The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’ve been writing about this book such a lot that I thought it may be useful to put all the posts in one place.


  1. The book that’s all over the internet
  2. Why I started with my bathroom
  3. The purpose of a gift
  4. The controversy surrounding the book – part 1
  5. The controversy surrounding the book – part 2
  6. Konmari vs capsule wardrobes vs old-fashioned decluttering
  7. It even works on blogs!
  8. Why the craziness works
  9. Which category should you start with first?
  10. 10 things you need to know about Konmari
  11. Does this spark joy?
  12. Your Myers-Briggs type and the Konmari method
  13. If you’re feeling overwhelmed….
  14. If you’ve read the book, take my little survey here

Did you miss any of the posts?

Myers Briggs and the Konmari method

This is post number 1600 – I love round numbers – and how fitting that it’s about one of my favourite subjects, personality profiles πŸ™‚

08 Konmari

My kids, going through their DVDs….it wasn’t a very successful exercise. Apparently everything brought them joy πŸ™‚

Long-time readers will know that Beth and I are accountability partners.

Since 2006!!!!

I remember that date because I was in Thailand when I sent her the email agreeing to the idea πŸ™‚

I think our relationship works for many reasons but one of the main ones is because we are complete and total opposites.

Beth’s an INFP and I’m an ESTJ.

She slows me down and makes me think about why, and I push her to try things within a deadline πŸ™‚

Beth has still not finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpΒ and I’m chomping at the bit waiting… because I can’t wait to discuss Myers Briggs with her.

We both advocate small steps of decluttering. She has a lovely gentle way of supporting her clients, and I am a teensy bit bossier, but I also like smaller, steady steps because it motivates most people to get things done.

We both know that everybody doesn’t relate to both styles.

And so, everybody will also not relate to everything in the book.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

That said,Β I listened to The Simple Show podcast two weeks ago and Tsh was talking to Megan Tietz, another MBTI enthusiast, about the Konmari book. Listen from 22 – 40 minutes πŸ™‚

I’m also a keen MBTI enthusiast but I’m probably going to get things wrong. I’m writing this anyway πŸ™‚

First, if you don’t know your style, go take the 16 personalities quiz or this one.

I realised while writing most of this post that I only had myself – a focus group of one – and would benefit from more people’s answers.

So I put out a cry for help and nine people helped out. Thank you so much!


Sensing types

Both of the first two Myers-Briggs types are sensing types, and therefore their environment is very important to them because they take in information through their senses. The J type is motivated towards getting things done while the P type is about possibilities, spontaneity and having fun.

On the whole, the S-types are very practical and literal…when I asked what they didn’t like, all the S’s said the impractical things, like emptying out handbags, thanking each object as they left your home, speaking to your possessions, the woo-woo, etc.

SJ – Guardians

Are most aware of their physical surroundings and are motivated by doing the right thing, love rules and orderΒ and like to see results. I’m an SJ type and with Konmari, the things that challenged and were frustrating to me were all the things lying around (!) and how it took me ages to complete a category.

I do love the process, the fact that it’s making a very real difference in my environment. The results of all thoseΒ empty drawers speak for themselves, and definitely spark joy.

SP – Artisans

The artisans are sensation-seeking and would probably love Konmari as long as they’re having fun πŸ™‚ Typically like the idea but the process might be a bit overwhelming.

I imagine they’re really into the question and will happily toss anything that’s not sparking joy. The SP who answered my little survey said she liked being challenged to think out of the box.

MBTI and Konmari |

Intuitive types… (Ns)

The Ns are typically big picture thinkers, in the air vs the “on the ground” sensing types. In one of my favourite parenting books, Motherstyles, she talks about giving your kids baths. The N mom baths their kids to have fun and the S mom baths her kids to clean them πŸ™‚

NTΒ  – Rationals

The most suspicious of any quirkiness in the book. The logical and reasonable side of the structure of the process will appeal though to their practicality. If they believe in the purpose though (e.g. a calm and peaceful home), they will enjoy the process.

