7 Reasons I Disagree with Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

I love the subject of clearing clutter.

For me — and for most people — outer order contributes to inner calm. I feel this phenomenon in my own life; it exhilarates me in practice and fascinates me in theory.

So I was eager to read Marie Kondo’s blockbuster bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And I found it thought-provoking, and I got some great clutter-clearing tips from the “KonMari method.”

I also have some profound disagreements with Marie Kondo.

As I write in The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home, and Better Than Before, I’ve come to believe deeply that we all must find the way to happiness and good habits that’s right for us.

There is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. Just because something works for you — or Marie Kondo — doesn’t mean that it will work for me. We can all learn from each other, absolutely, but there’s no one way to achieve anything. You indulge in moderation; I abstain. You exercise in the afternoon; I exercise first thing in the morning. You like lots of abundance; I like simplicity. No one’s right, and no one’s wrong. It’s what’s true for the individual. (You can read more about this in Better Than Before, in the chapter about “Distinctions.”)

And Marie Kondo does argue for the one best way. And here’s the thing: you read five pages of this book, and you know that Marie Kondo is an extreme, idiosyncratic personality. Which I love! Which makes the book much more interesting! But what works for Marie Kondo isn’t necessarily a great guide for what works for another person.

From her own description of herself, she makes it clear that she’s a simplicity-lover, who likes to take big steps, who’s a sprinter, and a person who  who doesn’t feel strong emotional attachment to possessions. (Though at the same time, she shows a strong feeling of animism, which I found intriguing.) But some people are abundance lovers, and some people like to start small, and some people are marathoners, and some people have strong emotional attachments to possessions. So her guidance may not work for you.

Here are the 7 main concepts where I disagree with Marie Kondo:

 1. She advises putting every item in a category on the floor as the first step in clearing clutter.

She advises that that if you’re cleaning your coats, take out every single coat, if you’re clearing your bookshelves, take out every book. In my experience, this can easily become overwhelming and lead to more clutter that lasts a long time, because people bite off more than they can chew. Know yourself.

2.  She advises having a joyful relationship with every item you own.

She recommends asking yourself whether an item “sparks joy.” This is a terrific question, and can be very helpful. But I don’t think I can realistically expect to have a joyful relationship with every item in my apartment. I find it exhausting even to contemplate having an emotional reaction to so many common objects. It’s true, though, that for many people, “spark joy” has been a revelation. Know yourself.

3. She advises clearing clutter alone and in quiet.

For me, that’s very true. For many people, it’s helpful to have a clutter-clearing partner. Another person can help with the grunt work, give advice about what to keep or discard, and can make a chore more fun. Know yourself.

4. She suggests taking everything out of your handbag, every day.

This would not be a good use of my time or energy, and I don’t think it would achieve anything. On the other hand, when Elizabeth and I talked about “the challenge of switching bags” in episode 55 of our podcast Happier, many listeners let me know that they followed Marie Kondo’s suggestion, with great success. Know yourself.

5. She suggests going big and doing a giant purge rather than tackling a little clutter each day.

But, as I write about in Better Than Before, some people like to start big, and some like to start small. It’s exhilarating, and highly productive, to tackle a big, one-time goal, and a clean slate is powerful — it’s also true that we can get a lot done, by doing a little bit each day over a long term. Know yourself.

6. She says that the best time to start is early morning.

That’s true if you’re a morning person, but I doubt that’s true if you’re a night person. Know yourself.

7. She suggests that folding is the best way to store most clothes.

She’s a big proponent of folding — and a very particular method of folding. I myself just can’t handle that high level of commitment to folding.

Know yourself. Use what works for you.

The problem arises when you beat yourself up for not being able to do things the KonMari way, “the right way.” When it comes to clearing clutter, there is no right way, only what’s right for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Marie Kondo’s book. I found it thought-provoking, helpful, and engaging. The minute I finished the book, for example, I got rid of a million coats.

Here’s the thing. As I was writing Better Than Before, it seemed so obvious to me that there’s no one “right” way or “best” way to change habits. So why, then, do so many experts assert that they’d found the one true way?

There’s something about human nature…when it comes to getting advice, we love to be given the true plan, the precise template that’s going to reveal exact directions to success.

And when it comes to giving advice, it’s easy to assume that because some strategy works well for us, other people will use it with equal success.

But it’s always a matter of the individual.

I learned a lot of little things from Marie Kondo, but there was one big thing I learned: that we should stay grateful for our possessions — for having served us well, for embodying someone else’s affection for us in the form of a gift, or for giving us a thrill upon purchase. An “attitude of gratitude,” for even inanimate objects, makes us happier. I know that I’ve never let go of an old laptop without taking a moment to think, “Farewell, my old friend, we’ve had some great times together, but now it’s time for you to rest.”

The relationship between possessions and happiness! One of the most fascinating themes I’ve ever studied.

Did you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What KonMari Method strategies worked for you — or not?

