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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Summary

9 min read ⌚ 

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

If anyone tells you that things have souls and feelings – I bet you call them CRAZY.

But take a look around your home. How many useless things can you name in 30 seconds? If you counted more than 5, I have bad news for you: Huston, YOU have a problem. It’s time to break up with some old useless stuff and make space for new ones.

This is all about Marie Kondo’s book. Amazing topic, right?

I bet I caught your attention. But don’t worry! We all suffer from the same disease: having a box with memories, at least one drawer with “diverse things” and a garage full of objects that “might be useful someday”.

But Marie Kondo’s book – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying – was written to put in order your thoughts, life, and stuff.

All you have to do is to start reading it!

Marie Kondo is a Japanese cleaning consultant – quite famous in her native country.

After this book appeared and was published in more than 30 countries, she’s considered a specialist in this area. The method she uses is called KonMari, a combination of her names.


A messy room equals a messy mind.

Who Should Read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”? And Why?

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a guide to decluttering your home and your life, and as such has changed the lives of many people all around the world.

Living in a clutter-free environment can help you focus and achieve all of your dreams.

If you are a person who feels too attached to certain items and has a hard time going through the spring cleaning, we recommend this book to you.

About Marie Kondo

Marie KondoMarie Kondo is a bestselling author and an expert on decluttering.

She has helped a vast number of people to get their lives into order, and her books have inspired a TV movie.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up PDF Summary”

Decluttering your life and the space you live in is crucial if you want to have a simpler life, in which you will not feel stressed and anxious.

However, before you begin tidying up, you first need to have a vision of your ideal place, of how you would like for your space to look like.

Once you figure that out, the image of your ideal lifestyle, then you can begin the process of removing all excesses that prevent you from living the life from your visions.

The space you spend your time it should be filled with all the things you want and love. Do not keep things you do not need, even in cases when it feels more pragmatic.

For example, many people turn their old clothes into pajamas, but that is not the right way to go.

Do not be afraid to get rid of things. Make sure that the things serve you, and not vice versa.

Tidying up does not mean just cleaning up space and organizing things. It actually means creating an environment that reflects and improves the state of your mind and body.

So, it is logical that if you want to do this, you need to organize a space you feel comfortable in, and that feels natural to you.

When you are sorting things out, focus on the things you wish to keep in your experience. Whenever you see a thing, ask yourself what its purpose is and if it makes you happy.

Tidying should not be a calculated process. Instead, it should be a careful work on yourself.


Well, when did you last opened that unorganized album of 4000 photos from your last trip? Most probably you never did.

Instead of just collecting photos of places and things, make sure you have a few, that you actually look at.

Okay, but what do you do with all the sentimental stuff that you no longer need or want? Do you just throw it away? Or do you give it to your parents?

Even if you do decide to give it to someone else, do not just clutter their space. Instead, ask them if they want it, and if they do not, then just get rid of it.

We know that it may sound like it is very simple and it cannot change anything in your life, but tidying up can be very therapeutic and can create a space for you to not just experience happiness, but to also take action.

When your environment is clean, you feel like you are in control.

The process of cleaning up your space is just as exhausting as you may think, so you should set apart a fair amount of time to make it work.

But, you do not have to burden yourself with goals like tidying everything at once. Instead, just pick different areas you will work on, starting from the easiest one, like for example your wardrobe.

Another thing you must not forget is your day to day communication with your space. No cleaning up will be enough if you do not take care of your space on a daily basis.

Marie admits that she was fascinated by the subject of tidying from a very early age and was always looking for ways to improve this skill.

She managed to transform her passion (and obsession, some might say) for a clutter-free space, into an innovative business model and she offers consultancy to individual clients and companies that want to transform their lives.

This book is only one of the four she wrote on this particular subject, but it’s also the most well-known, outside Japan.

The structure of the book is very easy to follow, it only has 5 big chapters, each dealing with some specific topics.

The KonMari method consists of two big steps that you need to take in order to tidy your house. First, you need to gather all your belongings from one category and start discarding the things that you don’t need.

Living in a consumerist society, at first, you might be under the impression that you need everything. So, the key question is: “does this spark any joy?”

If the answer is yes, you can keep the item: we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of. The trick in applying this method is tidying by category.

