Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” as Want to Read:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

(Magic Cleaning #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  303,765 ratings  ·  29,297 reviews
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-li

Hardcover, First American Edition, 213 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 15th 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Melissa The author did address that, in a way. It is not the medicine that sparks joy, but the hope of beating cancer. And truly, if you don't hope of beating…moreThe author did address that, in a way. It is not the medicine that sparks joy, but the hope of beating cancer. And truly, if you don't hope of beating cancer, perhaps you should throw away the medicine and live the life you have now! My mother-in-law did that after about a year of cancer treatment. The last few months of her life were beautiful, and truly did bring her joy.

Only you can decide what will bring you joy. Follow your instinct!(less)
Jennifer Sardam No, in my experience so far, the book seems to encourage the reader and participant in this minimalist project to go by his or her own guidance system…moreNo, in my experience so far, the book seems to encourage the reader and participant in this minimalist project to go by his or her own guidance system and choose which things to keep based on the feelings he or she gets from each object. This is the first time I've seen advice like this in a book on decluttering, and I LOVE it. Unique and inspiring. This makes sense to me, because -- at least in my own experience -- we often fail to be able to get rid of things, because there is some emotion or mental construct connected with an item ... whether it's the thought that "I might read this book one day," or "It reminds me of my childhood."

For example, she advises to first gather all of the clothing from everywhere in the house -- not just that which is already in the closet or in the drawers of the bedroom dresser ... but EVERY single scrap that's wandering about the resident's home (In fact, she mentions that, with her clients, when they do this exercise together with her, if they forget to bring in an item from another room ... she does not even give them an alibi. The rule is that the item has to go!)

Although it sounds like a gargantuan process, she says you must physically take each garment or accessory in hand and go by the way it makes you feel. If you are not enlivened somehow by it, then it has to go. According to the author, her principles followed closely will result in the participant/reader never backsliding to having to repeat the process all over again. It is supposedly foolproof and maintainable for life.

I am only halfway through the book, but I'm intrigued and hopeful, as I've already gotten into the spirit of it, and I managed to rid myself of two HUGE contractor bags full of Tupperware and kitchen drawer odds and ends, things like unnecessary plastic cups with theme park designs, old chipped plates, etc. (I did all of that BEFORE I realized I was supposed to FIRST begin the entire process with the closet and then move in sequence from there ... whoops!)

I have seen those reality TV shows, and I can tell you that I'm by NO means a hoarder; but I have lived most of my life suffering the frustration of ADHD and the heaviness of feeling/being "chronically disorganized," mostly with books, clothing and loads of "important paperwork" (spending hours upon hours some nights just trying to find that one critical paper for the next day ... ugh, so MUCH wasted energy and time). So this book is a breath of fresh air that I welcome with open arms!

If you are considering buying or reading this book, and it helps, I will sum up the major point that I get from it so far; and that is that we must realize that not everything or everyone is meant to be in our lives for a finite amount of time. We cannot go through a lifetime collecting and keeping everything that "sticks" to us, is given to us, or that we accumulate in some way. Some gifts, no matter how well-meaning, don't fit who we are. Some people are just trying to unload their own tangible crap on us, and that's unfair of them (she goes into that, too -- don't just rid yourself of stuff by giving it to a poor, unsuspecting relative).

The stuff that enters our lives has its defined purpose ... sometimes it's just a fleeting moment to be enjoyed. The greeting card has done its deed when it conveys the feeling of love and warmth across a thousand miles from a loved one; and yet many of us feel compelled to keep them all, carting them from one residence to another, piled in boxes as if the recipient might somehow be secretly notified and then hurt at the moment that we throw them away. If anything, that person would probably be sad that their cards caused so much work instead of joy for the recipient!

Books are often meant to be read when the feeling strikes us to choose them and to immerse ourselves in reading their stories. Years later, their time to be read has passed, and it is okay to donate them to someone else, to move past that nagging feeling that we didn't finish something.