  • Ari

    I just finished the book also. I had to see what all the fuss was about, and I agree with you. I found her approach to be very culturally-based (i.e. – might work well for the Japanese who live in extremely small spaces and have a similar animistic viewpoint). I was miffed by the lack of attention to the kitchen, and I personally don’t find a lot of “joy” in certain necessities, but I could translate that into gratitude. I think we Americans tend to over-consume, but what Marie Kondo called “tidying up,” I call “going minimalist.” With that in mind, her advice is fine if you’re wanting to become a minimalist.

  • Gillian

    My initial reaction to the book was much like yours, Gretchen – Kondo has rather an extreme and odd personality and she very much believes that her way is the only way.

    The question “does this item spark joy?” is a great one but it doesn’t apply to every item in one’s life. It is, however, useful for many areas. And I do like the idea of having an attitude of gratitude for the items we possess.

    I long ago gave up using different handbags. I have only one which I use all the time until it wears out then I replace it. Emptying it every night and reloading it in the morning strikes me as a huge waste of time.

    Like the previous commentator, I too was struck by the lack of attention given to the kitchen. Her focus was almost exclusively on clothes and books. She also didn’t address the disasters many of us have in basements, attics and garages. I would love to show her my basement!

    When I first read about her method of folding, I thought it was nuts. However, I thought I would give it a try with the contents of one drawer – t-shirts & light sweaters. Couldn’t believe how well it worked for me. Because everything is in one row of neat rectangles standing on end, you can see everything at a glance. No rummaging through piles looking for the yellow t-shirt. I continued with other drawers in my closet. In 2 large drawers, it freed up a big chunk of space – useful for loosely folding already-worn items that don’t yet need washing. I used the same system in a kitchen drawer for teatowels & dish cloths. The folding is time-consuming when you are putting away laundry. I tend to do a lot of it while watching TV.

    I find that with most such books, there are a couple of tips that work really well for me and that the rest of the ideas, though interesting, don’t apply to me or my life. As you say – know thyself. That is perhaps the biggest gift you have given your readers – the recognition that we are all different, the permission to be ourselves and the tools and encouragement to analyze our personalities, tendencies and needs.

    • Gillian

      P.S. – Thanks, Gretchen, for your great analysis of the Kondo method.

      • gretchenrubin

        Thanks! Great to hear it struck a chord!

  • Linda Thompson Gebelein

    I followed her method, not to the exact letter, but I found it extremely helpful. I cleaned out my entire wardrobe, including shoes, bags and outerwear. I did listen to music while I did it. I’m a pianist and I cleaned out my piano music in one day. I haven’t done my books yet because that’s going to be really difficult for me. I think it works great and I’m so glad I did it in one day. Chipping away at clutter ten minutes at a time is pretty futile (I’ve done that in the past).

  • Karen D

    I loved the book. I didn’t read it with any expectations because I read it just as the hype was starting, and I hadn’t heard of it. Bought it in an airport bookstore as the book that ‘called to me’. Read it on the plane and came back and immediately started getting rid of stuff even though I had already purged.
    What worked for me? Too many things to list although I admit that I never really did her method of taking everything out except for the things in my storage room, and things tucked away in closets. My storage room is small but it is amazing how many ‘things’ exist in that small space. Things that I don’t need. Same with boxes in closets. If it is tucked away, then it doesn’t really get looked at when I purge.
    Overall, I think her ‘spark joy’ changed my relationship with possessions. I was holding onto things for the wrong reason (e.g. gift from …). Now I don’t hold onto those things.
    I’ve recommended the book to a lot of people and it has worked for them.
    I agree that her way is a ‘my way or the highway’, but I can live with that. I firmly believe in breaking ‘rules’ when I decide they don’t matter.

    • gretchenrubin

      Sometimes, it’s exciting to hear form someone who has such a clear vision – if you don’t completely agree, it’s clarifying to hear that strong viewpoint. Then it’s easier to pick and choose.
      The book is beautifully presented and very inspiring! As long as a reader doesn’t feel like a failure for not being able to follow her all the way.

      • Karen D

        Yes, not feeling like a failure is key. Perhaps reading the book that her book inspired “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F..” would help with that 🙂
        If you haven’t read that book, it is fantastic. The author is quite open that she was inspired by Kondo’s book. It is a ‘practical parody’.

        • gretchenrubin

          I’m DYING to read that book – it sounds terrific. It has been on my list for a while.

          • Karen D

            It was a quick read for me perhaps because I am in my 50’s and stopped giving a Fk a while ago. A much younger friend stumbled upon it (she had never heard of Kondo) and the book changed her life.
            I’ll be interested to see what you think of it!

      • mellen

        Agreed. It’s much more helpful to hear strong ideas from someone that you can agree or disagree with, rather than vague generalizations.

  • I had a friend recommend this book to me, and I paid attention to her recommendation because she had a serious clutter problem. (She only became aware of how bad it was when she had people housesit for her and her furnace broke. The sitters couldn’t get to the furnace because of all the stuff she had stored in front of it. So, she recommended Kondo, and I read it, and I did the clothing thing — but I didn’t have the space to do everything at once, so I just emptied out my dresser.

    I was totally overwhelmed, so I did a ‘spark joy’ pass, and folded the remaining things, which took *days*. (I work for a living, so I had to stop at one point and go to my job.) I think this process may work for some people, but I was not one of them. After the clothing, there is absolutely no way I thought about doing this with books. I could not take all my books off all the shelves in our house and sort them at one time. We have eight big bookcases and are voracious readers.

