The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Book Review

kondo book review-large

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  I read so much about it and when a co-worker mentioned to me how amazing it was I finally bought the book for myself.  Now that I’ve read through it, I wanted to share what I’ve learned.  It was a quick read and I’m glad I made the time to read it.

What is the book about?

In case you haven’t heard of this book or wasn’t sure what it’s about, here’s a quick summary:

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo promises that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. The KonMari Method, utilizes a category-by-category system that leads to lasting results by determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t).

Why did you buy this book?

What ultimately prompted me to buy “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was the clothing purge that I had done to my closet.  Three of the reasons I finally did the massive purge were:

  1. My closet was filled to the brim with skirts, jackets and sweaters that were outdated and no longer fit.
  2. I struggled with decision fatigue every morning deciding what to wear.  There was too much in my closet for me to really see what was there.
  3. There were many times I wore clothing items that I did not feel good in just because they were in my closet.

I committed to having a minimalist wardrobe and I finally donated (or threw out) all of the items that I did not like or did not fit. The emptiness was freeing and I felt as if a weight was lifted off of me.  Each time I opened my closet I would just stand and stare – absolutely loving everything I saw.

While discussing the great feelings I had from a closet purge with my co-worker, she recommended that I read the book.  She had gone through the book and fully kon-mari’d her living space.   She said the book was a great read and was a worthwhile purchase.  I saw the book price was only $10, splurged on it, and haven’t thought twice about my decision.

How did you go about tidying your home?

I did not tidy my house while reading the book.  Marie Kondo recommends that people tidy their entire house in one fell swoop and as a working mom, I did not have time for that.  I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to completely tidy the house, but had decided to implement some of her ideas around my house when I had time.

Then a bit after I finished the book we decided to buy a new house and move.  As I was packing I purged.  Thinking back, we purged a lot.  If an item was not going to be used in our new home it was not going to come with us.  I purged and packed room by room, not by object (as recommended), for convenience.

When I unpacked our boxed in the new house I purged even more.  Once we’re completely settled into the new house I may decide to go through this process again.

Did you follow the Kon-Mari method exactly by the book?

As I mentioned, I did not tidy my house by category.  I also did not fold all of my clothing the KonMari way.  She recommends you fold clothing so it stands up.

kondo folding

While I do fold it that way if it’s convenient, most of the time I do not fold my laundry, because that’s what works for me.  With 4+ loads of laundry every week I simply do not have time to neatly roll and stack all of it.

I did however like how she described paper storage.  She suggested storing papers (if you must have that hard-copy) by category, which we’ve already been doing.  It’s organized, but not a hard system to maintain.

Do you have any regrets on anything you’ve given away, donated or thrown away?

No.  Since my home is a bit bigger than a shoe-box, I was not in a rush to get rid of items if I had the space to store them.  I didn’t want to regret throwing anything out, so I kept things even if I wasn’t 100% sure if I would need them.  I think that’s why I feel the need to do a second-round purge.  To get rid of the items I thought I may need, but didn’t actually use.

If I hadn’t read this book and tried to do a purge I definitely would not have gotten rid of so much stuff.  This book taught me to detach my feelings from the item and I would’ve kept many more sentimental items had I not read it.

Which tip did you think was the most ridiculous?

Greeting your house every day and thanking your items.  I don’t think I believe in talking to inanimate objects.  I am definitely appreciative to have the things I have and will thank Hashem for them instead.

What is the greatest lesson that undergoing the KonMari process taught you?

You do not need to keep things.  After an item has served its purpose you can thank it and find it a new home.

In the past I was scared to let things go.  Now I’ve learned that it’s ok to purge, even if…

  • You may need it again
  • Someone special bought it for you
  • It’s wasteful to dispose of it

This is the one concept that allowed me to move into our new home.  I had so many memories in my old home I was scared to let go of it.  But honestly, after reading this book I realized that my memories will come with me.  The house served it’s purpose and now it was time for a new family to create memories in that home while we will create our memories in our new home.

Do you recommend this method to friends and family? Do they participate?

Yes. While none of my family has done it or read the book, DH was on board.  He does not like clutter, so he was definitely happy about all the purging I did.

My kids are collectors just like their mom.  To limit the amount of stuff they collect I bought each of them a bin.  They can keep whatever they want in their bin.  If it’s full, then the only way to add something new is to purge something old.

We’ve also gotten into the habit of taking pictures of projects.  It ensures that they have memories of the beautiful things they made, but we do not have to find a place to store it.


While I didn’t think that all of the methods mentioned in the book were all that kid-friendly or practical for really busy people, it was still really enjoyable to read.  It made me think about storing items in new ways and I even got to learn a bit about Japanese culture.

If you enjoy reading and want to discover what all the hype is about, then read the book.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you read this book, what did you think of it?  What did you like about it?  What changes have you made in your life as a result of reading this book?

Until next time,