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

Here are my comments on the book:

How can tidying up be so life-changing? Marie Kondo, best selling author and organizing consultant, states that your environment is a representation of your mind; a messy environment equates to a messy mind. By tidying up and organizing your environment, you’ll tidy up your mind. Not sure where to begin? Start with visualizing what your ideal room/workspace would look like. Next, throw out things that don’t bring you joy all in one shot. When deciding on whether or not you want to throw something out, touch it and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” and if it doesn’t, throw it out. Here are some of the points to the book:


1) Turn your passion into a profit. It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about as  you can find a way to make a profit from it if you persevere and deliver quality. Despite what people say about not being able to make money from what you love doing, I can’t think of an industry in which someone isn’t making a living from it. Ever since Kondo was a child, she has always been interested in tidying up and organizing rooms. She would spend all of her money on room design magazines and organizers and hours coming up with a better way to tidy up and organize rooms in her parents’ house. She took her passion for something random, in my opinion, into a living. When I tell people that my profession is teaching others how to tidy, I am usually met with looks of astonishment. ‘Can you actually make money doing that?’ is their first question. This is almost always followed by, ‘Do people need lessons in tidying?’ It’s true that while instructors and schools offer courses in everything from cooking and how to wear a kimono to yoga and Zen meditation, you’ll be hard-pressed to find classes on how to tidy. The general assumption, in Japan at least, is that tidying doesn’t need to be taught but rather is picked up naturally. Cooking skills and recipes are passed down as family traditions from grandmother to mother to daughter, yet one never hears of anyone passing on the family secrets of tidying, even within the same household. Think back to your own childhood. I’m sure most of us have been scolded for not tidying up our rooms, but how many of our parents consciously taught us how to tidy as part of our upbringing? our parents demanded that we clean up our rooms, but they, too, had never been trained in how to do that. When it comes to tidying, we are all self-taught.


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2) I once heard from a talk that Julia Roy, founder of, gave on how your brain is really good at picking up cues from your environment whether you notice them consciously or subconsciously. As a result, you should section off different parts of your dwelling for different things. Roy stated that by sleeping in the same room in which you work in causes unnecessary stress as your mind will continue to think about work as it can’t tell the difference between your work place and a place of rest. As a result, having a clean and clear environment will affect your mental performance and thus it’s vital to tidy up. Let’s imagine a cluttered room. It does not get messy all by itself. You, the person who lives in it, makes the mess. There is a saying that ‘a messy room equals a messy mind.’ I look at it this way. When a room becomes cluttered the cause is more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder. The act of cluttering is really an instinctive reflex that draws our attention away from the heart of an issue. If you can’t feel relaxed in a clean and tidy room, try confronting your feeling of anxiety. It may shed light on what is really bothering you. When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see any issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them. From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.


3. Want to start your life-changing transformation? Start by discarding all of the things that don’t bring you joy all at once rather than over a period of time. The idea behind this is that you need to make such a dramatic shift to your lifestyle that you’ll adjust to it. If you slowly chip away at tidying up, you’ll be more likely to revert back to how you’ve been organizing your stuff before your declaration to change. You think you have tidied everything perfectly, but within a few days you notice that your room is becoming cluttered again. As time goes by, you collect more things, and before you know it, your space has reverted to its previous state. This rebound effect is caused by ineffective methods that tackle tidying only halfway. As I’ve already mentioned, there is just one way to escape this negative spiral – by tidying efficiently all at once, as quickly as possible, to make the perfect clutter-free environment. But how does this create the right mind-set? When you tidy your space completely, you transform the scenery. The change is so profound that you feel as if you are living in a strong aversion to reverting to your previously cluttered state. The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart. The same impact can never be achieved if the process is gradual.

By Ryan Timothy Lee


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My rating:
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Check out the book here:

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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