HomeReviewsThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Summary)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Summary)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Book Summary

After reading a number of books on productivity and getting things done Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' had been recommended to me several times, initially I dismissed it however after reading a few reviews I decided to check it out myself.

"A book on how to tidy? Seems pretty straight forward, you just put things away and don't allow clutter to build up"

Needless to say my first impression was wrong, as this book has sold in excess of 3 million copies for a reason.
Here's my summary...

An Organized House Reflects An Organized Mind

Marie Kondo is a firm believer that the process of tidying is far more than a physical act.
Tidying removes anxiety and uncertainty in your life, a tidy well organized home or apartment is the reflection of a well organized and structured mind.

Think about it - are the individuals you know with clothes scattered all over their floor and dishes left out on the kitchen sink for days on end the most productive people you know? Are they thriving in life? Or are they merely surviving?

"When you put your house in order you put your affairs and your past in order, too."

Physical mess creates mental mess, once you've invested a bit of time and energy in sorting your place out once and for all you'll find (and I speak from experience) that you'll be able to focus better and will have reduced anxiety due to stress or worry in the back of your mind due to the sheer number of possessions you own, let alone whether they're all stored in the right location or not.

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We've Been Taught The Wrong Way


We got to school to learn English, Maths, Economics, History and a variety of other subjects... but we never learn how to tidy.
There's no elementary school course or university unit on how to tidy up the right way - it's assumed we know.

This may sound laughable to soon, but just like dieting or exercise a lack of knowledge will result in little to no results, a lack of motivation to attempt that in which you don't know or a constant yo-yo of positive and negative results.

"Tidying brings visible results. Tidying never lies. The ultimate secret of success is this: if you tidy up in one go, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset." 

Here's A Few Of The Things We're Doing Wrong... 

We Invest In More Storage

More shelves, more boxes, more places to put our endless collection of belongings is not the solution.
Increased storage encourages us to keep things we don't know, we're less likely to get right of things we don't need if we're able to store them out of sight, be it on a shelf or in a storage container.

Storage will give you the illusion of tidy, but when you've merely shoved a bunch of unorganized possessions you no longer need into a fancy innovative storage system that's a false sense of tidy.

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We Tidy Room By Room

Tidying room by room doesn't work as we often have multiple objects of the same category spread among rooms.
Tidying by category is key.

For example, I'm sure you've got clothes in your bedroom, perhaps in your living room and also the laundry... if you're tidying up your bedroom to begin with you'll think you have all your clothes sorted until you uncover those stored in the multiple other rooms!

We must tidy by category - bringing all of the items of this category into one location for discarding and then sorting.

We Draw Out The Process

Throwing out one item each day for a year, cleaning my area each week... all of these prolonged methods of tidying and organization are bullshit as they're simply a means of procrastination.

Instead of going to battle each and every day for weeks or months the method of victory is to launch a blitzkreig on your mess.
A few hours, a day... whatever the necessary amount of time required is to conquer your mess and get your home in a tip-top tidy state in one go.

We Don't Throw Anything Out

If you're shifting things from place to place without discarding you're not tidying, you're simply time wasting.

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You must dispose of everything you no longer use or need before delving into the organization side of things.


"Does It Spark Joy?"

When it comes time to decide what to keep and what to dispose of we're all too quick to justify why we need to keep things (when we damn well know we'll never use them again!).

Outside of your essential clothes, electronics etc. pick up each item and ask yourself on a case by case basis "does it spark joy?" if it does then it stays, if it doesn't or no longer sparks joy then it's got to go.

What sparks joy for me will be different to what sparks joy for you, Marie Kondo can't tell you exactly what you need to throw out, but this particular prompt helps to assess when it's time for an item to go.

This is part of the 'do it once, do it right' mentality to cleaning up your house.

If you're strict and do this 'special clean' right once you'll never need to go through and do it again, you'll only possess the essential items plus those few items that'll bring you joy. Once the discarding process is complete it's simply a matter of allocating each remaining possession a place and ensuring it ends up back in that place each day.

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No need for another big clean up every month or two, it's merely a few minutes of maintenance from here on out.

Notable Quotes

"When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order too."

"Tidying brings visible results. Tidying never lies. The ultimate secret of success is this: if you tidy up in one go, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset."

"Tidying in the end is just a physical act. The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: Deciding whether or not to throw something away and deciding where to put it. If you can do these two things, you can indeed achieve perfection."

"Tidying must start with discarding."

"To truly cherish things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose."

"The best way to find out what we need is to get rid of what we don't."

>>Get The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Here<<

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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