This book was number 1 on the The New York Times Best Seller list for
quite some time. As a matter of fact, right after Kondo published the book in
2011, it became a big hit in Japan and Europe before it was published in the
United States in 2014, where it met the same fortune. Kondo's influence was
so big that she was listed as one of Time magazine 100 most influential people in 2015, and the
book became pretty much the bible of anyone interested in decluttering and
As a consultant, Kondo came up with what she called the KonMari method of
decluttering, which she describes in this book. To sum it up in just a
few words, her method consists of gathering together all of one's belongings
in one single place and one category at a time, and then discarding everything
that does not "spark joy" before finally choosing a place for everything that
one decides to keep. She is convinced that, by following this simple
method, there will be no rebound (i.e., one will manage to keep the house
successfully decluttered) because the change will bring about a turnabout in
the person's life. The book is at times quasi-mystical and, at some other
times, repetitive. Nevertheless, it does provide a good set of principles to
guide anyone throughout a serious process of decluttering.
Think back to your own childhood. I'm sure most of us have been scolded for
not tidying up our rooms, but how many of our parents consciously taught us
how to tidy as part of our upbringing? Our parents demanded that we clean
up our rooms, but they, too, had never been trained in how to do that. When
it comes to tidying, we are all self-taught.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 10)
(...) Rebound occurs because people mistakenly believe they have tidied
thoroughly, when in fact they have only sorted and stored things halfway.
If you put your house in order properly, you'll be able to keep your room
tidy, even if you are lazy or sloppy by nature.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 14)
Changing lifestyle habits acquired over a span of many years is generally
extremely difficult. If you have never succeeded in staying tidy to date,
you will find it next to impossible to develop the habit of tidying a little
at a time. People cannot change their habits without first changing their
way of thinking [bold in the original]. And that's not easy! After all,
it's quite hard to control what we think. There is, however, one way to
drastically transform the way we think about tidying.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 15)
Tidying brings visible results. Tidying never lies. The ultimate secret of
success is this: If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little,
you can dramatically change your mind-set [bold in the original]. A
change so profound that it touches your emotions will irresistibly affect
your way of thinking and your lifestyle habits. My clients do not develop
the habit of tidying gradually. Every one of them has been clutter-free
since they undertook their tidying marathon. This approach is the key to
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 16-17)
(...) Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem
has been solved [bold in the original]. But sooner or later, all the
storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some
new and "easy" storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral.
This is why tidying must start with discarding. We need to exercise
self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished
identifying what we really want and need to keep.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 23)
Against the idea of tidying by location (e.g., by room):
Many people are surprised to hear that such a semingly viable approach is
actually a common pitfall. The root of the problem lies in the fact that
people often store the same type of item in more than one place. When we
tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we're repeating the same
work in many locations and become locked into a vicious circle of tidying.
To avoid this, I recommend tidying by category. For example, instead of
deciding that today you'll tidy a particular room, set goals like "clothes
today, books tomorrow." One reason so many of us never succeed at
tidying is because we have too much stuff. This excess is caused by our
ignorance of how much we actually own. When we disperse storage of a
particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can
never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish. To escape
this negative spiral, tidy by category, not by place.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 25)
(...) Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding
and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first
[bold in the original]. The principle does not change. The rest depends on
the level of tidiness you personally want to achieve.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 28)
One day after school, I opened the door to my room to begin cleaning as
usual. At the sight of that untidy space, I finally lost it. "I don't want
to tidy anymore!" I cried. Plopping myself down in the middle of my room,
I began to think. I had spent three years tidying and discarding things,
yet my room still felt cluttered. Would someone plase tell me why my room
isn't tidy when I work so hard at it? [italics in the original] Although
I did not say this out loud, in my heart I was practically shouting. At that
moment, I heard a voice.
"Look more closely at what is there."
What do you mean? I look at what's here so closely every day I could drill
a hole through it all. [italics in the original] Wiht that thought still
in my head, I fell fast asleep right there on my floor. If I had been a little
smarter, I would have realized before I became so neurotic that focusing
solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness. Why? Because we
should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
[bold in the original]
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 40-41)
In addition to the physical value of things, there are three other factors
that add value to our belongings: function, information, and emotional
attachment. When the element of rarity is added, the difficulty in
choosing what to discard multiplies. People have trouble discarding things
that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information
(informational value), and that have sentimental ties (emotional values). When
these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder
to part with [bold in the original].
