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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
|TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO||SPARK JOY||THE LIFE-CHANGING MANGA OF TIDYING UP||KIKI & JAX|
|More reads to spark joy on your bookshelf!||A beautifully packaged box set of the books that inspired Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.||An illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.||A graphic novel that will teach you the KonMari Method.||A picture book about the life-changing magic of friendship.|
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way that will change your life forever.
Impossible? A common response and not surprising, considering that almost everyone has experienced a rebound effect at least once, if not multiple times, after tidying.
Have you ever tidied madly, only to find that all too soon your home or workspace is cluttered again? If so, 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.
Although this approach contradicts conventional wisdom, everyone who completes my private course has successfully kept their house in order—with unexpected results. Putting their house in order positively affects all other aspects of their lives, including work and family. Having devoted more than 80 percent of my life to this subject, I know that tidying can transform your life.
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. If you change your approach, however, tidying can have an immeasurable impact. In fact, that is what it means to put your house in order.
I started reading home and lifestyle magazines when I was five, and it was this that inspired me, from the age of fifteen, to undertake a serious study of tidying that led to my development of the KonMari Method (based on a combination of my first and last names). I am now a consultant and spend most of my days visiting homes and offices, giving hands-on advice to people who find it difficult to tidy, who tidy but suffer rebounds, or who want to tidy but don’t know where to start.
The number of things my clients have discarded, from clothes and undergarments to photos, pens, magazine clippings, and makeup samples, easily exceeds a million items. This is no exaggeration. I have assisted individual clients who have thrown out two hundred 45-liter
garbage bags in one go.
From my exploration of the art of organizing and my experience helping messy people become tidy, there is one thing I can say with confidence: A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. I mean it. Here are just a few of the testimonies I receive on a daily basis from former clients.
After your course, I quit my job and launched my own business doing something I had dreamed of doing ever since I was a child.Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don’t. So I got a divorce. Now I feel much happier.Someone I have been wanting to get in touch with recently contacted me.I’m delighted to report that since cleaning up my apartment, I’ve been able to really increase my sales.My husband and I are getting along much better. I’m amazed to find that just throwing things away has changed me so much. I finally succeeded in losing ten pounds.
My clients always sound so happy, and the results show that tidying has changed their way of thinking and their approach to life. In fact, it has changed their future. Why? This question is addressed in more detail throughout the book, but basically, when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.
I currently offer a course for clients in their homes and for company owners in their offices. These are all private, one-on-one consultations, but I have yet to run out of clients. There is currently a three-month waiting list, and I receive inquiries daily from people who have been introduced by a former client or who have heard about the course from someone else. I travel from one end of Japan to the other and sometimes even overseas. Tickets for one of my public talks for stay-at-home parents sold out overnight. There was a waiting list not only for cancellations but also for the waiting list. Yet my repeater rate is zero. From a business perspective, this would appear to be a fatal flaw. But what if my lack of repeaters was actually the secret to the popularity of my approach?
As I said at the beginning, people who use the KonMari Method never revert to clutter again. Because they can keep their space in order, they don’t need to come back for more lessons. I occasionally check in with graduates of my courses to see how they are doing. In almost every case, not only is their home or office still in order but they are continuing to improve their space. It is evident from the photographs they send that they have even fewer belongings than when they finished the course, and have acquired new curtains and furnishings. They are surrounded only by the things they love.
Why does my course transform people? Because my approach is not simply a technique. The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which objects are moved from one place to another. It involves putting things away where they belong. This seems so simple that even a six-year-old should be able to do it. Yet most people can’t. A short time after tidying, their space is a disorganized mess. The cause is not lack of skills but rather lack of awareness and the inability to make tidying a regular habit. In other words, the root of the problem lies in the mind. Success is 90 percent dependent on our mind-set. Excluding the fortunate few to whom organizing comes naturally, if we do not address this aspect, rebound is inevitable no matter how much is discarded or how cleverly things are organized.
So how can you acquire the right kind of mind-set? There is just one way, and, paradoxically, it is by acquiring the right technique. Remember: the KonMari Method I describe in this book is not a mere set of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to acquiring the right mind-set for creating order and becoming a tidy person.
Of course, I can’t claim that all my students have perfected the art of tidying. Unfortunately, some had to stop for one reason or another before completing the course. And some quit because they expected me to do the work for them. As an organizing fanatic and professional, I can tell you right now that no matter how hard I try to organize another’s space, no matter how perfect a storage system I devise, I can never put someone else’s house in order in the true sense of the term. Why? Because a person’s awareness and perspective on his or her own lifestyle are far more important than any skill at sorting, storing, or whatever. Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person wants to live with.
Most people would prefer to live in a clean and tidy space. Anyone who has managed to tidy even once will have wished to keep it that way. But many don’t believe it’s possible. They try out various approaches to tidying only to find that things soon return to “normal.” I am absolutely convinced, however, that everyone can keep his or her space in order.