From the NT who answered the survey, “she is clearly kind of crazy” —>>>> I LOVE THIS STATEMENT because it is pure INTJ πŸ™‚

NF – Idealists

This is the style most in love with Konmari. As Megan Tietz said on the podcast, “this is totally our bag” (she is an ENFP). This type loves all the questions because everything has meaning and purpose in life.

It gives you the freedom to answer the question without having to follow rules.

From the NF who responded, I love that she is reframing things that have tripped me up. Like saying gifts have already served their purpose, or even clothes I’ve never worn have served their purpose by teaching me something. Purpose, purpose, purpose – I adore this comment!

MBTI and Konmari |

Survey results

INTJ – 11%

ENFP – 11%

ESTP – 11%

ISFJ – 11%

ESFJ – 11%

ESTJ – 11%

ISTJ – 34%

SJ-types 67%

My guess is that the book sounds good to so many SJ types because our environments are so important to us and we’re always up for a new trick to increase effectiveness in this area. I, personally, have written many times about how I can’t function in disorder.

I still want to hear from you!

I have a surprise for you on Friday. One of the respondents sent me such lovely responses and photos that I’m going to share those with you to inspire you.

Whether you have or haven’t responded, but want to share your journey too, email me on marcia @ organisingqueen . com and send me pics/ your story/ answer my questions/ write some more. Whatever! It’s all welcome!

What’s your MBTI type?

Have you read the Konmari book?

What are your favourite things about the book, and your least favourite things about the book?

Comments are OPEN for this post!

#Konmari – does this spark joy?

I’ve always thought that asking the right questions are really powerful.

In old-school organising (which is now what I think I do :)), I always asked myself and clients these questions:

  1. do I love it?
  2. is it useful?
  3. (for clothes) does it make me feel good?
  4. how many do I really need?
  5. do I have the space to store it?

All very reasonable and…dare I say, good questions

But then Marie Kondo comes along and asks, “does this spark joy?”

#Konmari |

It could seem like a similar question but it’s different.

Where previously we focused on what to get rid of, now we’re asking what we should keep.

I thought it might make a small (like really small) difference to me, so I was amazed when I just went wild and tossed clothes that didn’t spark joy!

In the book she explains that there’s a physiological reaction when you hold something in your hands.

This is true, definitely for me.

I’ve said before that I might see a nice handbag, but if I touch it and it doesn’t feel nice, I won’t buy it. Some others look okay but they FEEL amazing, and have come home with me.

And of course, the goal-setting thing I talk about of putting pen to paper. Making that brain connection between your dreams and goals, and committing to them on paper.

  • When I held my clothes, some were instant YES.
  • Some were instant NO.
  • Some I fitted on and remembered, “oh NO, no joy whatsoever”.
  • There were a tiny % where I wasn’t really sure (decision fatigue?) so I let them stay but I’ve since tossed another two things.

The result?

#Konmari |

  • I have a lot less clothes and shoes than before.
  • I actually need a few things in colours other than grey!
  • Stripes spark serious joy πŸ™‚

The question of sparking joy also works with other areas of your life – I even decluttered my feed reader of blogs that didn’t spark joy.

When I wear my “sparking joy” clothes, I might have felt like I wanted something else (another colour, etc.) but I then don’t worry about how I look or if something is riding up, because the reason the item sparked joy in the first place is that it was comfortable, it fit well and I love wearing it (you might have different “sparking joy” criteria).

Please comment on Facebook or Instagram and tell me if you’ve done a little exercise of checking if your things spark joy.

If not, why don’t you choose a small space/ category (something that’s not going to make you agonise over it) and do some tidying up this weekend?

A quick note if you’re feeling overwhelmed

I’ve been talking a lot around about the Konmari method of organising (whether it’s working, how it’s working, and so on) and of course you know that I’m working through my own home too.