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 45)
When you come across something that's hard to discard, consider carefully
why you have that specific item in the first place. When did you get it and
what meaning did it have for you then? Reassess the role it plays in your
life. If, for example, you have some clothes that you bought but never
wear, examine them one at a time. Where did you buy that particular outfit
and why? If you bought it because you thought it looked cool in the shop, it
has fulfilled the function of giving you a thrill when you bought it. Then
why did you never wear it? Was it because you realized that it didn't suit
you when you tried it on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of
the same style or color, it has fulfilled another important function —it
has taught you what doesn't suit you. In fact, that particular article of
clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say,
"Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you," or "Thank you for teaching
me what doesn't suit me," and let it go.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 60)
To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first
discard those that have outlived their purpose. [bold in the original]
To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can
you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet
or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they
would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have
relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled
them. Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will
feel clear and refreshed when you are done tidying.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 61)
Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono
(miscellany), and finally things with sentimental value. If you reduce
what you own in this order, your work will proceed with surprising ease. By
starting with the easy things first and leaving the hardest for last, you can
gradually hone your decision-making skills, so that by the end, it seems
For the first category, clothing, I recommend dividing further into the
following subcategories to increase efficiency:
Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.)
Bottoms (pants, skirts, etc.)
Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
Bags (handbags, messenger bags, etc.)
Accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.)
Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, kimonos, uniformst, etc.)
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 65)
There are two storage methods for clothes: one is to put them on hangers
and hang from a rod and the other is to fold them and put them away in
drawers. I can understand why people might be attracted to hanging their
clothes. It seems like far less work. However, I strongly recommend
folding as the main storage method. But it's a pain to fold clothes
and put them away in the drawer. It's much easier to pop them on a hanger
and stick them in the closet. [italics in the original] If that's what
you're thinking, then you haven't discovered the true impact of folding.
Hanging just can't compete with folding for saving space. Although it
depends somewhat on the thickness of the clothes in question, you can fit
from twenty to forty pieces of folded clothing in the same amount of space
required to hang ten. The client described above had only slightly more
clothes than average. If she had folded them, she would have had no problem
fitting them into her storage space. By neatly folding your clothes, you
can solve almost every problem related to storage. [bold in the original]
But that is not the only effect of folding. The real benefit is that you
must handle each piece of clothing. As you run your hands over the cloth,
you pour your energy into it. The Japanese word for healing is te-ate,
which literally means "to apply hands." The term originated prior to the
development of modern medicine when people believed that placing one's hand
on an injury promoted healing. We know that gentle physical contact from a
parents, such as holding hands, patting a child on the head, and hugging, has
a calming effect on children. Likewise, a firm but gentle massage by human
hands does much more to lossen knotted muscles than being pummeled by a
massage machine. The energy that flows from the person's hands into our skin
seems to heal both body and soul.
The same is true for clothing. When we take our clothes in our hands and
fold them neatly, we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a
positive effect on our clothes. Folding properly pulls the cloth taut and
erases wrinkles, and makes the material stronger and more vibrant. Clothes
that have been nearly folded have a resilience and sheen that can be discerned
immediately, clearly distinguishing them from those that have been
haphazardly stuffed in a drawer. The act of folding is far more than making
clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love
and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle.
Therefore, when we fold, we should put out heart into it, thanking our
clothes for protecting our bodies.
In addition, folding clothes after they have been washed and dried is an
opportunity to really notice them in all their detail. For example, we might
spot places where the cloth has frayed or see that a certain piece of clothing
is becoming worn out. Folding is really a form of dialogue with our
wardrobe. Japanese traditional clothing, kimono and yukata, were always folded into rectangles to fit perfectly into drawers
designed to their uniform dimensions. I don't think there is any other
culture in the world where storage units and clothing matched so precisely.
Japanese people quickly grasp the pleasure that comes from folding clothes,
almost as if they are genetically programmed for this task.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 72-74)
On how to fold:
The first step is to visualize what the inside of your drawer will look like
when you finish. The goal should be to organize the contents so that you can
see where every itme is at a glance, just as you can see the spines of the
books on your bookshelves. The key is to store things standing up rather
than laid flat. [bold in the original] Some people mimic store displays,
folding each piece of clothing into a large square and then arranging them
one on top of the other in laters. This is great for temporary sales displays
in stores, but not what we should be aiming for at home, where our
relationship with these clothes is long term.