The purpose of the book could have been to convey one simple truth to the owner. That cocktail dress you never really wore? Though you loved seeing it hanging in your closet, a deep satiny blue, beckoning you to the life you dreamed of ... but maybe never quite lived? It's okay to release it, get rid of the guilt of never wearing it. You were changed by it just the same, because possibly it taught you who you were not going to be in this life.

Really, it's okay ... that's what I'm learning from this powerful book ... after 42 years of feeling bad about throwing things away and trying to find better organizing tips or more storage space. Those actions don't fix the problem. They only allow the problems to live on ... deal with your stuff! That's the answer she's giving us here. I think the message here IS truly life-changing as the title implies. Enjoy!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  303,765 ratings  ·  29,297 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Diane Yannick
There is no rating low enough to compensate for the way this book has ruined my life. Whatever you do, don't read it as it will haunt you. This is a long review but it behooves you to stick with it.

To begin, you have to touch each and every possession and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If it doesn't, it needs to be discarded. Do you know how hard it is to summon joy for beige underwear or Neosporin? Yet summon you must. I like my carrot peeler but is joy too strong a word?

It gets tougher.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
How do I get into messes like this? Reading books that have words like "tidying" in their title, I mean. Well, there's a story behind it.

The Good Wife and I are trying to purge, to clean up after decades of marriage, kids, three moves, etc. "We've got to do something about all this stuff we keep bumping into or dusting," I keep saying, "something more than the penny ante efforts we're doing so far."

Enter a New York Times feature on THIS book, calling it the greatest thing since sliced sushi:

Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"You will never use spare buttons." WORDS WE ALL NEED TO HEAR.

I really thoroughly loved this book. I've always been interested in minimalism - trying to stop material goods being the things that bring us happiness, and not owning more than we need - and picked this book up after hearing a few people around me enjoy it. I was hoping it would give me a few tips on how to lead a more clutter-free existence, and while it accomplished that, it also did so much more.

The thing that most stuck me about
George Cotronis
Dec 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Do you like talking to furniture? Do you believe shirts have souls? Are you insane? This might be the book for you.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-age, non-fiction
This book did not spark joy. Therefore, I am discarding it.
The book is short and sweet, and the author is bat-shit crazy. But. Here are two take-aways that will stay with me:
If it does not spark joy, throw it out.
"My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away."
Believe me - I have been throwing away (and selling, and donating to Goodwill) with a vengeance for the past few days, and tidying. I refuse to fold my socks though. Folding socks is for people with all the time in the world.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
"Personally, I recommend hanging sponges outside, such as on the veranda."

Quite possibly the funniest line I have ever read in a book. Because she is dead serious.

Although there were several helpful sections about how to declutter and organize your home, much of this book is ridiculously funny.

This woman obviously has no children (and no life) as she speaks to all her inanimate objects daily, empties her purse EVERY SINGLE DAY, and doesn't own a dish rack, preferring instead to put all her dish
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014_read
This book just spoke to me, for whatever reason, although I can see why others might not get much out of it. No matter what the subject is, I love reading books by people that are truly passionate about the subject matter, and one thing is for sure: Marie Kondo is passionate about tidying.

Despite all of that, this book isn't really about tidying, at its core. It's about living very intentionally and allowing your surroundings and possessions to become an expression of yourself. If that last sen
Miranda Reads
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Looking for a new book but don't want to commit? Check out my latest BooktTube Video: One & Done - all about fabulous standalones!

Now that you know this one made the list - check out the video to see the rest!

The Written Review :

The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
By no exaggeration, Marie Kondō has spent her entire life tidying.

She tidied when she was a child up until her adulthood - and over those decades, she'
This review was delayed because I was busy tidying up.

Yesterday I finished this charming little book about the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, and this morning I woke up filled with ENTHUSIASM and was ready to open up every drawer and every closet and to simplify, simplify, simplify.

Of course, such projects always take longer than you expect. I was trying to follow the spirit of Marie Kondo's guidelines, which involve handling each one of your possessions and asking: Does this spa
La Petite Américaine Cash App: $Covid2020sucks
Jan 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone who isn't the Silent Generation/Gen X/Gen Y
"Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth." --Mary Schmich.

