In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way
that will change your life forever.
Impossible? A common response and not surprising, considering that
almost everyone has experienced a rebound effect at least once, if not
multiple times, after tidying.
Have you ever tidied madly, only to find that all too soon your
home or workspace is cluttered again? If so, let me share with you the
secret of success. Start by discarding. Then organize your space,
thoroughly, completely, in one go. If you adopt this
approach—the KonMari Method—you'll never revert to clutter
Although this approach contradicts conventional wisdom, everyone who
completes my private course has successfully kept their house in
order—with unexpected results. Putting their house in order
positively affects all other aspects of their lives, including work and
family. Having devoted more than 80 percent of my life to this subject,
I know that tidying can transform your life.
Does it still sound too good to be true? If your idea of tidying is
getting rid of one unnecessary item a day or cleaning up your room a
little at a time, then you are right. It won't have much effect on your
life. If you change your approach, however, tidying can have an
immeasurable impact. In fact, that is what it means to put your house in
I started reading home and lifestyle magazines when I was five, and it
was this that inspired me, from the age of fifteen, to undertake a
serious study of tidying that led to my development of the KonMari
Method (based on a combination of my first and last names). I am now a
consultant and spend most of my days visiting homes and offices, giving
hands-on advice to people who find it difficult to tidy, who tidy but
suffer rebounds, or who want to tidy but don't know where to start.
The number of things my clients have discarded, from clothes and
undergarments to photos, pens, magazine clippings, and makeup samples,
easily exceeds a million items. This is no exaggeration. I have assisted
individual clients who have thrown out two hundred 45-liter garbage bags
in one go.
From my exploration of the art of organizing and my experience helping
messy people become tidy, there is one thing I can say with confidence:
A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic
changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. I
mean it. Here are just a few of the testimonies I receive on a daily
basis from former clients.
After your course, I quit my job and launched my own business doing
something I had dreamed of doing ever since I was a child. Your course
taught me to see what I really need and what I don't. So I got a
divorce. Now I feel much happier. Someone I have been wanting to get in
touch with recently contacted me. I'm delighted to report that since
cleaning up my apartment, I've been able to really increase my sales. My
husband and I are getting along much better. I'm amazed to find that
just throwing things away has changed me so much. I finally succeeded in
losing ten pounds.
My clients always sound so happy, and the results show that tidying has
changed their way of thinking and their approach to life. In fact, it
has changed their future. Why? This question is addressed in more detail
throughout the book, but basically, when you put your house in order,
you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you
can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don't, and what
you should and shouldn't do.
I currently offer a course for clients in their homes and for company
owners in their offices. These are all private, one-on-one
consultations, but I have yet to run out of clients. There is currently
a three-month waiting list, and I receive inquiries daily from people
who have been introduced by a former client or who have heard about the
course from someone else. I travel from one end of Japan to the other
and sometimes even overseas. Tickets for one of my public talks for
stay-at-home parents sold out overnight. There was a waiting list not
only for cancellations but also for the waiting list. Yet my repeater
rate is zero. From a business perspective, this would appear to be a
fatal flaw. But what if my lack of repeaters was actually the secret to
the popularity of my approach?
As I said at the beginning, people who use the KonMari Method never
revert to clutter again. Because they can keep their space in order,
they don't need to come back for more lessons. I occasionally check in
with graduates of my courses to see how they are doing. In almost every
case, not only is their home or office still in order but they are
continuing to improve their space. It is evident from the photographs
they send that they have even fewer belongings than when they finished
the course, and have acquired new curtains and furnishings. They are
surrounded only by the things they love.
Why does my course transform people? Because my approach is not simply a
technique. The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which
objects are moved from one place to another. It involves putting things
away where they belong. This seems so simple that even a six-year-old
should be able to do it. Yet most people can't. A short time after
tidying, their space is a disorganized mess. The cause is not lack of
skills but rather lack of awareness and the inability to make tidying a
regular habit. In other words, the root of the problem lies in the mind.
Success is 90 percent dependent on our mind-set. Excluding the fortunate
few to whom organizing comes naturally, if we do not address this
aspect, rebound is inevitable no matter how much is discarded or how
cleverly things are organized.
So how can you acquire the right kind of mind-set? There is just one
way, and, paradoxically, it is by acquiring the right technique.
Remember: the KonMari Method I describe in this book is not a mere set
of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to
acquiring the right mind-set for creating order and becoming a tidy
Of course, I can't claim that all my students have perfected the art of
tidying. Unfortunately, some had to stop for one reason or another
before completing the course. And some quit because they expected me to
do the work for them. As an organizing fanatic and professional, I can
tell you right now that no matter how hard I try to organize another's
space, no matter how perfect a storage system I devise, I can never put
someone else's house in order in the true sense of the term. Why?
Because a person's awareness and perspective on his or her own lifestyle
are far more important than any skill at sorting, storing, or whatever.
Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person
wants to live with.
Most people would prefer to live in a clean and tidy space. Anyone who
has managed to tidy even once will have wished to keep it that way. But
many don't believe it's possible. They try out various approaches to
tidying only to find that things soon return to "normal." I am
absolutely convinced, however, that everyone can keep his or her space
To do that, it is essential to thoroughly reassess your habits and
assumptions about tidying. That may sound like far too much work, but
don't worry. By the time you finish reading this book, you will be ready
and willing. People often tell me, "I'm disorganized by nature," "I
can't do it," or "I don't have time"; but being messy is not hereditary
nor is it related to lack of time. It has far more to do with the
accumulation of mistaken notions about tidying, such as "it's best to
tackle one room at a time" or "it's better to do a little each day" or
"storage should follow the flow plan of the house."
In Japan, people believe that things like cleaning your room and keeping
your bathroom spick-and-span bring good luck, but if your house is
cluttered, the effect of polishing the toilet bowl is going to be
limited. The same is true for the practice of feng shui. It is only when
you put your house in order that your furniture and decorations come to
When you've finished putting your house in order, your life will change
dramatically. Once you have experienced what it's like to have a truly
ordered house, you'll feel your whole world brighten. Never again will
you revert to clutter. This is what I call the magic of tidying.
And the effects are stupendous. Not only will you never be messy again,
but you'll also get a new start on life. This is the magic I want to
share with as many people as possible.
Excerpted from "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo. Copyright © 2013 by Marie Kondo. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.