    Now I am doing a ‘drip, drip, drip’ approach. Much better for me.

  • Kristie

    I’m curious if you tried her approach before writing this. I agree with
    you 100% that different things work for different people. However, I
    also find that it’s easy to dismiss something that could potentially be
    helpful (for example, because I’m too lazy to try). I recently tried
    Marie Kondo’s method and was amazed by how much clutter I cleared and
    how much lighter I now feel as a result. The process takes awhile (I’m still finishing up), but that’s okay – she says it should take about 6 months, so no huge hurry. Rather than following her method to the letter, I adapted it to suit me, because you’re right, the exact same method won’t work for everyone. For example, I often asked myself, “Would I buy this again?” rather than “Does this spark joy?” because, like you, I don’t find that many of my possessions truly spark joy, but I do tend to hold onto things that don’t have much value to me anymore. At first I was resistant to fold my clothes the way she recommends, but then I saw my husband doing it and I loved how his drawers looked, so I got on board and I’m thrilled with that method now. My point is, a rigid one-size-fits-all doesn’t work, but with a few modifications, different types of people can likely make it work for them. Had I resisted her method all together, I would have lost out on the benefits I’ve received. I actually think you’d really like much of it if you gave it a try!

    • gretchenrubin

      I did get a lot from her book, and I tried a lot of her advice.

      In your comment, you pointed out that you didn’t follow her advice totally, but picked what you thought would work for you.
      That’s exactly what I’m suggesting! Choose what seems right FOR YOU. Problem arises when people feel like they “should” be able to do it her way, which is fairly extreme, or feel like failures when it doesn’t help.

      • Kevin Cannon

        “Choose what seems right FOR YOU.”

        What if what seems right for you is actually just the lazy option?

        The only critiques of MK seem to come from people who didn’t follow through with the method and gave up.

        I very rarely read about someone who finished the technique and then decided it wasn’t for them.

        Her method is a lot of work. I never got that she said this is the ‘only way’ just that it’s a ‘very effective way’ and if you follow it it almost always works.

        • Turtlepea

          Well said Kevin. Ive read every single response in this thread. I’ve noticed that the people who are quoted talking about “life changing” “better life” “so much happier in my space” “I don’t shop nearly as much” “finding joy in so much more” “Magic” “freedom” “time and space to breathe” are those that have done the method. Yet these quotes are never contained in the comments of those that gave up/did not finish the book/found it too culturally different/found the ideas crazy etc etc.

  • ChrisD

    Not uniformly loving everything Marie Kondo says! Sacrilage. :-). Though to be fair the handbag thing definitely didn’t work for me. I tried it for one or two days and now I am happier in my ‘keep everyone in one bag’ method because I have examined it.
    I loved the book enough to buy a second copy when a friend lost the copy I lent (she did find it again).
    I think it’s a mistake to call Marie Kondo’s method minimalism. And I think it DOES work for both simplicity and abundance lovers. If you are an abundance lover, lots of things will bring joy to your heart. Your heart (or subconscious) has some pretty powerful processing capacity and knows exactly how much storage space you have. It only looks like minimalism because it gives us permission to throw away so much stuff we never wanted, so people talk about that. But really it is about what you keep.
    Also, even though e.g. a mop won’t bring you joy, as long as a clean non-grimey floor does you would keep the mop.
    What worked for me: Asking myself what is the purpose of this object/e-mail. It’s purpose is often not to be kept forever, but I think that makes me be more present with the item/e-mail/course. Going through old letters, the important thing is not the birthday card sent by a friend years ago, the important thing is the relationship with the friend. So I got back in contact and I will keep contact up more now. And I’ve switched on Facebook birthday reminders and I actually keep up with them.

  • jrskis

    I loved the book and I did find it life changing. It came into my life at a very good time because I had just moved into a house with the smallest closet imaginable in a master bedroom. Going through her book, I realized how much stuff I had that I was keeping for bad reasons. I found the idea of “sparking joy” to be helpful, but probably more profound was deciding what to keep rather than what to throw away. That shift in perspective made all the difference. And I did find it much easier to decide what to keep when everything was in a pile on the floor, rather than already sitting in some potential storage spot. But the full process is a big commitment. I had such a big improvement in my life and surroundings that I never got to my books, even though I have tons of them, because everything else was sufficiently cleared. But I loved it overall. The biggest surprises were how much easier it is to find things without so much extraneous stuff, how much less storage space I needed and how much calmer I felt with less stuff around me.

    • gretchenrubin

      It’s great to hear how helpful you found it! Life-changing, as promised!

    • Angela

      I stopped at clothes too! I cleared a lot from my closet based on “what to keep” and “what sparks joy” and I felt so good. I encourage my girls to have same approach to their closets and it works too. But I can not get myself to start on books and everything else. Too much time and effort.

