Book Review – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo


The Kon-Mari method, a combination of Marie’s first and last name, is a book not so much about how to organize things, but how to rid ourselves of things so we can live a life free from stuff.  And, isn’t that most everyone’s goal?  I know it’s mine!

Instead of the questions I insist my clients ask themselves “Do I love it?”  “Do I need it?”  “Do I use it?”  Marie makes it much simpler.  Pick up each and every item and ask yourself  “does this bring me joy?”  As simple as that. This is great for those that have deep connections and feelings towards things.  Realistically, we all do, whether we want to admit it or not.  The questions I ask may just be better suited for those with more left brained thinking.

Marie and I do agree on things.  Don’t keep things that we no longer need, use or love; likes should live with likes; work on one thing at a time and move on to the next. I do like her list of what to work on first and what to work on last. Less sentimental in the beginning – more sentimental at the end.

There is something I don’t agree with, and it might just be semantics. She calls everything that goes into a bag garbage. I don’t agree that everything we need to let go of is garbage. And, I am not clear what she does with her clients “garbage”. I personally think that as much as possible should be reused or recycled.  This may add more time to what I do, but I have a hard time “throwing away” usable things.  There are many people in our community that have nothing, and donations of others peoples stuff enables them to have some things. And if reselling of other peoples things enable organizations in the community to help the less fortunate, then so be it.

Marie gives a lot of meaning to the things we keep, and making the things we keep feel welcome and cared for is also important to her. She empties her purse every evening so that it can rest. She also believes in showing appreciation to the things in her life by thanking them. I may try this – or I may not.

If you do read this book, please be aware that the clients that have never had her “come back” are in the right mindset when they begin this project. And, they have gotten “professional help”. Both of these things makes a big difference in our success at decluttering.  Doing it on your own can be hard, and there are often setbacks. If you do have a setback, don’t beat yourself up. Try, try, again. Or, get help from an expert.

In the end, it’s a good read and certainly not a waste of time!