To do that, it is essential to thoroughly reassess your habits and assumptions about tidying. That may sound like far too much work, but don’t worry. By the time you finish reading this book, you will be ready and willing. People often tell me, “I’m disorganized by nature,”
“I can’t do it,” or “I don’t have time”; but being messy is not hereditary nor is it related to lack of time. It has far more to do with the accumulation of mistaken notions about tidying, such as “it’s best to tackle one room at a time” or “it’s better to do a little each day” or “storage should follow the flow plan of the house.”
In Japan, people believe that things like cleaning your room and keeping your bathroom spick-and-span bring good luck, but if your house is cluttered, the effect of polishing the toilet bowl is going to be limited. The same is true for the practice of feng shui. It is only when you put your house in order that your furniture and decorations come to life.
When you’ve finished putting your house in order, your life will change dramatically. Once you have experienced what it’s like to have a truly ordered house, you’ll feel your whole world brighten. Never again will you revert to clutter. This is what I call the magic of tidying. And the effects are stupendous. Not only will you never be messy again, but you’ll also get a new start on life. This is the magic I want to share with as many people as possible.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Emily Woo Zeller is an Audie and Earphones Award-winning narrator, voice-over artist, actor, dancer, and choreographer. AudioFile magazine named her one of the Best Voices of 2013. Her voice-over career includes work in animated film and television in Southeast Asia.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B00KK0PICK
- Publisher : Ten Speed Press; 1st edition (October 14, 2014)
- Publication date : October 14, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 3428 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 226 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,072 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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By Laura I. on January 30, 2017
I, unfortunately, learned some great lessons about parting with too much stuff 8 months ago when my hoarder mother passed away. I bought 120 large trash bags and with a determined ruthlessness, I tossed out 3 tons of trash. Boxed up new stuff for donation. Held estate sales for things of value...which Ms. Kondo does not seem to address very well. I thought that I would gain some insight from this book about purging my own messy house. I don't want to do to my kids what mother did to me. However, this book was no help. As someone else suggested, don't waste your time reading the entire book. Just read the sentences in boldface print. Honestly, that's all that should have been printed but there wouldn't be much money in selling a brochure.
I will say the book is somewhat repetitive and it makes the same point over and over (you have too much clutter and you’re keeping it for the wrong reasons); this might be a cold, hard, necessary teaching method to break the habit of keeping clutter, so I won’t dwell on that. On the other hand though, in areas where I wanted more detail, such as the steps she provides to actually do “decluttering”, or “tidying” as the author calls it, I found I wanted more detail. While clothing (for example) is well covered, entire categories of typical American “stuff” are left out, such as cupboards, kitchen tools, towels/linens, sporting goods, major electronic and computer gear, and the garage (and the myriad of categories of stuff found in there). There is absolutely no mention of a garage. The book, to me, is aimed heavily towards a female audience, and I’m not saying that in a sexist way. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just a missed opportunity to be more inclusive; men have stuff too, and the vast majority (not scientifically measured, just my impression) of the examples in the book are aimed at the types of belongings women *typically* own, again please don’t take this the wrong way. Most of the client examples the author mentions are women, with perhaps only two male clients I can remember. This is only notable to the extent that many pages are spent discussing organizing purses and none spent on organizing screwdrivers. I own zero purses but lots and lots of screwdrivers (along with other tools), and they badly need organizing. But I think I’ll be able to apply the technique to my garage as well as my closet. So for any of you out there who also own screwdrivers and they are in need of organization, perhaps you’ll be in the same boat as me, wondering why your tool collection was never even mentioned.
I would like the author to focus more on suggesting *donating* the items she so desperately wants us to discard. She gives good reasons for not giving your old stuff to your family, but surely there’s a better home for unwanted clothing than the trash. I’ve made it a point to donate mine. Perhaps this type of thinking will make it into the second edition.
Finally, as the author is from Japan, some of the cited mystical benefits of “tidying up” may register as goofy to Americans. Thanking your belongings for a job well done, as she suggests, is a form of consideration which may not resonate. But this is a matter of personal preference and posture; it certainly can’t hurt but I feel all but the most committed American readers may find it a bit campy.
In any case, I did get rid of a lot of stuff on my first round, and indeed it felt good to do so. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least the author has given me a rational framework for examining an item and deciding “should it stay or should it go”. More is going than ever before.
Top reviews from other countries
I bought this book on several recommendations. But I should have asked myself if the thought of reading it sparks joy before buying it. This is the biggest take-away from this book. Now I find myself asking this question whenever I go shopping. If the thought of eating it, wearing it, doing it, doesn't spark joy, it's time for reflection.
And that's it. The rest of the book is minutiae of how to discard and store things according to the Kon-Marie method which the writer invented which reads like a self-praising professor who gives boring lectures on how his past students did extremely well due to his teaching methods and how other teachers aren't that good or effective.