  • Mimi Gregor

    Ah, you didn’t mention the thing she said to do that I found the most objectionable: storing summer and winter clothes together in one closet. She maintains that air conditioning and heating make clothing seasonless. I say pish. I’m not going to wear my polka dot halter top in the winter — even if the heat is turned up. And I’m not going to wear my cashmere turtleneck in the summer, even if the air conditioning in restaurants is indistinguishable from their walk-in sometimes.

    I tried the folding thing and didn’t like it. I drape my sweaters over the bar of the hanger and hang them in the closet. Everything is hung by category, and I have my pullovers separate from my cardigans.

    Emptying my purse every night would be ridiculous; I only have one day bag, and only use the evening bag once a week. If I have receipts, they all go in one pocket, so I only have to empty that.

    I did enjoy her book, however, but am glad I borrowed it from the library. The part that resonated the most with me is the part about sparking joy. Now, my cleaning supplies do not bring me joy, per se. But a clean house does. And there are a few clothing items I have that I do not LOVE. But I am slowly replacing them with items that I DO love, and that feels very good indeed.

  • Renee L Stambaugh

    My friends read it and we all talked about it. I like getting rid of things, however the first statement on getting “everything” out is the thing that bothered me the most. If I got everything out I would never get done sorting through it. A little at a time works for me. And if I purchase something new I get rid of 2 things. That’s how I do it.

  • anonylind

    I’ve read her book several times, and I like your analysis of it a lot, especially “Know yourself.” I think a good bit of the “Kon-mari” method would work for me, but the woman talks to her purses, for pete’s sake. I’m sorry, but that’s when she lost me. I won’t be thanking my inanimate objects for anything anytime soon.

    • gretchenrubin

      I found that charming, if a little odd! But I know the feeling that objects have little personalities, and feelings that get hurt if they don’t get any attention.

  • Janice Sexton

    I read about 20 pages and found it was not for me at all. Like you, I believe people have very different styles and I personally prefer gentle suggestions and ideas that might work rather than her dictatorial style. I can understand the popularity. Many people are looking for a solution to their problems and I guess they are desperate enough to think there is one answer. I had a friend who bought a book called “The last self-help book you’ll ever need.” She bought many more after that one. It’s rather like all the fad diets that my friends do for a time, lose weight, then regain it. The most useful diet book for me was called “The no diet diet.” The idea was to pay no attention to what you ate, exercise, etc….just do a large variety of different things especially things you have never tried before. I didn’t have to think too much about that since I was selling and packing up from a home I had been in for 35 years, moving to a new city, and also buying and settling into a vacation property. I lost 50 pounds over that year and haven’t put it back on.

  • Daira Dailey Hogeland

    I think cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, and several other common items can spark joy. The last few years I’ve been buying the smell good brands of household cleaners, which seems to help motivate my 13 year old to wipe down counters and clean her bathroom. I’ve been buying cheerfully colored kitchen utensils as the older ones break.
    But there are other ideas I can’t imagine, such as putting away every item from my purse daily. I folded my t-shirt drawer beautifully, but I’m too lazy to keep it perfect all the time.

  • Zach Strange

    I agree with you. Some things work for some people but not all people. Personally, I relate with your statement that piles of stuff laying around waiting to be put away can be incredibly overwhelming. If I were to take that approach, I would probably give up after getting everything in piles and go play X-Box 360.

  • Aelin

    I enjoyed the book, and was thinking about trying at least some of the suggestions while I read it. But in the end I didn’t even attempt a single one. I am especially glad I didn’t try the thing about taking out every single category of things in the house to deal with all at once, as I can guarantee I would leave it half-finished for months. I was discussing it with someone and they also pointed out that she assumes a certain level of income – because a lot of her advice amounts to “Get rid of it – if you end up needing it after all, you can buy another one.” Not only can some people not afford this approach, it’s also very wasteful (though I am fully aware that some people are so afraid of wasting something or getting rid of things that they won’t throw anything out). One thing that really stuck with me in a positive way was her advice about hanging on to things that you have no use for just because they were given to you by someone special. She says you should tell yourself that you got use out of it, even if the use was just the pleasure the person got from giving you the gift, and it’s okay to let them go.

    • mom2luke

      It did make me think of all the perfectly good stuff going into landfills –esp the plastics. Very depressing how we’re ruining our Good Earth.

      • Gillian

        Yes, this was something that greatly bothered me too. She made very brief mention of donating but my impression was that most of what she discarded ended up in the landfill – totally unacceptable. Thank goodness for thrift shops where I can send things that are perfectly good but that I can no longer use! I discovered recently that you can recycle textiles – old clothes & household textiles even if they are beyond use by taking them to H&M stores – an international Swedish clothing company. Our excessive consumption, especially in North America, is killing our planet. Or to be more precise, it could be killing civilization which developed over 10,000 years of stable climate. That stable climate is no more thanks to us.

  • We’re on the same wavelength! My own blog post is called “The Five Stages of Marie Kondo & The Life-Changing Magic of Doing What Works for YOU”. (The five stages of what I, as a professional organizer, have experienced since this book was published, mirror Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief, starting with denial, and ending with acceptance. LOL!)

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it!