To store clothes standing, they must be made compact, which means more
folds. Some people believe that more folds means more wrinkles, but this
is not the case. It is not the number of folds but rather the amount of
pressure aplied that causes wrinkling. Even lightly folded clothes will
wrinkle if they are stored in a pile because the weight of the clothes acts
like a press. Think of the difference between folding one sheet of paper as
opposed to a hundred sheets in one go. It is much harder to get a sharp
crease when folding a whole stack of paper at one time.
Once you have an image of what the inside of your drawers will look like, you
can begin folding. The goal is to fold each piece into a simple, smooth
rectangle [bold in the original]. First, fold each lengthwise side of
the garment toward the center (such as the left-hand, then right-hand, sides
of a shirt) and tuck the sleeves in to make a long rectangular shape. It
doesn't matter how you fold the sleeves. Next, pick up one short end of the
rectangle and fold it toward the other short end. Then fold again, in the
same manner, in halves or in thirds. The number of folds should be adjusted
so that the folded clothing when standing on edge fits the height of the
drawer. This is the basic principle that will ultimately allow your
clothes to be stacked on edge, side by side, so that when you pull open your
drawer you can see the edge of every item inside. If you find that the end
result is the right shape but too loose and floppy to stand up, it's a sign
that your way of folding doesn't match the type of clothing. Every piece
of clothing has its own "sweet spot" where it feels just right [bold in
the original] —a folded state that best suits that item. This will
differ depending on the type of material and size of the clothing, and
therefore you will need to adjust your method until you find what works. This
isn't difficult. By adjusting the height when folded so that it stands
properly, you'll reach the sweet spot surprisingly easily.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 75-77)
Folding socks is even easier. If you've folded back the tops, start by
unfolding them. Place one sock on top of the other and follow the same
principles as those for folding clothing. For low-cut socks that just cover
the feet, folding twice is enough; for ankle socks, three times; for knee
socks and over-knee socks, four to six times. You can adjust the number of
folds to achieve the height that best suits the drawer. It's easy. Just
aim to make a simple rectangle, the key to folding. Store the socks on edge,
just as you did fot clothing. You'll be amazed at how little space you need
compared to your "potato ball days," and you'll notice your socks breathing
a sigh of relief at being untied.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 82-83)
On unread books:
The most common reason for not discarding a book is "I might read it again."
Take a moment to count the number of favorite books that you have actually
read more than once. How many are there? For some it may be as few as
five while for some exceptional readers it may be as many as one hundred.
People who reread that many, however, are usually people in specific
professions, such as scholars and authors. Very rarely will you find ordinary
people like me who read so many books. Let's face it. In the end, you are
going to read very few of your books again [bold in the original]. As
with clothing, we need to stop and think about what purpose these books serve.
Books are essentially paper —sheets of paper printed with letters and
bound together. Their true purpose is to be read, to convery information to
their readers. It's the information they contain that has meaning. There is no
meaning in their just being on your shelves. Books you have read have already
been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don't remember.
So when deciding which books to keep, forget about whether you think you'll
read it again or whether you've mastered what's inside. Instead, take each
book in your hand and decide whether it moves you or not. Keep only those
books that will make you happy just to see them on your shelves, the ones
that you really love. That includes this book, too. If you don't feel
any joy when you hold it in your hand, I would rather you discard it.
What about books that you have started but not yet finished reading? Or books
you bought but have not yet started? What should be done with books like these
that you intend to read sometime? The Internet has made it easy to purchase
books, but as a consequence, it sems to me that people have far more unread
books than they once did, ranging from three to more than forty. It is not
uncommon for people to purchase a book and then buy another one not long after,
before they have read the first one. Unread books accumulate. The problem
with books that we intend to read sometime is that they are far harder to
part with than ones we have already read.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 89-90)
If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was
recommended to you or is one you have been intending to read for ages, this
is your chance to let it go. You may have wanted to read it when you bought
it, but if you haven't read it by now, the book's purpose was to teach you
that you didn't need it. There's no need to finish reading books that you
only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway. So get rid of
all those unread books. It will be far better for you to read the book that
really grabs you right now than one that you left to gather dust for years.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 91)
My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away. My
clients are stunned when I saw this, but there is nothing more annoying than
papers. After all, they will never inspire joy, no matter how carefully you
keep them. For this reason, I recommend you dispose of anything that does
not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a
limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely [bold in the
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 96-97)
But let's consider this more carefully. Most of these gifts remain unopened
or have been used only once. Admit it. They simply don't suit your taste. The
true purpose of a present is to be received. [italics in the original]
Presents are not "things" but a means for converying someone's feelings.
