Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

What better time to review a book about organizing your life than at the beginning of a new year? The Japanese are known for their effortless spaces and pristine, organized systems, and it is no coincidence that the New York Time’s best seller of this book is exactly that…


At first I was hesitant at buying yet alone reading this book. I am not a believer of Feng Shui, nor do I think that the way you arrange your furniture brings you happiness or makes you zen. But what I do believe is that the way a room is laid out and organized can make a drastic impact on your mood. In Marie Kondo’s book, she explains how tidying up or organizing your spaces are indeed life changing, and whether you believe it or not, after reading this book I sort of understand how. So here’s my view on all of this..

#1. One of the first points that Marie emphasizes o#n is that things, or objects in your home and surroundings must ‘spark joy’. This means exactly what it says, an object should bring you joy or happiness when you see it or touch it. It should not have a meaningless nostalgic background, nor should it be something that is placed for no purpose. Everything in your home must ‘spark joy’ and be an essential part of the space. Now I am not sure I completely agree with her point here. A notepad does not ‘spark joy’, neither does the remote control yet both are essential in my home. As an interior designer, many pieces I add to a room do not make me instantly joyful or cheery in any way but serve a purpose in my eyes to bring taste and style to the space. I do however agree with her point that objects that are mere clutter and do not serve a purpose be it aesthetically or functionally must go.

#2. Another thing she mentions is the fact that you should respect your belongings. They are have meant to serve you a purpose and therefore are entitled to respect. She says that for example a ladies handbag is meant to be stowed away quietly and be emptied of all contents upon your arrival at home and ‘be thanked’ for helping you out all day. I don’t know about you but if I had time to empty my handbag and thank it every time I came home I would be doing so much more things with my evening too.

#3. This point she makes is something I love and find so therapeutic, she says to tackle categories not rooms when you begin to de-clutter your life. This means that if you were to arrange the books in your living room, you are supposed to tackle the books everywhere in your house. Category by category. This helps you to focus on the task at hand rather than looking at the room as a whole. Therefore in which you are able to see more clearly when it comes to removing things from your life.

#4. Another point which I found worked for me when I began to minimize the clutter in my life is that I didn’t get family or friends involved. Kondo says that showing your family the things that you are giving away is prone to make you keep them. Which is 100% true. People around you will always find an excuse for everything you don’t want and might steer you in the wrong direction.

#5. Last but not least, an idea that I have started to do with my daughters clothing, is to fold vertically in drawers rather than hanging them. This makes sure you see every item and eventually use them! How many of us have clothes in our wardrobe that we haven’t worn in years? This technique allows you to see everything on display right in front of you, therefore increasing the chance of you eventually wearing them.

All in all, Marie Kondo’s book wasn’t exactly life changing but it was indeed eye opening and fascinating to see how many things in your life need tidying up. The whole process will make you see things differently, trust me.