The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo


Sharon Fleming

Plot Summary

Marie Kondo introduces her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, as a practical solution to tiding up spaces and revolutionizing the course of one’s life. According to Kondo, most people wish to stay in clean and organized spaces but are not able to do so due to a myriad of reasons that the book specifically addresses. Additionally, this book offers a detailed, step-by-step process of successfully decluttering and organizing space. To this end, Kondo notes that her widely acclaimed book is crucial in helping individuals organize their space in a manner that changes their lives forever. Further, the book acknowledges the fact that certain people experience a rebound effect at least once after tidying up, and hence it is important to help such people develop a tidying schedule that they can adhere to and integrate into their lives.

In her book, Kondo also states that the secret to a successful decluttering and tidying-up regime is to first discard what the individual does not need. Secondly, the individual must thoroughly and completely organize his/her space in one go. The individual should not do one room at a time, but should be able to completely and holistically transform his/her space. To this end, Marie refers to this as the KonMari method, which she has developed to declutter and organize spaces successfully. This method is tested and proven, of which Kondo guarantees its efficacy and efficiency (as “the art of tidying up”), and assures her readers that they will never revert to clutter in their lives. To Kondo, the KonMari method is hugely successful as evidenced by the huge transformation that her students have experienced in their lives by adopting it in their tidying-up regime. Despite it being against conventional wisdom, everyone who has completed her private course has successfully kept their spaces in order.

Based on her vast experience in tidying, Kondo takes the considered view that tidying up has a positive impact on a person’s life, holistically speaking, leading to positive progress in areas such as family and work. Those who cannot experience a dynamic transformation in their lives through tidying are those who get rid of one unnecessary item at a time or clean one room at a time. This kind of tidying technique does not usually lead to a transformative shift in someone’s life; to this end, the KonMari provides a workable and suitable option.

Kondo has received various testimonies from her wide range of clients telling her how the KonMari method has not only changed their spaces for the better, but also their lives. She notes that a dramatic reorganization of the home leads to a correspondingly dramatic change in lifestyle and perspective, resulting in better interpersonal relationships and other social benefits. Tidying up should not be looked at in a constricted manner, but rather in light of its expanded scope and benefits. Therefore, tidying up plays a major role in personal happiness and may change a person’s way of thinking and approach to life.

Also, Kondo observes that tidying up is “futuristic”, whereby the KonMari method allows an individual to consider the excess that they do not need, and instead focus more on the things that they actually need. This particular strategy makes sure that an individual is only surrounded by the things that they love.

The KonMari method is not just like any other tidying technique, as it aims at transforming people through developing an individual’s mental strength. The success rate is around 90% and is dependent on a person’s mindset. For a person to successfully tidy up and organize his/her space continuously without suffering a relapse, the person must have the mental perception and willingness to succeed. If an organizing method does not focus on an individual’s mindset, they will likely experience a rebound.

About the Author

Marie Kondo is an accomplished writer who also runs a successful consulting business in Tokyo, Japan. As a distinguished consultant with great reputation, Kondo helps people to transform their cluttered homes into private spaces full of serenity and inspiration. Her business is so successful that she has a three-month waiting list of clients waiting to enlist her most sought-after service: of decluttering and organizing.

Further, Kondo’s KonMari method has become an international phenomenon with several people across the world adopting it as a way to organize not only their homes, but also their lives. To attest to this international standard, the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has been listed as a best-seller in various countries such as Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, where it has sold millions of copies. Also, in Japan, the book has been scripted into a television drama where millions of Japanese have watched it. More importantly, Kondo has featured in more than thirty Japanese television and radio programs; internationally, she has been featured in numerous magazines such as The Times (of London), Red Magazine, and YOU Magazine.

Kondo started reading home and lifestyle magazines, as well as newspapers from a tender age of five. It was also during this time when she developed an interest in housekeeping and house economics. By fifteen, Kondo decided to get serious about tidying up — and over time, it led to the development of the KonMari method of tidying up, which she named by combining her two names.

As a consultant, Kondo visits homes and offices to give pieces of advice to her various clients on how to tidy up without suffering a rebound, and has been successful in guiding them to discarding millions of items, ranging from clothes to magazine clippings. For her private courses, Kondo notes that she has a zero-repeater rate, which manifests the successfulness of the KonMari program despite others possibly considering it as a massive business hoax.

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