The irony is that this book is for hoarders but hoarders would never pick up this book. Or even if they pick it up, they would just pick it up to hoard it and not to read it. Or to read it and never follow through it. And if you are thinking of gifting it to someone you think has a hoarding problem, forget it. Hoarding is a psychological issue and unless the person navigates and cleans rubbish off their mental recesses, reading this book is just another dump in the ocean of mental junk.
The gist of the book:
- Take up cleaning the whole house (or universe) at one go! This probably won't work if you live in a joint family with your kids and parents and parents-in-law because you'll have to spare a week or two for it- on your own without interruption.
- Discard anything that doesn't spark joy. (Alas, I have bought things when I was younger and stupider and I have no spare monies to buy them again.) But this book maybe the one to go.
- Sort things by category, not by location. Example, if you are sorting the clothes, then sort ALL the clothes in your house at once, not just in one cupboard. (This is great, but I have all my stuff in their exact location already)
- Then the rest of the book is about how to store items in a cupboard (for which if you follow the book, you might need new cupboards with more drawers and clothes that don't wrinkle), how to clean the bathroom, how to arrange things in the kitchen, how to sort papers and documents and books, how to let go of gifts you do not use, etc. etc. etc. etc. till you get bored of reading the book about cleaning and decide to get rid of boredom by watching a movie and the idea of cleaning goes out of your brain and into the same vacuum of universe you were trying to clean.
(P.S. I read the whole book)
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR:
- People who already follow a routine cleanup of their stuff. For example, I have decided I'm only going to keep a certain number of clothes in my cupboard. I buy clothes ONLY when they get worn out or stop fitting. I do not buy clothes every Diwali or even for any close family member's wedding. Anything unused for 5 years has to go.
- People who are quite organized or like organizing tactics like DIY storage solutions. This book is against storage solutions and instead focuses on discarding.
- People suffering from some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders- we guys are already doing great at cleaning. No need to bend ourselves double and ruin our lives over it by reading one more book on it.
- People looking for an idea on minimalist living. This book is not about minimalism. I thought it was so - going by the white cover with the word 'Japan' on it. But that is why we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and people by their home-organizing techniques.
- People who like window shopping.
- People who go shopping whenever there is a 'sale'.
- People who 'have to have' something when they see something on a store window.
- People who have a hard time discarding things out of guilt or any sentimental value.
- People who have other people (usually mothers or wives or domestic help) to clean and organize things for them.
- People who have overflowing wardrobes and bookshelves.
- People whose lives are out of order (in existential crisis of some sort).
So I held this book in my hand after reading it and asked myself - Does this book spark joy?
It is a very easy read, but like a boring chemistry textbook unless you are really interested in the subject.
[I bought a paperback copy of the book. The font and binding are good.]
1) "I can't get over how she anthropomorphizes socks, treating them as if they have feelings and need to rest. This woman is out of her mind!"
Some people seem to be very hung up on the metaphors in this book. When Marie Kondo talks about socks (and other objects) working hard all day and requiring a proper rest when they’re put away, she doesn’t mean this literally. The point of all the anthropomorphizing in the book is to encourage you to think about your belongings differently and treat them with respect. For example, it’s easy to throw clothes on the floor of your bedroom or stuff them in a drawer thoughtlessly, but if you pause to consider what your clothes actually do for you and the value they bring to your everyday life, you’re far more likely to treat them with care and put them neatly back where they belong. Marie Kondo wants you to be grateful to your possessions, not for the sake of your possessions, but for your own!
2) "She doesn't explain how to deal with [specific category of items]. This book is worthless!"
One of the primary tenets of the Konmari method is the belief that only YOU can decide which things to keep and which to throw away. Your own feelings, desires, and values are the litmus test for each item. Which belongings do you want to surround yourself with? Which belongings bring value to your life? Marie Kondo can’t answer these questions for you, and that’s the point! The book encourages you to take responsibility for your possessions, and, through the “celebration” of tidying, take control of them too. If you want/need some additional instruction on the tidying and storing process, I’d recommend her second book, Spark Joy, which breaks the broad categories mentioned in this book into more manageable sub-categories, and has more in-depth tips for storing items once you’ve decided what to keep.
3) "It's far too difficult to pull everything from one category out of storage all at once. I don't have time to do something like that!"
If you’re looking for a “quick fix” to your clutter problem, one where you can go at it Saturday morning and finish by Sunday evening, this is not the book for you. From her descriptions of past clients, it could take up to a year for someone to completely tidy their home, depending on the number of items they own and the difficulty they have in recognizing which items “spark joy”. As a single woman living in a one-bedroom condo with not many belongings to begin with, it may only take me a few weeks, but if you’ve got a two-story house and family of four, you’d better prepare to be in this for the long haul. Of course, the reward for this massive investment of time and effort is the Konmari guarantee that you will have finished tidying once and for all, and your house will never return to its original cluttered state!
I don’t know if this book has changed my life yet (I’m still in the process of tidying up!) but it has absolutely changed my mindset and my relationship to my belongings. It’s had enough of an effect on me that I’ll gladly proselytize about it to anyone who will listen! Check it out!