[bold in the original] When viewed from this perspective, you don't need to
feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you
when you first received it. Of course, it would be ideal if you could use it
with joy. But surely the person who gave it to you doesn't want you to use it
out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to
feel guilty every time you see it. When you discard or donate it, you do so
for the sake of the giver, too.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 108)
Another item that is just as difficult to discard is keepsakes from one's
children. A Father's Day present with the words "Thanks, Dad." A picture
your son drew that was selected by the teacher to hang in the school hall,
or an ashtray your daughter made. If these things still bring you joy, it
is fine to keep them. But if your children are already grown and you are
keeping them because you think discarding them will hurt your children's
feelings, ask them. They are quite likely to say, "What? You still have
that? Go ahead and get rid of it."
And what about things from your own childhood? Do you still keep your report
cards or graduation certificates? When my client pulled out a school uniform
from forty years ago, even I felt my heart constrict with emotion. But it
still should be disposed of. Let all those letters you received years ago
from a girlfriend or boyfriend go. By now, the person who wrote it has long
forgotten what he or she wrote and even the letter's very existence. As for
accessories you received as gifts, keep them only if they bring you pure joy.
If you are keeping them because you can't forget a former boyfriend, it's
better to dicard or donate them. Hanging on to them makes itmore likely that
you will miss opportunities for new relationships.
It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those
past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these
keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be
for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 117-118)
What is the perfect amount of possessions? I think that most people don't
know. If you have lived in Japan or the United States all your life, you
have almost certainly been surrounded by far more than you need. This makes
it hard for many people to imagine how much they need to live comfortably.
As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will
come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.
[bold in the original] You will feel it as clearly as if something has
clicked inside your head and said, "Ah! This is just the amount I need to
live comfortably. This is all I need to be happy. I don't need anything
more." The satisfaction that envelops your whole being at that point is
palpable. I call this the "just-right click point." Interestingly, once you
have passed this point, you'll find that the amount you own never increases.
And that is precisely why you will never rebound.
The click point differs from one person to another. For a shoe lover, it
might be one hundred pairs of shoes, while a book lover might not need
anything but books. Some people, like me, have more loungewear than clothes
for going out, while others may prefer to go naked in the home and therefore
have no loungewear at all. (You'd be surprised at how many fall into this
As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you'll see
what your true values are, what is really important to you in your life.
But don't focus on reducing, or on efficient storage methods, for that
matter. Focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy and on
enjoying life according to your own standards. This is the true pleasure of
tidying. If you have not yet felt a click, don't worry. You can still
reduce. Tackle this job with confidence.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 124-125)
The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a
spot for every thing. [bold and italics in the original] You may
think, "It would take me forever to do that," but you don't need to worry.
Although it seems like deciding on a place for every item must be complicated,
it's far simpler than deciding what to keep and what to discard. Since you
have already decided what to keep according to type of item and since those
items all belong to the same category, all you need to do is store them near
The reason every item must hace a designated place is because the
existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space
will become cluttered again. Let's say, for example, that you have a
shelf with nothing on it. What happens if someone leaves an object that has
no designated spot on that shelf? That one item will become your downfal.
Within no time that space, which had maintained a sense of order, will be
covered with objects, as if someone had yelled "Gather round, everybody!"
