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Littler Books cover of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Summary

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

Marie Kondō

1.6 minutes to read • Updated May 22, 2024

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What it's about in one sentence:

A transformative guide to decluttering and organizing your home, bringing joy and simplicity into your life.

Bullet Point Summary

  1. Marie Kondo's KonMari method will not only help you tidy up your home, but also help you to make better decisions, be healthier, and live the life you want.
  2. The first step to tidying up is to visualize the space and life you want. This visualization should be as detailed as possible. It should include details like your morning routine to the color of your bedsheets.
  3. A tidy space is a place where you can access what you need and love efficiently, so it is important to know what you need and love. Don't be scared to discard things you don't love. Many items you discard can probably be obtained again if you change your mind later.
  4. Organize your space in the way that feels the most natural to you.
  5. Focus on what to keep instead of what to discard.
  6. Evaluate each item based on the happiness or purpose it brings you. If it doesn't spark joy, doesn't serve a purpose, or has served its purpose, thank the item for its past contributions, and let it go with gratitude.
  7. Tidying up is similar to meditation. It can feel therapeutic to let go of extraneous things and improve your space. It's like a detox of your body and mind. Some of the author's clients actually felt physical relief from tidying up.
  8. As you tidy up, you inevitably introspect your past as you go through old items. This exercise will force you to examine what kind of person you were, and guide you to see who you'd like to become in the future. Remove items that don't fit the future version of yourself.
  9. When going through your possessions, start with the easy categories (e.g., clothes, documents). End with the hard categories (e.g., sentimental items).
  10. Do not just dump items you don't want on other people (e.g., your family). Ask them first if they want your items.
  11. Always aim for simplicity and order when organizing your space.
  12. A tidy space positively affects your happiness and ability to take action. An efficient and intuitive space saves you time and reduces stress.
  13. There's no such thing as "born messy". Author has helped many clients with the "born messy" mindset improve their self-perception by going through the process of tidying up.
  14. Tidying up is not a lifetime effort. You only have to do it once, but it could take a long time (author's clients take six months on average). However, after you're done, it inaugurates the start of a new lifestyle.
  15. Communicate with your possessions and space as if they're sentient beings. This illuminates the relationships you have with them and should help you gain a more intuitive feeling of what to discard or keep.
  16. Letting go of things can be difficult. Some questions to ask to help you decide are "Has it served its purpose?", "Does it make me happy?", "Why/when/how did I get it?", "How often do I see it or use it?"

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Resources