Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I finally did it. I finally read the book that the internet has been raving about for the last few years. This is the book that on YouTube I swear everyone was talking about a couple years ago, even those who don’t read books. The minimalist movement really started to appeal to me a few years ago, and ended with me probably giving away half of what I owned (and I regret nothing). Similarly, though this book does seem a bit over-hyped, I did enjoy it and saw value in reading it.

Release: 2011

Page Count: 213

Format: Audiobook

Synopsis: Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant who shares her tips and tricks about tidying up a person’s life in this simple and impactful book.


I really enjoyed this book and it’s a quick, short read. Instead of simply telling you how to organize your life, Kondo instead emphasizes how organization can effect your happiness and how, in a sense, you can become a happier person. Her main point that she focuses on the most is that you should own only what brings you joy, getting rid of any unnecessary material objects. I could not agree with this mentality more, as so often we are bogged down by what we own and wanting to own more instead of enjoying life to the fullest. Disorganization in our space leads to unhappiness and confusion. Oftentimes untidiness is a sign of deeper psychological issues we all have, and in tidying our spaces we will be forced to deal with issues we have been avoiding as well.

I have done a lot of research myself on organization (I’m kind of an organization fiend), but I appreciated how Kondo often took a different view on things than most organizer’s do. First, I appreciate that she admits that one size does not fit all. She gives the example that some advisers will say only own seven shirts. The point is that I’ve heard a lot of exact advice, but I like how she said each person has to narrow it down to what they really need in their lives. One person might be able to get rid of all their books without trouble, while another might find each book they own gives them joy.

Second, I loved her advice to start with the easier things and move onto harder ones. Start with clothes, go to books, etc. End with sentimental items. This will help you to, from the beginning, gauge how you decide what brings you joy. I like this, because I found I did this naturally when I was getting rid of things.

Third, make sure everything has its specific place. I myself have been following this naturally for a couple years, and it helps me immensely! I have a horrible memory, so it’s nice knowing exactly where something I’m looking for is instead of spending twenty minutes searching for it. Another good tip is don’t stack things, but organize clothes vertically so you can clearly see everything. This is also something I find helpful for me because I always forget about what’s at the bottom of the stack.

While I do agree with her in most things, there were a few things I didn’t. First, she says when in doubt, get rid of something, you can always buy it again. I don’t agree with that sentiment, as a lot of people aren’t wealthy enough to just get rid of something and repurchase it down the road. Second, coins should be put in a wallet, not a piggy bank. I have always found piggy banks useful. Finally, she advises to…talk to inanimate objects? This might be a Japanese thing I don’t know about…not sure. But it felt like weird advice when you’re getting rid of something to thank it for the joy it provided you when you bought/received it, or when you get home to thank everything for its organization. I don’t know about you, but I certainly will never go around talking to my car keys even if I enjoy talking to myself.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book, even if it didn’t really give me a lot of more information I didn’t already more from my past interest of this topic. Have you read this book, or any organization book? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

  1. Great post! I loved this book, although, like you, I had a bit of issue with the talking to inanimate objects…I just couldn’t thank my shoes for their hard work without laughing : ) But I read this at a time when I was just starting to get into minimalism, and I got rid of about 80% of my stuff, meaning I could move my family into a lovely, small apartment and cut my outgoings in half! It was an eye-opener, and I’d encourage anyone to give it a go – even if they just get a bit more organised, rather than throwing out all their stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched the Netflix series but didn’t read the book. I don’t like the idea of getting rid of stuff and possibly buying it again later, though my concern is more with being wasteful. In general, I wish she had at least a little bit to say about how to responsibly get rid of stuff (donating and recycling are options for a lot of things) and some of the ecological aspects one can relate to minimalism. I also thought the whole “talking to objects” thing was odd. But then, I thought, maybe it subconsciously helps people feel less guilty for getting rid of stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, though I didn’t think of her talking about how getting rid of stuff. I guess I didn’t mind that she didn’t cover donating and recycling because it’s automatic for me to do anyway. When I got rid of my stuff over the years I have always donated. But I guess that would be an important topic because a lot of people don’t think of that automatically. And I had no idea there was a Netflix series on it.


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