The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up : The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo



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

  • “The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it.”
  • “This is why tidying must start with discarding.”
  • “Sort by category, not by location.”
  • “When it comes to tidying the majority of people are lazy. They are also busy.”
  • “Using this approach, people who can’t stay tidy can be categorized into just three types: the “can’t-throw-it-away” type, the “can’t-put-it-back” type, and the “first-two-combined” type”
  • “All you need to do is take the time to sit down and examine each item you own, decide whether you want to keep or discard it, and then choose where to put what you keep.”
  • “I never tidy my room. Why? Because it is already tidy.”


2. Finish discarding first

  • The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.
  • “It’s easy to get rid of things when there is an obvious reason for doing so. It’s much more difficult when there is no compelling reason.”
  • “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”
  • “take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
  • “The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, memento”
  • “The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.”


3. Tidying by category works like magic

  • “my clients often ask me if they can keep clothes they know they’ll never wear outside and use them as loungewear. If I said “yes,” the pile of loungewear would grow ever larger without any decrease in the overall volume of clothes.”
  • “The real waste is not discarding clothes you don’t like but wearing them even though you are striving to create the ideal space for your ideal lifestyle.”
  • “Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love.”
  • “What you wear in the house does impact your self-image.”
  • “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 our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.”
  • “hang any clothes that look like they would be happier hung up, such as those made with soft materials that flutter in the breeze or highly tailored cuts, which protest at being folded”
  • “ Be careful not to bury clothes in the cupboard even if they are off-season. Clothes that have been shut up for half a year look wilted, as if they have been stifled. Instead, let in some light and air occasionally. Open the drawer and run your hands over the contents. Let them know you care and look forward to wearing them when they are next in season. This kind of “communication” helps your clothes stay vibrant and keeps your relationship with them alive longer.”
  • “The most common reason for not discarding a book is “I might read it again.”
  • “In the end, you are going to read very few of your books again”
  • “It’s the information they contain that has meaning. There is no meaning in their just being on your shelves. You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “The most difficult ones are those that give you moderate pleasure—those with words and phrases that moved your heart and that you might want to read again. These are the hardest to discard. Although I felt no pressure to get rid of them, I could not overlook the fact that they only gave me moderate pleasure”
  • “What I really wanted to keep was not the book but certain information or specific words it contained.”
  • “The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it. To avoid missing that moment, I recommend that you keep your collection small.”
  • “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.”
  • “I divide them into two categories: papers to be saved and papers that need to be dealt with. ”
  •  “Make sure that you keep all such papers in one spot only. Never let them spread to other parts of the house. ”
  • “The point is to keep all papers in one category in the same container or folder and to purposely refrain from subdividing them any further by content.”
  •  “Don’t forget that the “needs attention” box ought to be empty. If there are papers in it, be aware that this means you have left things undone in your life that require your attention.”
  • “People often insist, “I want to restudy these materials sometime,” but most never do so.”
  • “If the content is not put into practice, such courses are meaningless. A seminar’s value begins the moment we start attending, and the key to extracting the full value is putting what we learn there into practice the moment the course ends.”
  • “Thus the real material is the seminar itself, and it must be experienced live.”
  • “Getting back to warranties: the filing method I recommend is to put them all in a single clear file, without separating them into categories.”
  • “ The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings”
  • “When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.”
  • “If you do have a problem, you can always get help from the Internet or the clerk at the shop where you bought it. It is far quicker to ask a pro for the answer than to struggle to find one in the manual by yourself.”
  • “It’s a shame to let a boring box take up room in your house just because you might need it someday.”
  • “Keep only those cords that you can clearly identify and get rid of the rest.”
  • “Although it’s worth having spare bedding if you have regular guests, it’s unnecessary to keep extra sets if you only have overnight visitors at most once or twice a year.”
  • “Just as the word implies, mementos are reminders of a time when these items gave us joy.”
  •  “Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them.”
  • “We live in the present. No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”
  • “When I threw them away, I felt like I was confronting my past for the first time in my life.”
  • “If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now.”
  • “If these things still bring you joy, it is fine to keep them. ”
  • “It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.”
  • “ The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”
  • “Photographs exist only to show a specific event or time. For this reason, they must be looked at one by one”
  • “With this method, you will keep only about five per day of a special trip, but this will be so representative of that time that they bring back the rest vividly”
  • “ Besides, we shouldn’t still be sorting photos when we reach old age. If you, too, are leaving this task for when you grow old, don’t wait. Do it now!”
  • “Unlike a shop, if you run out of something at home, it’s not a big deal. It may cause you temporary stress, but it does no irreparable damage.”
  • “ My clients tell me that now life is more fun because when they run out of something they enjoy seeing how long they can last without it or trying to substitute other things”
  • “Reduce until you reach the point where something clicks”
  • “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
  • “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”
  • “By paring down to the volume that you can properly handle, you revitalize your relationship with your belongings.”
  •  “Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, “Does this spark joy?”
  • “Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life. ”


