The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Summary

Most organizational books that tackle clutter and how to achieve a clean space focus on the tactics and strategies. This book starts not by going straight to those methods and techniques, rather, it explains the rationale why we accumulate junk and clutter in the first place. It reveals how having a proper mindset is crucial before you start doing the actual labor required to achieve your “dream space”. 

Who should read this?

  • People who want to achieve true and lasting tidiness in their living spaces.
  • Anyone who wants to experience more while having less
  • Fans of Minimalist philosophy and lifestyle. 

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Main Ideas

  • The book’s core message is the importance of having the right mindset for creating order and tidying up your space which is crucial in having a relaxed mind and body.

  • It’s important to have a clear vision first of your “dream space” that fosters the lifestyle you want before doing any form of decluttering. 

  • Do not be afraid to discard things you own, especially if the trade-off is a more pleasurable and meaningful lifestyle. 

  • A positive change in your surroundings gives you so much more than just physical cleanliness and order. It helps promote good vibes and helps you to be more in tune with your ideal lifestyle.

    We hold on to things because of an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.

Quick Summary of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

Tidying begins by discarding. To help you decide which things to keep, ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?

It’s not about what to throw away, it’s about what to keep. Even stuff that brings back memories should be considered for decluttering. After all, if it has served its purpose the first time you received it, then it has done its job. Like an old friend, you can let them go.

After a successful decluttering (which Kondo advised should be done in one go, not in multiple sessions), the next step is to decide where to store things. 

By surrounding yourself with things that spark joy, you optimize your living space to bring peace and happiness.

How to Declutter, KonMari Style:

  • Sort your stuff by category.

  • Create sub-categories as needed (pants: jogging pants, formal pants, etc.,)

  • Pick up things one by one then decide which ones to keep by asking yourself if the thing “sparks joy”

  • Once you’re done discarding stuff, it’s time to clean and organize your space

  • You should set aside a significant part of your week/day to do all these at one go 

Notes, Lessons, & Takeaways from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  • A successful decluttering begins and ends with the right mindset. Any strategy or tactic won’t work unless you adapt a new philosophy and beliefs about how your living space should be like. 
  • Eliminating stuff that doesn’t spark joy makes our space much more comfortable and relaxing. It becomes a sanctuary where we’re excited to come home into and stay
  • One of the underlying concepts of Feng Shui is about how each thing has its own unique energy. In line with that thought, each object should be managed based on its characteristics. True “tidying” aligns with that idea, as it should create the most “natural” state for the person. For example, a person who loves the outdoors might feel claustrophobic in a skimpy apartment with no natural light or view of the outside. On the same vein, a book lover would find joy and energy if the space is optimized for books and similar items.
  • Clutter happens when we fail to return things to where they belong. To maintain a tidy space, the secret is to designate a spot for each item and have the discipline to return it there after each use.
  • One of the best feelings that comes after people adapt a tidy lifestyle is contentment. After banishing unneeded things and optimizing for only the stuff that spark joy, they crave for less things


My Favorite Quotes from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

“In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way that will change your life forever.”

“In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.”

“Let me share with you the secret of success. Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go. If you adopt this approach—the KonMari Method— you’ll never revert to clutter again.”

“Tidying in the end is just a physical act. The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. If you can do these two things, you can achieve perfection.”

“Does it still sound too good to be true? If your idea of tidying is getting rid of one unnecessary item a day or cleaning up your room a little at a time, then you are right. It won’t have much effect on your life.”

“‘Don’t aim for perfection. Start off slowly and discard just one item a day.’ What lovely words to ease the hearts of those who lack confidence in their ability to tidy.”

“Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.”

“The majority of methods give clearly defined numerical goals, such as ‘Discard anything you haven’t used for two years,’ ‘Seven jackets and ten blouses is the perfect amount,’ ‘Get rid of one thing every time you buy something new.’ But I believe this is one reason these methods result in rebound.​”

“Those storage ‘solutions’ are really just prisons within which to bury possessions that spark no joy.​”

“Sort by category, in the correct order, and keep only those things that inspire joy. Do this thoroughly and quickly, all in one go. If you follow this advice, you will dramatically reduce the volume of things you own, experience an exhilaration you have never known before, and gain confidence in your life.”

“I pray that through the magic of tidying more people will be able to experience the joy and contentment of living surrounded by the things they love.​”

“By successfully concluding this once-in-a-lifetime task, you will gain the lifestyle you aspire to and enjoy a clean and orderly space of your choosing.”

About the Author Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a world-renowned organization and tidying expert hailing from Japan. She is also a bestselling author and star of the popular Netflix series based on this book.   

Books similar with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Power of Less

Psycho Cybernetics

The Magic of Thinking Big

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit for Less

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