The Life-changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

Published on June 29, 2018

Marie Kondo is a Japanese lady who loves tidying, and made herself a profession in helping people to tidy too!

So much so she wrote this best seller book.

This book goes beyond the how’s and practical aspects of tidying. It goes much deeper and explores the relationships between tidying and a meaningful life.

A good mindset to creating order makes a tidy person.

The effect of tidying is more than just a tidy house. It changes your life in every aspects.

Why most tidying guide fail

A big myth: tidy a bit every day

That strategy fails because you will fail along the way, on some day, and eventually get cluttered more than you can throw.

The right way is to tidy it all at once, with a big effort possibly in 1 day. You will see the effect, feel the impact, and therefore stay tidy forever.

There are 2 distinct steps:

  1. Discard
  2. Know where to store things

Discard first

Start with why. Why you want to be tidy? (hint: happiness)

Look around you. Know what are the things you want to keep first.

Tidy by category, not by locations. Gather 1 category of things (ALL) and place them on the floor so that you can see and compare them.

These are the categories and you should dealt with them in this order (easiest to hardest):

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Miscellaneous
  5. Keepsake

Tips to help you let go and discard:

  • You have already experienced the item. Even if you didn’t realize, the experience is already in you.
  • The item has served it’s use. It’s time is up.
  • Hidden away items desire to leave too.

Your feeling is your standard

Different values of things:

  • Functional
  • Infomational
  • Emotional

Most important is your feelings. Touch the item and ask:

Will this spark joy?

Sort by category

Clothes can be further subcategorized:

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Jackets
  • Bags
  • Accessories eg. belts, hats, scarves
  • Special eg. swimwear, uniforms
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shoes

How to fold:

  • Fold to rect, roll up, stand on edges
  • Hang with a rising arrow to right. Longest to shortest, darkest to lightest.
  • Tights and socks should NOT be stretched - unnecessary tension build up
    • Let them rest
    • Fold, and roll


  • Take all of them off the shelves and put on the floor
  • Books are an experience. You have already experienced the book, so it is “inside” you.
  • Unread or unfinished book? Next time is never..
  • Throw them, and if you really want them again, then buy, and make sure to read it this time.


  • Exclude sentimental ones eg love letters
  • Rule of thumb: throw everything away unless:
    • Currently in use
    • Needed for limited time
    • Indefinitely to keep
  • Categorize into
    • Need attention
    • Need to save eg. contracts

The real material in a seminar or event is the live experience itself. The notes can be thrown away.

Hanging on these materials are the reason you fail to put learnings into practice; throw them and you will practice.


  • Things you kept “just because”
  • CDs, hobby collections, gifts, gadget boxes


The book has the concept of living like a minimalist.

Don’t have excess stockpile.

Decrease your possessions, and you’ll know what you truly value, what is really important in your life.

Storing your things

Storing things should be simple. If it is complex, then you will unconciously hide your belongings. Don’t be smart with it. KISS.

KonMari method has only this simple principles:

Store items of the same type (clothes, books, papers, keepsake, miscellaneous) in the same place.

Some myths:

  • Flow plan is storing things so you can easily access them, within hands reach. However, this you cause the same thing to be scattered in different places. Eg. magazines in toilet, rooms, shelves. In a typical home, it takes no more than 10 sec to walk from end-to-end. Retrieve, use, and put it back to it’s rightful place.

  • Frequency plan is storing by how frequent you use an item, as much as up to 6 frequencies. If you need to, have at most 2 – often used and seldom used.

  • Stacking is a way of placing the items. We often stack things in pile, as that gives us unlimited space. Stack of books, papers, and clothes. You should already realized the bottom most of a stack is almost never used. Instead, store things standing up vertically.

  • Ingenious storage boxes merely hides your stuff.

  • Labeling overloads yourself with unnecessary visual information. Remove labels on your storage area.

Appreciate your belongings

Treat your belongings like a living being. Say “thank you” at the end of the day, and placing them back in their “home” (the allocated rightful place).

Treat your house the same. Thank it for providing you shelter and giving you a place to rest after a long day at work.

This might seem creepy, but it does make sense.

Doing so will increase the number of dependable supporters in your life.

Some athletes treat their sport gears dearly, and they claim the gear performed extraordinarily when they need them most.

Treat your belongings well and they will return in kind.

The Magic of Tidying

Marie Kondo is one of a kind. She loves tidying, and from the art of tidying, she understood many aspects of life.

You can say she got philosophical from tidying.

When you can’t let go, it is either you have attachment to the past, or you have fear for the future.

If you can’t get over your ex, you’re not living in the present. If you choose a career based on fears for your future, then you’re not listening to your heart.

She quoted many life changing “magic” that happens after her clients followed her process.

When I put my house in order, I finally discovered what I want to do.

Letting go is more important than adding. You’ll be surprised what really is most important to you.

Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.

I believe in the “magic” that tidying brings, and there are plausible explanations for it.

Tidying is a good process to know ourselves better. We can accurately analyze our characteristics from our possessions – how I got this, why I have this, what have I achieved, what makes me happy/sad.

I am now in my mid-life and I am guilty of accumulating so many possessions, including that box of school notes from my primary school days..

After reading the book, I am excited to tidy up my life (: