Marie Kondo

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”

Marie Kondo is an author and organizational consultant. Her life goal? To organize the world — one room at a time. And she’s developed a method — the KonMari method — to help her accomplish that.

Marie’s your mentor if…

  • You want to achieve a long-lasting sense of peace and happiness
  • You’ve tried to clean your room or house, but it always ends up messy again
  • You want a tried and tested method for cleaning and organizing your surroundings — for good

Cleaning your room is one of those tasks that you know you should do, but you often don’t.

You’ll clean it up one day, and it will look great for one week — and you’ll feel great that week.

But eventually, things will start to pile up again, you don’t fold your clothes, and you start putting all of your things wherever there’s open space.

And it all ends up messy, once again. A perpetual cycle of disorganization, unkemptness, and laziness.

Marie Kondo has helped thousands of her clients who struggle with cleaning discard and organize their possessions so that they can keep their house clean for good.

She’s been obsessed with tidying and organizing since she was 5 years old — that’s nearly 3 decades of cleaning mastery.

To sum it all up?

With every item you own, ask yourself this:

“Does this spark joy?”

If it does, you keep it.

If it doesn’t you throw it.

For every single item that you own.

Do that, and you’re on the path to a clean house — and a clean mind. Live only among the things that you cherish.

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

Read on to learn from Marie.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Summary

Marie Kondo’s bestseller on decluttering your space and your life has helped tens of thousands of readers clean up and tidy their surroundings.

Here is a summary of the most important parts of the book, my favorite quote, and an action step for each chapter.

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

  • Tidying is a skill. If you haven’t practiced it, you won’t be good at it.
  • A successful tidying session is when you tidy up everything at once. Tidy one day at a time, and you’ll be tidying forever.
  • You can dramatically change your entire mindset and outlook if you tidy up all at once. It will produce such an impact that you will want to keep your space tidy for good.

  • When you tidy, try for perfection.
  • Most people feel much more at peace in a clean and tidy room. If you still can’t feel relaxed in a clean and organized room, you may have some personal things to investigate.
  • Beware of “storage” — it leads to hoarding, which won’t solve your problems. When you confuse tidying with storing, your storage which reaches its limit, begin to overflow and cause a mess again.
  • Do not clean by room or location. Clean by category.
  • Tidying is hard because you don’t even know much stuff you really own.
  • Follow the KonMari method no matter what your personality.
  • Effective tidying = discarding + deciding where to store things. Discarding always comes first.
  • When you tidy, make it a special event. It should feel ceremonious. It’s not something you do every day.
  • Once you’ve completed the ceremonious event of a good tidy, all you have to do to keep your surroundings clean is to put things back where they belong.

If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time, you’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.

Chapter 2: Finish discarding first

  • When you take on a tidying event, discarding always comes first.
  • Before you get started, close your eyes and visualize your clean house. Think about your ideal living space, what that looks like, and your resulting lifestyle.
  • Discarding the things you don’t like or use anymore will make you happier.
  • You must actually choose what you’re going to discard, and what you’re going to keep.
  • One by one, go through each item you have and ask yourself it sparks joy. If it does, keep it, and if it doesn’t, get rid of it.
  • You must actually touch and examine each item as you decide whether you are going to discard it or not.
  • Discarding must be done by category, not place. You need to take every item of each category and lay it out on the floor. Gathering all of your things in each category in one place shows you how much you actually have.

  • It’s easier to decide what to discard when you start with things that are easiest to discard and then move progressively to the harder things.
  • Don’t let your family see what you’re throwing out. It’s not of their business, and it can stress them out — especially parents.
  • Don’t discard items that aren’t yours. Instead, lead by example. When you tidy your own space, your family will follow suit.
  • Don’t give all of your things away. Before giving something you want to discard to someone, ask if they like it and want it. If they don’t, then don’t give it to them. Discard it.
  • Tidying is similar to meditation. It helps clear your mind. It allows you to conversate with yourself. It removes the noise.
  • Start cleaning early (6:30am), and you’ll clean at twice the speed.
  • Somethings you won’t be able to throw away. With those, consider why you have them in the first place. Think about its purpose. Chances are, it’s fulfilled its role. Thank it, and discard it.
  • You cant appreciate what’s really important to you until you have discarded what’s no longer important to you.

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. This is why you should begin by discarding only your own things. You can leave the communal spaces to the end. The first step is to confront your own stuff.

Chapter 3: Tidying by category works like magic

  • The sequence for discarding: Clothes -> Books -> Papers -> Miscellany -> Mementos
  • Going from easiest to discard to hardest discard is the best order because by the time you reach your important things, your decision-making skills on what to keep are honed.
  • Clothing order: Tops -> Bottoms -> Clothes to be hung -> Socks -> Underwear -> Bags -> Accessories -> Event-specific Clothing -> Shoes
  • As you discard your clothing, think about this: What’s going to bring you joy if you keep it?
  • Put all of your clothes on the floor before you begin to discard.
  • When selecting off-season clothes, think: Would I want to wear this again next season?
  • Don’t turn clothes you don’t like into loungewear. Discard them instead. Same with pajamas.
  • Folding your clothes correctly is the best ways to store them. Only hang clothes that are “happier” to be hung (suits, jackets, etc).
  • Don’t stuff your clothes in drawers. Fold them using the method below. Your clothes will look better, and your storage will be more efficient.

  • Visualize how your drawer will look when all your clothes have been folded nicely.
  • When folded correctly, your clothes will “stand.”
  • When hanging your clothes, stick similar types of clothing together.
  • Arrange your clothes so that they “rise to the right” — heavy items on the left, light items on the right. Coats -> Dresses -> Jackets -> Pants.
  • Treat your socks with the same respect as you do your clothes. That means no combining them into balls. Fold them.

  • When putting clothes into your drawer, organize them into “cotton-like” and “wool-like” materials.
  • Instead of investing in storage units, get another drawer.
  • Same as clothes — before discarding books, put them all on the floor. Does the touch of the book give you a thrill of pleasure? If yes, keep it. If no, discard it.
  • Books that you still haven’t read you’re probably better of discarding for now. You’re not going to read them. If you throw one out and find yourself wanting to read it, you can buy it again, knowing that now is the right time for you to read it. [Or, invest in a Kindle, so you can purchase new books without taking up more physical space!]
  • You may notice that the fewer books you have, the more impact you’ll get from what you read.
  • When tidying your papers, throw them all away. Throw away any paper that you’re not currently using, is needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept.
  • Use a vertical organizer to store your paper, and keep all your papers in one part of your house. Subdivide them into: needs attention, should be saved, and should be saved. Three containers.
  • When you just hang onto lecture materials, you’re not putting what you’ve learned into practice.
  • Throw out your manuals. You’re never going to use them, and you can find the information online.
  • Sorting miscellany: CDs & DVDs -> Skincare products -> Accessories -> Valuables -> Electrical equipment -> Household equipment -> Household supplies -> Kitchen goods -> Other
  • Whenever you find loose change, your motto should be “into my wallet.” Treat them with the same respect you do paper money. Put them into your wallet as you find them.
  • The most difficult items to discard are items with sentimental value. Remember this: truly precious memories will never vanish if you discard the physical object associated with it.
  • When handling your sentimental items, you process your past. If you stow all of your sentimental items, they become a weight that holds you back, preventing you from living in the moment. Discarding sentimental items that no longer spark joy help you move forward.
  • Leave photos for last. Remove them one by one. Ask yourself if they spark joy. Remember: a photo’s value is in the joy you have when taking it. After their printed, they begin to outlive their purpose.
  • You will find out how much stuff is right for you to own as you begin the tidying process. Eventually, you will a point where it feels “just right.”

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.

Chapter 4: Storing your things to make your life shine

  • Everything you own should have it’s own dedicated space. This is the essence of effective storage.
  • Tidying fails when you don’t have a dedicated spot for each item.
  • Discarding properly results in more space to fill with the things that spark joy.
  • Keep your storage simple. It should help you know how much it is that you own.
  • Two rules for storage: store all items of the same type in the same place, and don’t scatter your storage space.
  • Order for storage is the same as it is for discarding: Clothes -> Books -> Paper -> Miscellany -> Mementos.
  • If you live with your family, make sure that every family member has their own dedicated storage space.
  • Storage should emphasis on ease of returning things to where they belong.
  • Don’t opt for a “flow” plan of storing. Place things where it’s easiest to return them.
  • Never pile things. Store your things vertically. Stacking leads to endless, inexhaustible storage. And it makes it harder for you to know how much you have. It’s also very hard on the things stacked on the bottom of the pile.

  • Don’t invest in commercial storage items. Store items like books and papers on shelves. You can solve storage problems with what you already have in your house.
  • Keep shoeboxes for storing different items.
  • Store bags in other bags. Put similar bags within other bags. This will cut down on storage space.
  • Empty your bag every day to ensure it’s cleanliness.
  • Items on the floor belong in the closet.
  • The top shelves of your cupboard are for seasonal ornaments and sports gear.
  • Don’t store things in the bath or sink. This makes them dirty and affects the quality of your shampoos and soaps.
  • Turn the top shelf of your bookshelf into your own personal shrine. Think of it as your altar.
  • Put your secret delights in your closet. Make it your pleasure space. Decorate it using posters, photos, ornaments, and whatever you like.
  • When you buy new clothes, de-tag and store immediately.
  • Learn to appreciate your belongings. Thank them for what they do for you.

Sort by category, in the correct order, and keep only those things that inspire joy. Do this thoroughly and quickly, all in one go. If you follow this advice, you will dramatically reduce the volume of things you own, experience an exhilaration you have never known before, and gain confidence in your life.

Chapter 5: The magic of trying dramatically transforms your life

  • The things we like change over time. Through tidying, you learn what they are.
  • The experience of tidying will help you enjoy every part of your life more.
  • Letting go is often more important than adding.
  • When you tidy in one go, you drastically improve your decision-making abilities. You’ll become more confident.
  • When we can’t let something go, we are attached to the past or feat for the future. When you have trouble throwing something out, ask yourself: “Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?”
  • What you want to own shows how you want to live your life. The inability to let things go can spill over into other parts of your life.
  • It is by facing what you own one-by-one that you are able to evaluate your relationship with said item. Face your possessions now as opposed to them later, or worse — avoiding them until the day you die.
  • Once you tidy your house properly, you will never feel inconvenienced — only better. Not having to search for things by having everything in their right place will drastically reduce stress.
  • Put your house in order, and you’ll put your mind in order.
  • Your old things deserve a proper send-off. Dress accordingly for the occasion.
  • Tidying helps restore balance to your home — and thus, your life.
  • Detoxing your house will detox your body. It’s not rare to feel much better physically after sorting out your house.
  • Reduced things equals reduced dust, which equals cleaner air, and better health.
  • When organizing clothes, put your lights in the front, and dark in the back. This gradient is pleasant to look at and provides a calming effect.

"Starting KonMari" 🌈 @judyswishuponastar wishuponastar . #konmari #clothes #joy #konmarimethod #organized #tidy #rainbow

A post shared by Marie "KonMari" Kondo (@mariekondo) on

  • Trust your intuition with what possessions you love. If you really like something, and you know it, keep it, despite what anyone else may say.
  • The best life is when you are surrounded by the things you love.
  • Your real life begins once you’ve put your house in order. You will be able to find your mission and your passion once your space is clean and organized.

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.

Marie’s Tools and Resources

Featured image source: Positive Luxury

Comments 1

  1. Post

    It’s easy to tell someone to “clean their room,” but very few people actually offer a step-by-step method for cleaning.

    Marie’s is the best I’ve seen. Discard, then store = done. That’s all there really is to it.

    Have you tried the KonMari method? How have you benefited from it?

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