This means that you should first start with your clothes, then books, then random objects and only in the end you should approach sentimental items like photos or letters.

By following this category rule, you won’t be tempted from the beginning to procrastinate or be absorbed into memories of the past, or become too emotional to continue the process.

An interesting topic that I found in this book was about the stuff that we receive as presents.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Summary

Many of us have old gifts that we don’t really like or use, but we don’t want to throw them away because we don’t want to hurt the feelings of the person that got us those presents.

Marie tells us that it’s ok to let go of those things. Their purpose in our lives was fulfilled and their mission is complete:

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.

The author stresses the importance of tidying quickly and in one session because only this way it’s possible to have a complete shift of perspective:

The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart.

You need to understand the difference between tidying and cleaning.

You will still need to clean your house on a regular basis. Only that now, because it has so much more free space and no clutter, this process will be easy and it will take much less time.

The key is putting the objects in their place after using them. How do we know where their place is?

You can designate a place for each object, but the design of the house itself will also help you: Your house already knows where things belong.

The author has very strong beliefs about the importance of folding properly. She says that if you stack your clothes one on top of the other, chances are, that the items at the bottom will never be used.

And I have to agree with her.

So she even made a few videos to teach us how to fold properly and how to arrange things in your closets and drawers so that you can see all of them when you open the doors.

The big advice isn’t to pile things up. Not even books.

Even if we tend to put them in a pile because it saves some space, the ones at the bottom of the pile will be forgotten and they are just occupying extra space.

For me, this part of the book was the most difficult to read. I love books and I have large shelves with books everywhere. I don’t feel like I could choose only 30 books to keep in my house. But I also understand a bit the author’s point of view.

I’m aware that I might never read some of the books that I purchased from impulse:

What I think might be a little difficult for some people from western societies to understand, is the rituals that Marie Kondo has with the objects.

She treats them as things that have a certain energy and even “feelings”, addresses them daily to show her gratitude and when she parts with an object it’s usually done in a small ceremony that she designs.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up PDF

It was weird for me at first too, when I started reading that she greets the client’s houses and has a small dialogue with it, but after thinking about the cultural differences between Japan and the US or other western countries, I decided to be more open-minded and not to label these actions.

The secret to tidying is to sort by category. Because if you only clean one closet at a time, you will be surprised to discover that you have similar items in other closets as well.

So, for example with the clothes, search for all the items around the house and make a big pile in the middle of the room.

Only then, you can start taking each item in your hands and ask the magic question: Does it spark joy?

Do the same with all categories (books, miscellaneous, photos) and then you will really have an organized house.

Be careful with the items that promise you extra storage. This means most clutter for you to stack.

You already have the necessary space for all the items that are important to you. You don’t need more space, you need to discard the items that have outlived their purpose or that bring you no joy.

Keeping a clutter-free house will help you reevaluate your entire life. You will gain clarity and perspective. Many of Marie Kondo’s clients said that their lives were completely changed after this process:

When I put my house in order, I discovered what I really wanted to do.

The key is to be ready for such a change and put some effort into this once in a lifetime process of tidying your house.

Key Lessons from “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

1.      Get Rid of Things You Do Not Need
2.      Let Go Of Things That Already Served Their Purpose
3.      Decluttering Is A Form of Meditation

Get Rid of Things You Do Not Need

Take books for example.

Instead of just keeping all the books you once bought in your space, get rid of the ones you are not passionate about, and just keep the ones you really like in your sight.

Doing this simple change can do miracles – you will suddenly see how you become more passionate about reading.

Let Go Of Things That Already Served Their Purpose

Some things have already served their purpose, and although they may be filled with memories, thinking that you will at one point in the future need them again will not help you in any way.

Just tell yourself that whatever you throw out you can buy again if you ever need it and move on.

Decluttering Is A Form of Meditation

You can think of decluttering as meditation. Picture it as detoxing your body and mind by cleaning up the space that they operate in.

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“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Quotes”

The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Click To Tweet But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. Click To Tweet Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle. Click To Tweet Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be? Click To Tweet People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book is just what you need, especially if you are living a fast-paced, cluttered life like most of us are.

Just start tidying up, and as you declutter more and more of your space, you will discover how this simple activity can affect the way you make decisions and act on them.

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