  • Lisa

    I’ve tried it. I hated it. I didn’t find it life changing. It has helped me throw out more clutter but not in the way the she prescribes. I’ve just got too much stuff and too little time to have big decluttering sessions. I also don’t think it is that easy to do when you have a big family like I do. I tried folding. I wasted half a day ironing and folding. Never again. I’ve gone back to my drying on hangers and then hanging straight from the line method. Sometimes time is more precious than a tidy space.

    • gretchenrubin

      That is a CRUCIAL point – time vs. clutter.

      Her argument – and there’s a lot of truth to it – is that with less stuff, you save time because you don’t have to manage as much, it’s easier to find things, etc. Very true.
      But it’s also true that time and energy are needed to stay on top of clutter. And sometimes, it’s not worth it.

      • diana

        I think I need to give up on the whole sock folding thing and just go back to balling them up. It’s taking way too much time! I had a great couple of months going Kondo but I realize that I am a satisficer at heart. I did like thanking my possessions before I gave them away.

      • mom2luke

        And what about Kondoing OTHER family members? My daughter has way, way too much stuff, but it is HER stuff, so I can’t “declutter” it…even tho it makes me crazy. Esp her laundry. I could make a full time job out of folding it the Kondo way, but I wouldn’t have time to eat most days if I did.

        I expect her baby will grow up to be someone who likes STUFF and she’ll have to write another book and (much like Sheryl Sandburg did) will end up apologizing to all the people dealing w/ different, difficult situations and people who just can’t manage to do what she advocates.

        • elizabeth

          My daughter (age 11) sounds a lot like your daughter. I’m a minimalist, whereas my daughter is a maximalist. I’m Felix, she’s Oscar. I decided to step out of our Odd Couple power struggle, so I taught her how to use the washer and dryer. It’s been a load (pun intended) off my mind and daily tasks to empower my child to do her own laundry. That way, when she tries something on and then leaves it in a heap on her bedroom floor, I no longer get upset. It’s her responsibility to wash, dry, fold and put away her clothes – and no, it’s not done to my standards, but that’s my problem with perfectionism. Her drawers are messy with clothing folded as you’d expect an 11 year-old to fold. But, it’s improved our relationship now that it’s no longer a source of strife and contention. The overall state of her bedroom still drives me nuts, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. 🙂

  • Jan P.

    My husband listened to this book on the free Hoopla service from our library and recommended it to me. I found the “does it bring you joy” very helpful myself. I pulled out all my off season clothes that were in the basement, and I tell you, so many things I looked at were “Oh, Connie gave me that!” but it never was “me!” I got rid of so much! We also decided to get rid of our 30 year old formal dining room set, and downsized to a more modern small set. Never going to clean a purse every night, but truly, you may really benefit from reading this book, take what you need, and leave the rest!

  • Dawn Paoletta

    I did read it…and some of it I love and talking to clothes is where we part ways…just, no. However I think your advice here is well balanced and realistic. What makes the Kondo way so popular is it leans toward extremism – a popular trend for everything we do here in the USA…it is also why we currently have not been able to sit in the living room for a week…I decided to follow the advice to take all my books out…of every nook and cranny….and now the living room looks like a piled high book shrine! AND it is overwhelming…as a self admitted book hoarder and paper lover, I actually resisted this part but then decided I would do it. This was unrealistic, and I should have followed my initial gut reaction. I will get through it…but yikes.

    • 96p

      It’s really not that extreme? “Discard what is not useful or what doesn’t make you happy.” It’s sad so many people see this as extreme…

  • Babs Go

    7 Reasons Why I Disagree With Gretchen Rubin:
    1. Putting everything in a single category is the only way to be repulsed by the sheer volume of your “stuff”. It’s the magic of it, believe me!
    2. It’s sad if your possessions can’t spark joy in their usefulness or their beauty. Honing your “joy meter” is precisely why MK advises starting with clothing. It’s easy to know what you love to wear and feel great in and what is just “meh”. It comes in time no matter how much you resist.
    3. This is slightly misconstruing the advice. While it’s ideal because your relationship with your things is key, she coaches people so clearly her clients aren’t doing it alone and quiet.
    4. GR is speculating that it “wouldn’t work” but hasn’t actually tried it. If she tried it and then decided it wasn’t worth her while, I’d be on board with this. But rejecting it out of hand? No.
    5. It’s the Method. It’s a Festival. Obviously, for millions, doing it piecemeal just doesn’t work. Momentum is a powerful thing.
    6. Pretty much every expert and success coach/motivational speaker, etc….advises to start in the morning. Obviously if you can only do it after work, do it. But this is a pretty lame “disagreement”.
    7. Folding doesn’t work for everyone but for the clothes that you do wish to fold it’s genius! But if you want to hang everything, go for it.
    Basically this whole post is “know yourself”. Duh! If someone reads Life Changing Magic and then rejects it, fine. But it’s the Method. If you’re going to do it but not going to fully embrace it and follow MK’s instructions, there are a zillion organizing and self help books out there for you. But doing KM and then not following the instructions to the letter is like doing a Whole 30 yet still having your nightly glass of wine. Clearly, Gretchen has not tried to KM, she’s just read the book and formulated her own opinions.