I'm trying, Mary. I really am.

Oh, screw it.

This was the most stressful book I've ever read. I haven't been thrown into such a fucking frenzy of hatred since The Book Thief, and as with The Book Thief, I'm astounded that audienc
Laurie Notaro
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I laughed out loud four times reading this book. Otherwise, it's the ravings of a lunatic. Funniest moments include the author bursting into tears when she discovers a smudge of bathroom slime on the bottom of her shampoo bottle and that she believes if you have 80 rolls of toilet paper in your house, you are a hoarder instead of a Coscto member. This is a woman who has her entire bookshelf in her clothes closet; if I walk into your house and you do not have 200 books laying around that you have ...more
P8tra X
I so agree that it is life-changing magic when everything has been tidied up. But I don't need to read the book as I already have this magic. Her name is Cynthia and she comes every other Thursday morning.

Admittedly she costs a "bit" more than this book and wants a computer lesson during her time but she Fabuloso's my floors, the airing cupboard is stacked with neatly-folded linens and once in a while we go at a place (like my son's room) that lacks 'magic' and garbage-bag everything. This is a
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Because I have such admiration for the Japanese aesthetic, I picked up this book with interest. In fact, I was delighted to discover that my lifetime habits of tidying are roughly in line with Marie Kondo's, the expert's, except for a brilliant bit of advice relative to clothes that I can't wait to try. Kondo's basic mantra is "keep things that bring you joy; discard everything else," and that is so cool that I'm going to try it, because it goes further than what I had thought, but along the sam ...more
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, why
Edit: Apparently thntn is very upset and thinks it’s racist of this white woman not to like this book (I like Kondo as a person just fine) because the author isn’t white. Well, that’s bullshit, obviously. If thntn doesn’t like a book by an author that is of a different race than her’s... I guess that makes thntn a racist herself. It appears that I have to make a correction. I’m told that Ms. Kondo never said to get rid of hangers. I apologize. It must have been the word ‘tidy’ echoing in my brai ...more
Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️
I think the word "tidy" or "tidying" was used in the book at least a 100 times, and that's being conservative. Talk about some clutter...

Anyway, I definitely didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. And I certainly didn't enjoy this as much as The Joy of Less.

Maybe it was the fact that I had read that book prior to this or the fact that I have been reading a lot of minimalist blogs and sites that already extrapolated the best parts of this book and the KonMari Method...but I just found m
I give this one 2 stars because I took a few things from it that I think are great ideas to help me organize. But about a third of the book was spent repeating itself and when it wasn't doing was just weird to me. I wondered at times if the book was satire or a memoir of OCD disguised as the middle child syndrome. Some examples that had me wondering if this was satire or not include:

1) She talked as though inanimate objects have feelings or as though they are alive so you have to say g
Lianne Downey
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: very-special
I have just experienced the life-changing magic of discarding two-thirds of my clothes, shoes, and accessories! One category down, a whole house to go. It's so fun to get dressed now; all I have to do is reach in and anything I pull out "sparks joy" in my heart. After going up three sizes and then back down again within the last 2 years, you'd think I wouldn't have anything left to discard, but that wasn't true. So many items were hiding the good stuff, dragging me down with bad memories, worn o ...more
Merphy Napier
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I may not use every piece of advice in this book, but I did really enjoy it, and will be incorporating parts into my life. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook while I cleaned
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I hesitated to read this book because I thought it might not have much to offer beyond what's written on its back cover: get rid of any belongings that don't "spark joy." That is really the essence of Kondo's advice, but she has more to offer in the rest of the book too, and it's surprisingly eccentric and Japanese. No American book would advise praying to your house before tidying it, for example, or suggest that objects just want to help you and that, once released from your possession, they w ...more
Laurie  |  LOHF
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
 photo hoarder_zpsnsubrrkz.jpg

I know a secret. If you have too much stuff and it’s bugging you then get rid of it. All of it. Well, nearly all of it. Save a few things but only the things you absolutely love, the things that spark joy within your being (you’ll know it when you feel it, says the author) and don’t bring more things into the house unless you love and/or need them. Don’t think you can do that? Well, never mind then.

