festivals are fun. The shock value of purging all your excess belongings in a relatively short period of time (it takes about 6 months on average to KM a full house) followed by having a completely clutter free home is supposed to magically cure untidiness permanently.
  2. Decluttering is done in categories. The categories are (roughly), Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono (miscellaneous items), Sentimental Items.
  3. The categories must be done in order. 
  4. Everything that you keep must have a designated home. 
  5. The criteria for keeping an item is that it must “spark joy”. 

There are finer points to all of these rules, such as a specific way to store clothing (the section on socks is particularly specific), emptying out your purse at the end of the day and keeping storage units in closets. 

My Takeaways:

I like that Kondo doesn’t seem to discriminate between people who are tidy and people who aren’t. In her opinion, we’re all a little messy and we’re all a little lazy. It’s not character flaws that keep us from having the homes we want, it’s simply that we’ve never been taught how to properly tidy our homes. I enjoy the use of the word “tidy”. 

Kondo also recognizes that most of the reasons we hang on to clutter are emotional. She says that tidying is essentially “having a dialogue with one’s self” and says it is actually a way to gain confidence. 

She doesn’t recommend buying expensive bins or organizational items, instead suggesting that shoeboxes are just fine for most people’s needs. I like that her method doesn’t end up costing money to follow. 

In the beginning of the book she talks about a client who described to her in great detail how she would like her life to look after she had tidied her home. I think that beginning the process by writing out in advance what you’d like the end result to look like is a good idea. Then you can refer back to what you’ve written when you’re midway through the Komono section and thinking you’ve made a terrible mistake. 

I didn’t originally plan to KM my home. I told myself I didn’t need something else to worry about 6 months after relocating and with 6 months until we move again. But then I realized that if I do it now, I won’t have to pack whatever I purge, and 6 months is exactly how long I (theoretically) need to do it. In addition, I joined two KonMari groups on Facebook and seeing people’s transformations has made a believer out of me. 

I’ll write a post when I’ve finished clothing and let you know how it goes. I’m oddly nervous about the whole thing and not sure why. 

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read the book and what your thoughts are. 

About Kelley

Hi! I'm Kelley. Real foodie and crunchy mom to a teenager and a toddler. My husband and I live in Southern California.