You only need to designate a spot for every time once. Try it. You'll be
amazed at the results. No longer will you buy more than you need. No longer
will the things you own continue to accumulate. In fact, your stock on hand
will decrease. The essence of effective storage is this: designate a spot for
every last thing you own. If you ignore this basic principle and start
experimenting with the vast range of storage ideas being promoted, you will
be sorry. Those storage "solutions" are really just prisons within which
to bury possessions that spark no joy.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 131-132)
Most people realize that clutter is caused by too much stuff. But why do we
have too much stuff? Usually it is because we do not accurately grasp how much
we actually own. And we fail to grasp how much we own because our storage
methods are too complex. The ability to avoid excess stock depends on the
ability to simplify storage. The secret to maintaining an uncluttered room is
to pursue ultimate simplicity in storage [bold in the original] so
that you can tell at a glance how much you have. I say "ultimate simplicity"
for a reason. It is impossible to remember the existence of every item we
own even when we simplify our storage methods. There are still times in my
own house, where I have worked hard to keep storage simple, that I notice an
item I had completely forgotten about in a closet or drawer. If my storage
were more complex —for example, if I divided my things into three
levels according to frequency of use or according to season— I am sure
that many more items would be left to rot in the darkness. Therefore, it
makes more sense to keep storage as simple as possible.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 137)
For the reasons described above, my storage method is extremely simple.
I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same
place and don't scatter storage space. [bold in the original]
There are only two ways of categorizing belongings: by type of item and by
person. This is easy to graps if you consider someone who lives alone as
opposed to someone who lives with family. If you live alone or have a room
of your own, storage is very simple —just designate one place for
storing each type of item. You can keep categories to a minimum by following
those used for sorting. Start with clothes, then books, then documents,
komono, and finally mementos. If you are sorting your things in this
order, you can store each category in its own designated spot as soon as
you have chosen what to keep.
You can even categorize more loosely than that. Instead of dividing your
things by detailed type, use broad similarities in material, such as
"cloth-like," "paper-like," and "things that are electrical," as your
criteria and choose one place for each of these. This is much easier than
trying to visualize where you might use an object or the frequency with
which you use it. With my method, you will be able to categorize your things
If yu have already been selecting what to keep on the basis of what speaks
to your heart, then you will understand what I mean because you have already
collected items by category, spread them out in one spot, and held them in
your hand to make your decision. The work you have been doing has actually
honed your ability to sense what belongs together and to choose appropriate
places for storing them.
If you live with your family, first clearly define separate storage spaces
for each family member. [bold in the original] This is essential. For
example, you can designate separate closets for you, your husband, and your
children, and store whatever belongs to each person in his or her respective
closet. That's all you need to do. The important point here is to designate
only one place per person if at all possible. In other words, storage should
be focused in one spot. If storage places are spread around, the entire
house will become cluttered in no time. To concentrate the belongings
of each person in one spot is the most effective way for keeping storage
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 138-139)
A common mistak many people make is to decide where to store things on the
basis of where it's easiest to take them out. This approach is a fatal trap.
Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong.
Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things way, not
the effort needed to get them out. [bold in the original] When we use
something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Unless for some
reason it is incredibly hard work, we usually don't mind the effort involved.
Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put
things away or it is unclear where things belong. If we overlook this
vital point, we are likely to create a system that results in clutter. For
people like me who are naturally lazy, I strongly recommend focusing storage
in one spot. More often than not, the notion that it's more convenient to
keep everything within arm's reach is a biased assumption.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 141-142)
I store things vertically and avoid stacking for two reasons. First, if
you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage
space. Things can be stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it
harder to notice the increasing volume. In contrast, when things are stored
vertically, any increase takes up space and you will eventually run out of
storage area. When you do, you'll notice, "Ah, I'm starting to accumulate
The other reason is this: stacking is very hard on the things at the
bottom. [bold in the original] When things are piled on top of one
another, the things underneath get squished. Stacking weakens and exhausts
the things that bear the weight of the pile. Just imagine how you would feel
if you were forced to carry a heavy load for hours. Not only that, but the
things in the pile virtually disappear because we forget that they even
exist. When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the
bottom are used less and less frequently. The outfits that no longer thrill
my clients even though they loved them at the time of purchase are very often
the ones that spent a long time at the bottom of the pile.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 145)
On commercial storage solutions:
People often ask me what I recommend, no doubt expecting me to reveal some
hitherto secret storage weapon. But I can tell you right now: there is no
need to buy dividers or any other gadget. You can solve your storage problems
with things you already have in the house. The most common item I use is an
empty shoebox. I have tried all kinds of storage products, but have never
found any other that is free and still surpasses the shoebox. It gets above
average marks for all five of my criteria: size, material, durability, ease
of use, and attractiveness. These well-balanced attributes and its versatility
are its greatest merits. Shoes come in boxes with cute designs as well. I
frequently ask my clients, "Do you have any shoeboxes?" when I visit their
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 147)
On the bathroom:
There is no need to keep soaps and shampoos out when we are not using them,
and the added exposure to heat and moisture when they aren't in use is bound
to affect their quality. It is therefore my policy to keep everything out of
the bath or shower. Whatever is used in the bath should be dried after
use anyway, so it makes far more sense to just wipe down the few items we
use with our bath towel and then put them away in the cupboard. While
this may seem like more work at first glance, it is actually less. It is much
quicker and easier to clean the bath or shower without these items cluttering
that space, and there will be less slime buildup.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 158)
Tidying dramatically changes one's life. This is true for everyone, 100
percent. The impact of this effect, which I have dubbed "the magic of tidying,"
is phenomenal. Sometimes I ask my clients how their lives changed after
taking the course. Although I have grown accustomed to their answers, in the
beginning even I was surprised. The lives of those who tidy thoroughly
and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically
altered. [bold in the original]
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 178)
"Discard anything that doesn't spark joy." If you have tried this method even
a little, you have realized by now that it is not that difficult to identify
something that brings you joy. The moment you touch it, you know the answer.