4.Storing your things to make your life shine

  • “The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing.”
  •  “All you need to do is store them near each other.”
  • “One of the main reasons for rebound is the failure to designate a spot for each item.”
  • “Putting bookcases in the cupboard is one of my standard storage practices.”
  • “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.”
  • “Pursue ultimate simplicity in storage so that you can tell at a glance how much you have”
  • “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong.”
  • “Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”
  • “Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.”
  • “Large cardboard boxes or electrical appliance boxes, however, are too big for storage dividers, inconvenient for other types of storage, and just plain ugly. Please get rid of them.”
  • “Rather than buying something to make do for now, wait until you have completed the entire process and then take your time looking for storage items that you really like.”
  • “The best way to store bags is in another bag”
  •  “The key is to put the same type of bags together.”
  • “If you do not make a habit of unpacking your bag, you are also quite likely to leave something inside when you decide to use another bag.”
  •  “The instance clothes are put away in a box, they become a pain to remove, and in most cases, people never bother to take them out even when they are back in season. And, of course, fold and stand the clothes on edge in the drawer.”
  •  “So start by removing the product seals from your storage containers. This is absolutely essential, just as you remove the tags from new clothes to welcome them as your personal belongings.”
  • “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” 

5.The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life

  • “At their core, the things we really like do not change over time. Putting your house in order is a great way to discover what they are”
  • “After all, our possessions very accurately relate the history of the decisions we have made in life. Tidying is a way of taking stock that shows us what we really like.”
  • “letting go is even more important than adding”
  • “ one of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity. ”
  • “People who lack confidence in their judgment lack confidence in themselves. ”
  •  “I am confident and extremely grateful to be surrounded by what I love, by things and people that are, each and every one, special, precious, and exceedingly dear to me.”
  • “Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?”
  • “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
  •  “ A person who has a strong attachment to the past, on the other hand, finds it hard to move on to a new relationship because she can’t forget the boyfriend she broke up with two years ago. She also finds it hard to try out new methods even when the current method is no longer effective because it worked up to this point.”
  •  “The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”
  • “The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past.”
  • “This is why I am against both letting things pile up and dumping things indiscriminately. It is only when we face the things we own one by one and experience the emotions they evoke that we can truly appreciate our relationship with them.”
  • “There are three approaches we can take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die. ”
  • “The reason is very clear: discarding those things that don’t spark joy has no adverse effects whatsoever.”
  • “What if, for example, 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. ”
  •  “Selecting and discarding one’s possessions is a continuous process of making decisions based on one’s own values. Discarding hones one’s decision-making skills.”
  •  “Tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for those things that will be departing from the house, and therefore I dress accordingly.”
  • “I promise you: whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you. For this reason, when you part with something, don’t sigh and say, “Oh, I never used this,” or “Sorry I never got around to using you.” Instead, send it off joyfully with words like, “Thank you for finding me,” or “Have a good journey. See you again soon!”
  • “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.”
  • “If you can say without a doubt, “I really like this!” no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.
  •  “The only tasks that you will need to continue for the rest of your life are those of choosing what to keep and what to discard and of caring for the things you decide to keep”



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