This author wants you to be absolutely ruthless with your possessions and do it in one fell sw
Dec 04, 2014 added it
Notes as i read:

Things I like:
-the idea of tidying by category
-the joy factor
-"we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of."
-she's not very judgemental
-the sweet Japanese anthropomorphizing of objects
-her approach to clothes and thanking the objects for their service
-her order and suggestion that tidying needs to be done just once in a big swoop and in a certain order: discard first, figure out where things go after
-like the idea of seeing what you need/don't ne
What will I take away from this "life changing" book on tidying up?

1. If you name a method after yourself, you conjure up instant credibility as an "expert".
2. If you are a neurotic nutcase with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, try to turn it into a virtue, or even better, a lucrative career.
3. If you use the words "spark joy", "feel happiness" and "reduce anxiety" enough times, people will want to follow your lead and pay you good money for your advice.

and on a practical level I've learnt t
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
I've read a lot of organization books over the years, but this is a book that might actually change your relationship with your possessions. Instead of focusing on categories, fiddly buckets, or accessories from Bed Bath and Beyond, Marie Kondo asks us to reevaluate the way we relate to our homes and belongings. The question, "does this spark joy?" seems pat, but it truly liberates you to think critically why you keep something around. By the end of the book, you'll understand that we keep thing ...more
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favourites
This book has actually changed my life. I'm now in the middle of category 4 out of 5 of her decluttering/tidying process and honestly y'all i have never felt so good. Thanks KonMari! ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because so many people talk about it, but I'm not necessarily a hoarder or someone who has too many things that I need to tidy up. This was only four hours long on audiobook so I flew through it in two sittings (while cleaning my room, coincidentally). And although I don't agree with Marie a ton about thinning down on your things (ie. for sentimental items, she's like "throw them away!! it had value to you once and now it's gone!!" like, no. im keeping everything i've touch ...more
Robin Hobb
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Office Kat brought this book to my attention, and it became my plane read for a trip to Australia in November 2014. Doubtless the Kat had an ulterior motive (the office is a stacked up mess) but this book offers more than tips on tidying.

The author, Marie Kondo, has made tidying up her life since she was a small child, and shares many anecdotes about her early days as a stealth clutter-control operative in her family home, as well as some of the false starts she had on her way to her tidying
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction
The book started out in a fairly logical and reasonable manner but quickly descends into quirky rules and instructions. I believe there are useful ideas to be gleaned from Marie Kondo’s methods and it is sort of a fun read to see what kooky thing she’ll suggest next. Read it and take what you can from it.
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
When I first started this book, it felt absolutely life changing. I was already facing a looming "fall cleaning", as I had family coming to visit and I usually do a deep house cleaning before the holiday decorating starts anyway.

After a couple of chapters, I immediately spent a couple of days going through just about everything in the house and loaded up around 5 trashbags to be donated, as well as 2 large boxfuls of books, and that's not even counting all I threw away (which was also a lot!).
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Manga de Yomu Jinsei ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō = The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1), Marie Kondō

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again.

Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.

The Mari Method, with
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism
  • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
  • The Secret (The Secret, #1)
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Marie Kondo (近藤 麻理恵) is a Japanese organizing consultant and author. Kondo's method of organizing is known as the KonMari Method, and one of the main principles is keeping only possessions which "spark joy."

Kondo's best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been published in more than 30 countries.

She was listed as one of the world's 100

Other books in the series

Magic Cleaning (3 books)
  • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
  • Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life

Articles featuring this book

  New year, new you? Nah! There's nothing wrong with the current you, except perhaps you need a new book. Luckily, 2020 is promising to be a...
170 likes · 145 comments
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” 213 likes
“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” 204 likes
More quotes…