I have heard so many rave reviews of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and have been meaning to start it for a number of weeks. But I wanted to wait until I had enough margin in my life to actually put the book into practice, not just read it and wish I could follow through with it! 🙂
So since I have a quieter week this week, I decided to dive into it — and to be brave enough to blog my thoughts as I read it. (The book is broken up into five different parts, so I’ll be reading one part per day this week and blogging my thoughts fresh after reading it.)
Why Can’t I Keep My House in Order?
The first section was called Why Can’t I Keep My House in Order? And it started out with a bang — not only by making a case for why you need to tidy up your space (“When you put your life in order, you put your affairs and past in order, too.”) but on why you need to completely rethink your approach (“Success is 90 percent dependent upon our mindset.”)
Marie Kondo, the author, did a great job of convincing readers to give her methods a try. She also did a fantastic job persuading readers why other organizational methods such as doing a little bit at a time, just don’t work well.
“If you tidy up in one shot rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset.”
Part of me loved her sort of all or nothing approach. I loved that she promises that once you overhaul your home with her methods, it will not only transform your life, but that you will never need to do such an overhaul again.
That alone was pretty impressive to me. We live fairly clutter-free, minimalist lives — or so I thought before I dug into my kitchen today (more on that in my Homemaking Challenge report post tonight!) — but I have to stay on top of the clutter. This means that I have to go through our house regularly and clear out clutter and this also means that at least once a year, I do a thorough top to bottom house decluttering.
So I’m very curious to read more and hear how Marie makes good on claims that once you’ve done this whole house tidying, you don’t need to do much maintenance. If she could save me from needing to spend a week decluttering every year, I would be all over that.
“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 mindset for creating order and becoming a tidy person.”
One particular nugget in this first section intrigued me and that was the suggestion to tidy by category, not by location. Instead of tidying the girl’s room or the living room, she suggests tackling clothing and then books and so forth.
I’m still not sure how that all works out — especially because I feel like I have a number of items that would fall under the miscellaneous category. Again, I’ll wait to see how she fleshes the details out more on this.
“People cannot change their habits without first changing their thinking.”
So far, I’m loving the book. It’s inspiring me, it’s challenging me, and it’s leaving me hungry for more. I can’t wait to read tomorrow’s section and let you know what I think of it!
If you read pages 1-33 today, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you read! Tell us in the comments.
I snagged this book today at the library because I’ve been hearing/reading so much about it. And if.you.could.see. my house right now, you’d KNOW that I need it. I am a homeschooling newbie, my husband is gone 10+ hours/day, and I stay home with our 3 young children during the day and also work part-time in the evenings. My husband and I are both pretty minimalist, but things still seem to get out of control FAST. I am definitely in the process of figuring out my new rhythm, and hope this book will be helpful! (if I can find time to read it and implement it!!!)
My pastors wife started talking about it, so I went to pinterest to find out what it was all about. I started on my own, but after reading your post I just ordered the book. Just my room and little kids rooms alone got rid of 7 bags of stuff, and I thought I was a minimalist. Can’t wait to clean more out. Then to get my teens on board.
I’m going to the library today to get this book! This weekend my husband and I raised our voices towards each other… over clutter! We rarely ever yell at each other, and when I realized we were fighting about clutter, I realized, something has got to change because stuff is not worth this! I get so frustrated that I spend every day trying to stem the tide of clutter, and I get so angry when my family doesn’t pick up after themselves. But, I realized it’s a lot more tempting to leave the honey on the counter when it blends in with all the other clutter there, than it is to leave it sitting on a clean and cleared counter where it stands out. It’s time for a revolution in this house!
For those of your readers who cannot afford to buy the book or who are more visual, etc. I found these videos of the KonMari methods by KonMari herself that I thought would be helpful to share. God bless. Here is one of the links:
Youtube also has videos of her being interviewed, her giving a panel presentation, of her doing a home consultation helping a client declutter her books, how to fold short-sleeved shirts, etc. Since I am a visual learner, a picture is worth a thousand words, since I could not understand what you all were talking about when I believe you or another wrote about her folding clothes in a rectangular fashion. These videos helped me, since I pictured it incorrectly in my head. I hope this helps & does not hurt your feelings. I just want to be helpful. Take care. 🙂
Crystal Paine says
Thanks SO much for sharing!
I just checked this out from the library today. I’ve always considered myself an organized person, but this book is really challenging me to look at my possessions and approaches to tidying differently! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.