I still believe with my whole heart that this method is mostly suited to the All or Nothing types.

Those who want to “attack their homes” and get it all done at once (at once being over a 6-month period).


I personally tend more towards one step at a time, baby steps that are maybe a little less drastic but won’t leave you feel like you’re drowning.

If you’re more of a moderator like I am, then if you’re feeling some resistance or overwhelm, maybe Organise your Home would suit you more.

Read more and see if you agree.

Please note I’m not saying one method won’t work for you, I’m saying one method might be more suitable for your type.

Look at me – clearly a moderator but this is working for a lot of my spaces too.

Use this link, scroll down, click “add to cart” and use code WELCOME to get Organise your Home at 20% off.

Wishing you much peace and reduced overwhelm this week!

PS I’m working on a post about Myers Briggs and Konmari which should go up next Monday. If you don’t know your MBTI type yet, why don’t you go to 16 Personalities and find out?

10 things you need to know about the Konmari method of tidying up

When I listen to books on Audible, I use the bookmarks feature to flag parts in the book that are interesting or that I may want to think about or blog about later again.

With The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had so many bookmarks that when I went back to listen, I wrote notes and I ended up writing 7 pages in an A5 notebook.

I picked out the 10 things I think people need to know from the book.


Please note, these are exact notes.

  1. Tidy up by categories otherwise you do the same work in many locations. We have too much stuff because we’re ignorant of how much we really have as it’s all spread out.
  2. Ask yourself, “does this spark joy?” When you touch an item your body reacts physiologically. Does it make you happy or bring you joy? (I have a full post just on this point ready for Friday)
  3. To truly cherish the things in your life, you must discard those that have outlived their purpose. Let them go with gratitude. Reduce until you reach the point where something clicks.
  4. If you’ve never succeeded in being tidy, then you’re going to battle to do a little at a time. (More on this one on Wednesday)
  5. Tidying is a two-step process: discarding, and deciding where to store it. Don’t start storing till you’ve completed the discarding step. By paring down to the volume you can properly handle, you revitalise your relationship to your belongings.
  6. Your goal should be to establish the lifestyle you most want when your house is put in order. (This should be point number 1!)
  7. Putting things away is an illusion that things are dealt with therefore the process of tidying must start with discarding.
  8. With books, ask this question: does it move me or not? Am I happy to see it on my shelf?
  9. A gift is a means of conveying someone’s feelings.
  10. Your feelings are the standard for decision-making, not a random number. Only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy. You need to create your own tidying method with your own standards.


Which of the 10 points resonated the most with you?

Which do you find yourself not being sure about?


7 controversial points from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2)

Here is the first part 1 of the controversial points in the book.

Today, I want to write about the last 4:

4. Drying shower/ bath items after each wash

Marie Kondo suggests that we dry off our shampoo/ conditioner/ body wash bottles from the shower after each wash.

I would have no problem except that I really count on that extra shower storage space seeing as I have the smallest bathroom in the world.

As a result, this one doesn’t work for me, so I’m discarding that tip πŸ™‚


5. The Konmari naming convention

Some bloggers took exception to the fact that she named her method.

To that I say, do whatever you want, it’s your book!

Then I saw a couple of commenters mention that in Japan, it is customary to name things by combining the first parts of the surname and first name.

Now it all makes complete sense.


6. The woo-woo/ quirky part of the book

Yes, undoubtedly, there are many parts of the book where things are a bit woo-woo. However that didn’t stop me with The Desire Map πŸ™‚ so it didn’t stop me here either.

Instead I found her manner and style charming and quirky, and it made me smile while I listened in the traffic.

I’m all for embracing your crazy. We all have 10% weird going on, and I truly believe that we connect with others over the 10%.

(Most of my friends don’t read this blog because they think my passion for goals and organising is a bit… mad, but so what, right?)


7. Thanking your stuff

Marie Kondo says we should thank our things for doing whatever job they did while they were with us. E.g. Thank you to the handbag for holding your things so well for three months, and then you release it.