    • gretchenrubin

      Your last point is very interesting. With an extreme method, is it best to go all the way – embrace it wholly, or not try it, because you can’t really judge it effectiveness?
      Say with Whole30. Great analogy. The idea there is DEFINITELY that you should follow the plan 100%.
      Should a person say, “I’m going to give it a shot, do it Marie Kondo’s way 100%, or not try?” Or do what I did, which is “I’ll read the book, sees what strikes a chord with me, and try those parts?”
      It’s an interesting question. Maybe if I’d gone all the way with KonMari, I would have had amazing results. I could envision that.
      Instead of good results, which I got when I picked among her suggestions and adapted them from myself.
      Here’s the thing: I can’t even CONTEMPLATE doing it her way. It’s just too extreme for me. So then I would have received no value from her book, because I would’ve rejected it, instead of getting many good ideas, which I did.
      But it’s true. If I’d really embraced her way, maybe it would have been AMAZING.

  • Penelope Schmitt

    Great common sense. In 12 step programs, there’s the wonderful piece of advice: “TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE and leave the rest”. I LOVE Kondo’s book, but trust me, I would never apply her advice to my library. My clothes, maybe. My library, NEVER. Nor would I try to go at it totally all at once. I am not paying someone to get it done in five days or less. Personally, I have found her folding guidance AWESOME. Not for everyone I am sure. She inspired me to ‘think big’ in a way I hadn’t. As a result, in a house overburdened with all my china and my mother’s as well, I made the command decision that everything BLUE was going to have to go. GENIUS. She inspired me to do some things I would have thought way too extreme. However, I agree that for the most part, I just don’t have that cleansed and parsimonious a soul. I am an abundance person, and clutter will always be my comfort zone. Just LESS of it. Thank you both!

  • Rebecca Fadel King

    I read and enjoyed the book. I got through the clothing and book sections of de-cluttering more than a year ago. Although an avid reader, I haven’t missed any of the books I gave away, and I still fold my shirts as Kondo directs. I probably use more hangers than she’d approve of, but I still take up only about half the space in the walk-in closet that my husband uses. Unfortunately, clothing and books were as far as I got in decluttering. The piles of paper that the book addresses next proved too much for me. I’ll try to get back to that soon, though, because I really want that under control!

    • gretchenrubin

      Now I’m inspired to go through my papers again, as well!

  • Nancy Darling

    I find her method far to left brained for me. Especially the folding.

  • Penelope Schmitt

    P.S. I am a ‘buy a purse that sparks joy . . . and carry it every darned day until it is frayed, worn, torn and disgusting, then buy another one. . . BUT, clean your purse out once a week every week.” more economy, less hassle.

  • mostlyfitmom

    Thank you for this post! It’s great to know that I’m not alone. Several people recommended the book to me when the topic of clutter came up and were practically outraged when I said that I didn’t enjoy the book. She lost me at gathering everything of the same type. For household tasks, I work better in short bursts rather than in big blocks of time.

    • Rowena List

      Good for you. That’s what’s “normal”

      I couldn’t get past the first few pages. Found the book too slow and unrealistic and I’m a Professional Organizer

    • Kevin Cannon

      I’m not sure you’re supposed to *enjoy* that book. It’s supposed to be useful and practical. It’s not a novel.

      If you give up so early on, then yes, you’re not going to get much out of the method.

    • Turtlepea

      Did you actually try the method, or did she lose you just through the reading part? I took kondos advise and did my tidying festival over six months, which probably suits you as its in many short bursts, but she said some will take longer and that’s ok.

  • Carol O

    Meh…I found it very childish…something that might have worked if I still lived in a bedroom at my parents’ home. Similar ideas but presented in a much more adult perspective is ‘The Joy of Less’ by Francine Jay. Still more minimalist then I will ever be but I am more motivated by her book.

  • Yooinn Hong

    I think, although categorizing self can be helpful and fun, it can be also beneficial to expose self under some authority(e.g. Marie Kondo) and immerse myself to a new system entirely. (You can adjust later) This is because I think my understanding of myself can be erroneous and cannot change fast enough to capture my ever-changing self correctly. Types can be a good guide (I found your book helpful!) but I think people can benefit from keeping it moderate their reliance on what they perceive as themselves.

  • Jen

    Cute Youtubers demonstrating why the method doesn’t work for all personality types: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkqpuYWS77E.

  • Susie

    I read it and did not like it at all. I thought it was extreme and not valid for most people. I was particularly horrified by her take on books–get rid of them all, tear out pages that you like…Books are incredibly important to me, and I love to share them with people. I refer to some over and over again. After I read it, I looked at my kitchen counter, and felt really bad because it shows evidence of a day lived. Nobody in family would take the time to put everything away after they use it. My living room looks like people live here!! Imagine!
    I love organizing and de-cluttering, but my family doesn’t, and I’d rather have them and their messes than a sterile perfect empty home.

