the life-changing magic of tidying up – Intro and Chapter 1 notes

What follows in this blog entry is my summary and thoughts on the self-help book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.   My notes should in no way be construed as a replacement for the book and if you want to know more you are encouraged to purchase the original work and have a look for yourself.


Introduces the Konmari method, which is essentially to discard all that is unnecessary and tidy up in one fell swoop.  She states that her training course has a 3-month waiting list and that she has no repeat customers.  It also includes several rather puzzling and amusing testimonials from clients:

“Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don’t.  So I got a divorce.”

“Someone I have been wanting to get in touch with recently contacted me.”

“I finally succeeded in losing ten pounds”

It’s not entirely clear to me at this juncture what those things have directly to do with tidying up but perhaps that will all become evident later.

Chapter 1 – Why can’t I keep my house in order?

On first reading, I will say that the text is surprisingly non-linear and seems rather disheveled and repetitious.  I will attempt to organize my notes in a more coherent manner but cannot guarantee that they won’t suffer from the same issues due to the influences of the text.

Conventional wisdom about maintaining a tidy space is wrong and in many ways unhelpful.  It indicates on some level that tidying is a natural thing that everyone should just magically do but really it must be studied methodically.

Most texts warn against the problem of rebound, that if you attempt to tidy everything at once, you’ll be so tired of tidying by the end that you’ll relapse immediately due to a sort of tidying fatigue.  Kondo argues, however, that this is a fallacy and that you must tidy all at once so that you see immediate and undeniable results and therefore maintain motivation to stay tidy.  To quote from the text:

“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.  A change so profound that it touches your emotions will irresistibly affect your way of thinking and your lifestyle habits.”

Common methods of tidying are actually traps and illusions and must be avoided.  For example, adding storage and organizers only allows you to hide clutter rather than actually resolving the root problem.  Often too, would-be organizers are told to tidy one item or one room a day but this is quickly defeated when we acquire more quickly than we dispose of them and often don’t keep with the program long enough to actually finish.

Finally, the author admonishes that we should not attempt to personalize the methods she will teach us based on any perception we might have about our own personalities or quirks.  People tend to be either unable to throw out things they don’t need or unable to put things back after they use them or a combination of both.  These are really the only two categories of behaviors that need to be addressed regardless of individual personality.

Series Guide

View back-to-back on the YouTube Playlist
Chapter 1 – Why can’t I keep my house in order?
Chapter 2 – Finish discarding first
Chapter 3 – Tidying by category works like magic
Chapter 4 – Storing your things to make your life shine
Chapter 5 – The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life


Filed under self-help, Uncategorized

4 responses to “the life-changing magic of tidying up – Intro and Chapter 1 notes

  1. Pingback: the life-changing magic of tidying up – Chapter 5 Notes and Conclusion | The Tattered Thread

  2. Pingback: the life-changing magic of tidying up – Chapter 4 Notes | The Tattered Thread

  3. Pingback: the life-changing magic of tidying up – Chapter 3 Notes | The Tattered Thread

  4. Pingback: the life-changing magic of tidying up – Chapter 2 Notes | The Tattered Thread

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