Marie Kondo recently had a baby and I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes out with a new book edition.
I liked the book a lot but I wish she had written more about maintenance – how to recognize when something has reached the end of its life cycle and how best to dispose of things. She wrote a bit about putting things back where they belong when you are done with them, but nothing about getting other people to do the same.
I am very interested to read your reviews, Crystal! I have heard lots of other people say that the method is a little confusing because it doesn’t really address kids and the revolving wardrobes, toys, etc. Can’t wait to hear your take on it all!
I just finished reading this book – returning it to the library today! I love the idea of cleaning everything at once, but I’m not sure I can realistically do that. To do clothing – take everything out (storage and all) all at one time would take me an entire day – and much as I’d love to do that, I don’t have an entire day to devote to that. I may give it a shot by doing one category of clothing at a time – tops, bottoms, etc. Overall, I loved the book and do plan on giving it a try, just gotta find a way to make it work for me!
I had a difficult time wrapping my head around decluttering by categories and not by room. It would be 6 months of feeling like nothing was COMPLETELY finished in any room. So instead I decluttered by categories with a room. That way I knew I had one room completely finished and could move on and not feel as if I had multiple partial task completed. I know it’s not the way she suggests, but my personality won’t allow me to relax with unfinished projects.
I really enjoyed this book – I actually listened to the audiobook while hanging out in the hospital while my daughter was there for a few days. I loved nearly everything, and I think some of the weird phraseology can be understood by remembering that this book was written in Japanese – if you have watched any videos of Marie Kondo, you know that her first and primary language is Japanese. I’ve heard complaints that the word “tidy” is annoying, but even though we use that word little in English, I’m sure it’s the right word translated from Japanese. It also explains little quirks. Additionally, her target audience, even though she mentions otherwise, is the Japanese, so not everything will translate over culturally.
I’ve integrated using shoeboxes in some of my drawers – especially my underwear drawer. It’s easy now to keep things organized instead of in a big mess in the big deep drawers!
I’m on the list to get it from the library. Can’t wait to read it and try to apply it to my life. My biggest “clutter” challenge is that my son is on the autism spectrum and has to sometimes have things just “so.” I’m hoping that if I get the rest of the house in order that dealing with his hundreds of Pokemon cards in their various formations will be easier to deal with.
After reading the book in 3 days, ive spent the last 7 days going through my entire house – by category- asking the question of whether something brings me joy. I spent the weekend with my 6 & 9 year olds going through books, clothes and toys asking them if an item brings them joy or not. As others have said, doing this quickly is key and I was itching to get started!
This method is incredible. I’ve always been tidy and organized but this is a whole new level. I seriously feel calmer and more relaxed because my house is in order. I had 3 “offices” around my house and not enough room to work. Now I have 1 and it is a space I can’t wait to spend time in and more importantly can work with ease in.
Looking forward to your thoughts on the book!
I can’t wait to read this. I am really losing my mind with all the mess and clutter in my house.
I read the book recently so I was excited to see that you’re posting about it now! I plan to start with clothing tomorrow.
I’m in the middle on a move (our things go in on Wednesday!). I have two middle aged kids and an 8 month old, I’m not sure I’d have time to declutter a category all at once. I’m still hoping a full night’s sleep will happen one of these nights! 🙂 Any tips for mamas of babies?
Wait!! Unless you have someone who can take care of the baby completely while you are kendo-ing!!
I think her advice applies best to single, child-less people. There’s no such thing as only decluttering once when you have children growing in and out of clothing, ages, stages, and I myself need different clothing for maternity, postpartum, nursing, etc. I also think there’s a cultural component where a typical urban family in Japan lives in 4 rooms and I have a 3000 sq ft house in the suburbs, with all the extra lightbulbs, tools, lawn gear, and miscellany that entails. I did “Kon Mari” books, clothes, and papers, and then got completely stalled by the idea that “miscellany” was most of my house.
I agree with all you said. With 9 people and a large house, this method has to be adapted.