    • Merf56

      Her focus in NOT on getting rid of things but on deciding what to keep. If you have 1000 books and you truly have held each on and they ‘bring you joy’ or however you want to phrase it personally , you should keep them. She says that multiple times hen both her books. She, for example loves shoes and purses and says she has a lot of them…

  • Lorrie Shelley

    I am getting a new mattress, after 27 years with the old one. My old mattress is near the front door, ready to go to its fate.
    Surprisingly, I felt quite emotional at the thought of letting it go.
    Bumpy and unevenly flattened in places, it has become too uncomfortable for a good night’s sleep.
    But, it served me well, so I found myself saying, ‘Thank you, old thing. I appreciate all the comfort you have given me over three decades. I’m sorry I have to let you go.’

  • Caitlin

    Her books were definitely a mixed bag for me! For clothing, books, and papers, I did follow her methods, and had incredible success. But once I got to “komono” it wasn’t really sustainable to pull EVERYTHING together at once.

    The aspect of her books that I enjoyed the most is the thing that most people think is bonkers- I found it incredibly freeing to thank my belongings as I was getting rid of things. There was something about it that just made it easier for me to say goodbye.

    Reading her book motivated me to get rid of several carloads of belongings, then I followed it by reading Better than Before, which has helped me form habits that will keep my house clutter-free long term 🙂

  • mosan

    I read Marie Kondo’s book after David Lebovitz, the food writer, mentioned it proving useful for him on his blog. One can quibble with the presentation or feel uncomfortable with the Shinto worldview. However, the fact is that this book has been so successful, especially relative to others in its category, in large part because people have found it useful.

    In the accounts I’ve read, I don’t think anyone has followed the instructions to the letter–they *have* adapted it to their situation without much angst–so this whole post about “only use what works for you…know yourself”–seems unnecessary at best, like a bit of a straw man. At worst, it discourages people from being open-minded and trying something new.

    I was also surprised by some of the points in this post. One reason for this was because a few things were inaccurate–e.g. MK has written that if one has a spouse that wants to get involved, it’s fine to work together, and that it’s fine to put sorted belongings into temporary storage places as one works through each category.

    But a bigger reason for my surprise is that I think a lot of GR’s criticisms actually apply to her own work. For example, when I read MK’s suggestions about finding the positive aspects of utilitarian necessities like cleaning equipment, I immediately made the connection to GR’s suggestion, I think from book #1, of trying to reframe one’s mindset about doing the dishes to bring more happiness to one’s day. So in point #2, I was surprised to read GR criticizing MK for suggesting an approach similar to what GR herself has suggested.

    I also thought it was strange that GR criticized MK for being “dogmatic” and “my way is the best,” when I find that to be a common tone in GR’s writing. Like MK, GR has written a book saying, “I’ve tested all sorts of methods for X, and here’s what worked.” In GR’s writing, everyone falls into strict, binary categories…You are an A or a B, you are a This or a That. I find this just as simplistic, dogmatic, and inflexible to variation as MK’s approach. Even this post is kind of “Marie Kondo is wrong/I am right” and the repeated “know yourself” sounds pretty dogmatic.

    The defensive tone of this post gives me the impression that MK’s book has touched on some insecurity that GR has, prompting her to criticize without reflection. And it kind of gives the impression, accurate or not, that because she “knows herself,” GR gave up on the book’s approach before really giving it a fair try…. GR has written some valuable stuff, but this post is not her at her best.

    • gretchenrubin

      Interesting! I will ponder! This may indeed be a “you spot it, you got it.”
      It’s an intriguing paradox: my dogma is that “There is no one right answer.” And I INSIST that that is the right answer! Love it!
      In my post, I’m responding to the people I’ve heard from, who really get uneasy when they feel like they can’t do things “right.” “I should be able to do this first thing in the morning.” “I should be able to study for the GRE on my own.” “I should be able to take the books off my shelves, sort them, and clear them out in a day.” “I should be able to eat one cookie.”
      People feel bad, they get discouraged, they accuse themselves of lacking will-power.
      And I feel bad about that! I think there are many “right” ways to do something.
      You’re right, from the comments, most people seem to get a kick out of Marie Kondo’s decided views; they pick and choose what works for them.
      So maybe I was wrong to think that it caused angst. I probably just hear from the angst-y folks, and the ones who enjoy it, don’t say anything about it.
      In the past, I may have said, “this is what works,” but for the most part, and increasingly, I’m careful to say “this is what works FOR ME.” Because with greater wisdom and observation, I’ve seen that what works for one person may be the OPPOSITE of what works for someone else.

      • triciab

        I read a lot of blogs….this is such a thoughtful reply to a critical comment….how rare and how nice!

    • Kristen Hammerback

      You’ve missed an extremely important distinction between MK and GR. GR bases everything she writes on research. She never says that SHE thinks something is right or wrong; she says that her review of the existing literature suggests that A works better than B. GR’s writing has also really evolved. She’s been very honest that, prior to writing Better than Before, she couldn’t understand why certain people didn’t do things that seemed like the obvious best choice (i.e., exercise in the a.m. so you get it out of the way and don’t have a chance to change your mind). Now, based on her exhaustive research, she notes that different things work for different people, even while many people tend to fall on a continuum between 2 poles. By the way, this is not a rigid or dogmatic view of the world; it’s the way scientists work, doctors work, and anyone else who studies phenomena that lay on a continuum. MK, in contrast, has not researched anything — she just throws her ideas out there because they work for her. That’s fine, but let’s not pretend that she’s in any way providing data-driven advice. This is a crucial difference between the 2 writers that you totally failed to pick up on. I think you just really liked the book and got annoyed that GR brought up valid concerns to some of its assertions.