I wouldn’t speak it out loud to each and every item (I like to move a bit faster), but I think there’s value in expressing gratitude to God that you could afford to buy clothes, shoes, books, etc. and then you can move on.

It ties into the taking pics of your sentimental items because both acts slow you down in the moment, you can honour the memory and let go of the physical item.

In conclusion

I think the reason people get so het up about these things is because this seemingly simple matter of tidying up brings up all sorts of stuff in our lives that we maybe don’t want to deal with.

A friend commented on Facebook and said that organising forces us to confront our stuff, both the physical and the emotional stuff, and I think that’s exactly the point.

After organising, then what? It’s the what that most people don’t want to think about.

Did some of these points rub you up the wrong way?

Why do you think this book is affecting so many people’s lives?

Which category should you tidy first?

Konmari |

In the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo suggests how you should order the categories you tidy.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono
  5. Mementos

Konmari |

The idea is that the tidying process moves from easy to difficult so you can keep up with the momentum once you start.

Once I understood the concept, I then ordered my own categories in terms of very easy to more difficult. This is the order in which I worked/ am working (I’m on number 7 at the moment):

  1. Bathrooms (I have near zero attachment to lotions and potions so this section was easy)
  2. Kitchen (vases and water bottles)
  3. My clothes
  4. Kids’ clothes
  5. My shoes
  6. Kids’ toys
  7. My study (stationery, papers, etc.)
  8. Books
  9. Komono (here and there, sometimes it’s scattered among other sections, just for a breather, and to “complete” a room)
  10. Mementoes

Konmari |

There’s definitely something to the order in which you tidy. If I’d started with a difficult section, I’d have felt stuck and not wanted to continue.

This way I’m motivated.

I declutter my clothes regularly and with the capsule wardrobe craze, I did some more decluttering over the last year, so it didn’t feel like there was much left.

But as you can see in the photo above, these clothes filled two black bags.

Speaking of bags, see these two bags below? They are gorgeous bags, yes? Well, they don’t spark complete joy for me because they remind me of a time in my life which was… not nice. So out they go. I already have plenty that spark complete joy πŸ™‚

Konmari |

Would you change the order of the #konmari method for your home?

Are you motivated to start yet? Let me know on Facebook or Instagram.

PS This is a list I printed from Jess Lively‘s website.

Konmari |

#Konmari – One of the most useful pieces of information in the entire book

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve felt guilty about some gifts in the past.

The guilt arrives because the gift is not really your style or something you want/ need but you appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo says something quite revolutionary about gifts:


The purpose of a present is all about the moment when you received it. You don’t have to keep it, store it or use it if you don’t like it.

In that moment when the person gifted it to you, you felt something (joy, gratitude, appreciation) and that emotion is the sole purpose of a gift.

Isn’t that freeing?

What it means is that you can let it go. It’s fulfilled its purpose in your life and there’s no need to feel guilty about keeping/ not keeping it.

That gift has also taught you what you don’t like or need.

I’ve said to friends before, “don’t feel like you have to keep it” about items I’ve gifted them. The last thing I want is for people to hang onto stuff they hate just because of some sense of obligation to me/ our friendship.

Of course, if someone will enjoy something, then that will delight me too.

In the past, I’ve felt easier about letting go of things (not necessarily gifts) once I have a picture of the item(s).

Here’s something that may shock some: I don’t keep all my kids’ gifts (letters, drawings, art, etc). I stopped before I read the book while still feeling a verrrrry slight sense of guilt, but now I completely appreciate the gift in the moment, and then only if it truly sparks joy, do I keep it.

Do you keep gifts out of a sense of obligation?

Related: Do you still have your wedding dress?

The controversial points from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (1)

I mentioned when I started writing about this subject that I’d seen posts pop up all over the place, most good but there was quite a bit of controvery, especially on some blogs.

