Book Review-The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo


I read this book very quickly. The hard part of this book is putting into action what you have read. That has taken awhile to implement. Truthfully, I wanted to wait until I had completed my whole house tidying before sharing this review. I’m not done yet, but I have made some great progress.

Like many other people I know, I have always had more things that I needed. And with two moves in the past year, I was aware of how much stuff I owned. This book empowered me to tackle and discard my stuff. If you are never going to read the book, I will sum it up for you very quickly. You are asked to hold up each item that you own and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If the answer is no, you get rid of the item. If the item sparks joy for you, keep it.

If you are intrigued and wondering how to go about this, read on.

Visualize Your Destination-

Ask yourself, “What do you hope to gain through tidying?” (36).

“Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space” (36).

“The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy” (38).

How to decide what to discard-

“Take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it” (41).

“Keep only the 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” (42).

A key to her method is sorting by category not location. Her best order for doing the sorting is clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and momentos. To utilize her method, you must bring all your items from one category together for sorting. She recommends the living floor. I found my bed to be a great location for sorting. I had to finish by the end of the day if I wanted a good night’s sleep!

Now, you might wonder what if the people I live with aren’t interested in participating in this tidying project? “To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy” (52).

As I said, we have not completed the project yet. We have made great progress.

 photo 1-44

When you take everything you own out of drawers, shelves, hangers, etc., you will be amazed at how much you own. Our shirts covered our king sized bed! The bottom two pictures are the get rid of piles for us.




My pants, skirts, shorts, capri collection. The bottom left is what I kept. The bottom right is what I no longer own.

photo 2-41

photo 3-35




Books continue to be in process for me. Here are four boxes of books that have moved on to new homes. She urges you to get rid of any books you own and haven’t read. That is difficult for me. I’ve got my “for fun” books under control. My “work” books need more attention.




One place I have made great progress is getting rid of things I was given. I’ve kept too many gifts because I was thankful for the gift. Marie Kondo urges you to touch the item and give thanks for the gifts and the giver, and then get rid of it if it does not spark joy. I am delighted to say that I have been able to do this. I have said thank you for many things and then passed them on to thrift stores, recycling, and (as few as possible) the trash.


photo 4-24



Papers are another in progress area for me. I have filled this huge bin up 1.5 times so far. I think I can do at least another 1.5 times! It feels good to get rid of papers that I do not need or want anymore.





“Clutter is caused by the failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out” (142). I am working on this as I continue through her process.


“Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more” (60). I’m still pondering what this means for my life.

What I’ve learned so far and why I recommend this book to others-

You can still appreciate the gift and the giver of a gift without keeping the gift forever.

By sorting through my clothes, I don’t have to think so hard in the morning. Everything in my closet and drawers fits me and makes me happy. Getting dressed each day is easy!

It feels good to get rid of things that don’t bring me joy. It is freeing to carry things out of your house that you don’t love.


  1. SusannahDB

    Thanks so much, Maren, for sharing my review. I’m glad it inspired conversation for so many.

  2. SusannahDB

    When this post generated discussion on Facebook, I was inspired to do some more work. Another huge tub of papers and three more boxes of books are leaving the house today! Still more work to do, and it feels good to see more progress being made.
    If others are need a little push to get back to tidying, I hope this helps!

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