It is much more difficult to decide to discard something. We come up with
all kinds of reasons for not doing it, such as "I didn't use this particular
pot all year, but who knows, I might need it sometime..." or "That necklace
my boyfriend gave me, I really liked it at the time..." 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. [bold in the original]
During the selection process, if you come across something that does not
spark joy but that you just can't bring yourself to throw away, stop a moment
and ask yourself, "Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an
attachment to the past or because of a fear of the future?" Ask this for
every one of these items. As you do so, you'll begin to see a pattern in
your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories:
attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future, or a combination
of both. It's important to understand your ownership pattern because it is
an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what
you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your
life. [bold in the original] Attachment to the past and fears concerning
the future not only govern the way you select the things you own but also
represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your
life, including your relationships with people and your job.
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp, 181-182)
Of course, I am not saying that my clients have never regretted discarding
something. Far from it. You should expect this to happen at least three times
during the tidying process, but don't let it worry you. Even though my clients
have regretted parting with something, they never complain. They have already
learned through experience that any problem caused by lack of something can
be solved through action. When my clients relate the experience of getting
rid of something they shouldn't have, they all sound extremely cheerful. Most
of them laugh and say, "For a moment I thought I was in trouble, but then I
realized it wasn't life threatening." This attitude does not stem from an
optimistic personality nor does it mean they have become careless in their
response to missing something. Rather, it shows that by selecting what to
discard, they have changed their mind-set.
What if, for ecample, they need the contents of a document that they disposed
of earlier? First, because they have already pared down the amount of documents
they own, they can quickly confirm that they do not have it, without having to
search all over. The fact that they do not need to search is actually an
invaluable stress reliever. [bold in the original] One of the reasons
clutter east away at us is because we have to search for something just to
find out whether it's even there, and many times, no matter how much we
search, we cannot seem to find what we are looking for. When we have reduced
the amount we own and store our documents all in the same place, we can tell
at a glance whether we have it or not. If it's gone, we can shift gears
immediately and start thinking about what to do. We can ask someone we know,
call the company, or look up the information ourselves. Once we have come up
with a solution, we have no choice but to act. And when we do, we notice that
the problem is often solved surprisingly easily.
Instead of suffering from the stress of looking and not finding, we take
action, and these actions often lead to unexpected benefits. When we search
for the content elsewhere, we may discover new information. When we contact
a friend, we may deepen that relationship or he or she may introduce us to
someone who is well versed in the field. Repeated experiences like these
teach us that if we take action we will be able to obtain the necessary
information when we need it. Life becomes far easier once you know that
things will still work out even if you are lacking something. [bold in
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, pp. 186-187)
We amass material things for the same reason that we eat —to
satisfy a craving. Buying on impulse and eating and drinking to excess are
attempts to alleviate stress. From observing my clients, I have noticed
that when they part with excess clothing, their tummies tend to slim down,
when they discard books and documents, their minds tend to become clearer,
when they reduce the numbers of cosmetics and tidy up the area around the
sink and bath, their complexion tends to become clear and their skin smooth.
Although I have no scientific basis for this theiry, it is very interesting
to see that the part of the body responding corresponds closely to the area
that is put in order. Isn't it wonderful that tidying your house can
also enhance your beauty and contribute to a healthier, trimmer body?
(Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, p. 195)