My goal when I read anything non-fiction is to get something useful from the book. Obviously the more use I get from any book the better it is, but I do know that if I even get ONE idea which saves me 10 minutes a day, that’s 2 and a half days a year, which is sizeable.

So when I saw all the controversy, I naturally assumed that most people expect every book to completely wow them in every way.

(I haven’t been completely wowed by maybe more than 10 – 20 non-fiction books in my lifetime)

When I was making notes about the book, I made a section about the controversies too and I want to talk about those in two posts.

Konmari controversy | www.

Let’s get to it:

1. Single vs families

People seemed to discount her information because they have a family and she didn’t. Yes, Marie Kondo was single at the time of writing the book (I think). She certainly didn’t have any kids.

I don’t feel that took anything away from the book. It’s fairly obvious to me that when a child or two (or more) are thrown into the mix, of course you have more stuff.

I can learn from single, unmarried people as well as I can learn from people in exactly the life stage I’m currently living in.

Solution – simply adjust your plan and extend the time to work through your home.

2. Emptying your bag daily

Konmari controversy | www.

She says in the book that she empties out her entire bag every evening after returning home. There are some benefits to this – if you’re changing your bag or just to toss out those used tissues, cash receipts, etc.

I change bags fairly often so I could see this working. Better still, use a bag organiser.

On the evenings I go to Spanish dancing, I do transfer my wallet, phone and one lipstick to my spanish bag.

Maybe Marie Kondo changes her bags daily?

Solution – if you don’t need to empty your bag daily, don’t.

3. Does this spark joy?

Some people even have issues with the question, “does this spark joy?” because of the things we all have in our lives that don’t necessarily spark joy, but are necessary.

Like medication, appliances, etc.

I honestly feel like some people went a bit over the edge on this point.

Konmari controversy | www.

Let’s think logically about these things. The Panado in my make-up case doesn’t really spark joy but when it’s hot in Jhb and I have a heat headache, I can tell you I feel more joy when that Panado is there than when it’s not!

For other things, if you have an item you need but that is not joy-inducing, if you can afford to, get one that you’ll LOVE to use. That kind of thing.

I have a laptop bag that I love. I paid far more money for it than I felt it deserved at the time but I do love it and I get compliments at the airport whenever I travel πŸ™‚ so it ended up sparking lots of joy.

Solution – think a little bit further than just this moment and check if the item does spark joy when you need to use it in the moment.

Have you read the book or the controversial blog posts?

Are these 3 things a big deal to you?

#Konmari – the reason I think the craziness works

One of the key concepts of the Konmari method is that you gather things of the same category throughout your home, bring them together and then start the “does this spark joy?” questioning.

I’m going to talk more about this method vs the room-by-room organising I still advocate in another post, but for now I want to tell you what happened to me with two categories of household items in my home.

Konmari |

As I mentioned before, I need motivation to continue so I started with easy organising – my kitchen. I regularly declutter in the kitchen so it’s not an area that will slow me down.

(we won’t mention the stationery just yet)

Konmari |


I gathered vases from my cupboards and from all over the house.

Here’s the thing – it took me seeing all those vases in one place to have my AHA moment.

That is the magic in the #Konmari method, I think. You gather everything, bring it all together in one place, have a big fright, realise you’re crazy to have collected so much ________ (fill in the missing category you’re currently working with) and then only is it easier to really see which of those things spark joy.

I mean, who needs 17 vases if you don’t even buy flowers that often?!

I’m now down to 11 – and 1 holds washi tape in the study πŸ™‚

Konmari |

Water bottles

Again, there were kids’ water bottles, my water bottles, spare (new, unused water bottles), summer water bottles, gym water bottles.

I knew I probably had too many but didn’t realise the sheer madness til I brought them all together and put them in one place.

I’m still a little bit skeptical but when I actually do the method as intended, I really do get great results πŸ™‚

And a lot more cupboard space!

Are you doing the Konmari method yet?

Which area of your home are you tidying this weekend?

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