I purged about half our belongings before we moved in January, but started the KonMari process in May and I’m almost finished. It does take a bit of time to accomplish all the categories. She says to allow 6 months, but I feel like the sooner you do it, the better. Gotta keep the momentum rolling. 😉
Now that I’m almost finished, I’ve gone back to the earlier categories and have gotten rid of more stuff. I’m more willing to let things go now after experiencing what a relief how life changing it really is to live a simpler life and to not be tied down by material possessions. I know we’ve gotten rid of at least 2/3 of our belongings now and it’s such a good feeling. My kids don’t even miss all the extra toys we’ve gotten rid of. I can see a difference in them. Their rooms are not overwhelming to manage any more and they play more with the things that remain. I think they’ve realized the less stuff we have to manage, the more time we have for fun!
It’s really nice to live a more simple, clean, and less materialistic life and I’d highly recommend that everyone read her book. It really is life changing! My daughter’s birthday is coming up and thankfully a lot of my family have read this book so she’s only getting the things she needs and the rest of it will be experiences and not stuff!
So… I have to admit I’m surprised by your pantry! I thought will all that couponing and deal shopping it’d be stocked for years! Now I’m curious how you do it!!!!
Gina Eastman says
I reserved this book from the library, read it & began to follow her advice…great book!
With two kids I would have a hard time tidying up by category because toys can be in any given room at any given time but I did just do a declutter today 🙂 shhh….don’t tell the kids some of the toys are gone and they may never notice! 🙂
I read Marie Kondo’s book last month and it has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.
I just started kon-mari-ing everything by category a few weeks ago. I started with clothing, as she suggests, and I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been.
I got rid of two giant bags of clothing–just mine not my son or my husband’s.
The only things that are left are the clothes I was actually wearing. It feels so good to look in my closet now and instantly find what I’m looking for. I had cocktail dresses from life pre-baby and that baby just started 7th grade.
I went through the book category Saturday. That was incredibly difficult because books are like my friends. But it had gotten way out of hand. Again, I’d had books sitting on my shelves that I hadn’t touched in years and didn’t really care to read again. I felt kind of nauseous while I was going through them all and I desperately wanted to stop several times but I got through it. I’m still processing that session I think.
Well, I’m very excited to read what you have to say about this book. I read it a few months ago and have been following a number of groups on Facebook dedicated to this method. I was surprised when your article popped up on Facebook between my other KonMari posts, but was happy to see it. Again, I look forward to your thoughts on the book.
I read this book last spring and loved it…I’m still using her drawer/clothing method! There are definitely parts I didn’t agree with (I didn’t thank my possessions, but I did thank God for them!), but I did learn many new-to-me ideas. She also doesn’t have kids, so I don’t think her once-and-done approach is realistic for me. The girls have already outgrown clothes and toys and homeschool stuff, so I’m still decluttering (though not as much as before)!
Christina L. says
I’ve heard she wants you to thank your things. I don’t know that I could thank my things, but I can certainly thank God for them though! I bought the book and haven’t picked it up. Perhaps I’ll grab it at bed tonight and start working on the 5 day challenge with you tomorrow. Might be a day behind, but it can’t hurt!
Janet Martinez says
I thought she had a baby.
I’ve gone through the book and the categories method is genius. There is definitely some weird stuff in there, but I know a lot of that is a cultural difference. Overall I though the book was awesome and our house is completely different than before we went through it. I recommend it all the time. Hope you enjoy it!
We actually “kondoed” the Sunday School classrooms and our supply closet at church, working every Friday for about 3 hours all summer long. We spread out and put all the glue, the scissors, the colored pencils, the crayons, etc. in piles.
We learned that it may be YEARS before we need to buy more supplies. As news of our project spread, others found MORE supplies tucked here and there through the offices and other rooms that they delivered to us. This year we need to re-supply a few bottles of glue and some playdoh because those dry up. We’ve saved our church countless dollars this summer. It really works!
I just finished the book yesterday. I read it in two days! (As a new mom I haven’t finished reading anything lately!). I’m waiting for my husband to take the baby so I can begin! If the book did anything it was inspire. I aways tackle room by room, I love the idea of tackling categories instead.
I agree with the categories. I tried it and it made it so much easier. I suggest categorizing the miscellaneous items instead of trying to decluttering it all at once.
Emily D. says
What a coincidence–I just started “Kondoing” today! I did all the clothes. I didn’t do what she suggests and put them on the floor, because I would’ve just died under the clothes. But I did take them all out, individually, and look at them all. Only one more part of the closet left! I was AMAZED at how much I got rid of. I thought it would be one bag, but it’s four, and that’s growing. I also did the top two drawers of my four-drawer dresser. I have to say, folding underwear and swimsuits does make the drawers look a lot better, and you see exactly what you have.