      • Ally

        MK also has done extensive research– she has worked with thousands of clients. That kind of practical (as opposed to academic) research is priceless.

        • Alexa Johanssen

          Actually, working with a bunch of people who have self-selected to hire you to help them leads to conclusions that are biased and anecdotal in nature. What Gretchen does is review research studies that are designed to result in generalizable findings. This is not my opinion; it’s the scientific method that lies behind any defensible statement about what does and does not “work” for most people.

          • cocoguav

            Marie has never claimed that this method works for people who have not sought her out, though. She makes that so clear in her books and talks. It is a method for people who already want it. Which is why it’s so silly to vehemently disagree with her like this. Like, if you don’t like…okay! It’s not for you! Go take a nap!

        • Judy

          Let’s not forget MK was the ripe old age of 25 years when “Life Changing Magic” was pubbed in 2011. Giving benefit of the doubt, let’s assume she started taking on clients at age 18–right after graduating high school. She’d need to have had ~286 clients per year to be in the “thousands,” the book implies she spends AT LEAST a full day with each client–sounds like usually more, even up to five+–and there’s 228 working days per year in Japan. The math doesn’t add up, nor do her claims that this is the ONLY method that works, but trust her!! She’s tried every conceivable method (at the ripe old age of 25), which basically PROVES her method is the Holy Grail, right?? Balderdash. Oh, and NOT ONE of her clients have ever relapsed! (Yes, she claims this in the book). Not ONE… out of THOUSANDS! Poppycock. That’s a statistical impossibility, and even if it wasn’t, are we to believe she stays current with her thousands of former clients? It’s nonsense. Don’t drink the Kondo Kool-Aid, m’ladies, wake up and smell the bullcrap. It’s right under our collective noses. Just take a whiff. Kudos to Gretchen for standing up to the rabid Cult of Kondo. You go, girlfriend!

  • Teri1147

    Having lived in Hong Kong for 18 months, I found lots of her “quirks” to be very Asian. Also the fact that she lives alone (read “does not have children”) colors A LOT of her ideas. That being said, I got some great insights from her including not to keep items out of guilt and to retire items in gratitude.

    • gretchenrubin

      I loved the Japanese-ness of her advice. It gave me a glimpse into the everyday habits and concerns in Japan, in a way that I found fascinating. I was glad that the American editor didn’t try to tone that down.

    • cocoguav

      She has a husband. And a child. And lives with both of them…?

      • Teri1147

        I didn’t know that but looked it up and yes, she had a baby last July and is married so congrats to her! The book was written in 2011, though, so I guess I just meant that at the time she was writing, she was living alone. It would be really interesting to hear how things have changed – or not changed – for her since.

    • Merf56

      She is married with a child….

  • Judith Sasaridis

    Your disagreement with the Kon Mari Method strategies really resonated with me…in fact, I was beginning to wonder if all the world had gone mad! There must be some situations where one-size-fits-all is the only viable choice (mmm, teaching twins to dress themselves?) or where it’s advisable to only keep items that bring you joy (my yard trimmer, anyone?) but I read The Life-Changing Magic with my mouth open and one eyebrow arched.

    The Greeks have a wonderful saying, “Ex idion krinis ta allotria…” or thereabouts. It means that we judge others by our own circumstances, or we tend to think what works for us will work for everyone.

    Thank you for presenting the other side of the method.

  • monicaricci

    Well HELLO again Ms. Gretchen! Long time! As a colleague of Ms. Kondo (technically we are in the same industry), I will say frankly that I agree with a handful of the overarching concepts in her book, as you do. These are ideas and mindset shifts that I and my other colleagues have been sharing and teaching for years to anyone who would listen. However, as a Certified Professional Organizer® and someone who has for nearly twenty years been helping people organize their lives, I simply can’t abide much of her other advice.

    Simply put, it’s extreme and narrow. True, her very specific methodologies may work for some percentage of people, however our charge when we work with clients is to meet them where they are, and help them move through the organizing and decluttering process using methods that work FOR THEM.

    One of the first things we learn in our profession is the truth that there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to organize. As professionals, we ask questions, we observe and we build a rapport with our client which allows us to know them better. We factor in countless variables which help determine the strategies and tactics that will be most successful for each of our clients. I have helped many clients with the EXACT same problem and have gone about it many different ways because of my ability to suss out what methods resonate with each person. That’s the art and science of being a good Professional Organizer. Would you go to a doctor who treated every disease with the same medicine? Doubtful. Why then would you buy into the idea that there is only one way to organize?

    While Ms. Kondo’s book has indeed brought more people to a mindset shift and inspired them to begin the decluttering process, it has also left many feeling inadequate and de-motivated because of its rigidity.

  • elizabeth

    Loved both of Marie Kondo’s books, and I’m an avid follower of all things Gretchen: books, podcast, live chats, blog, etc. While I took the spirit and the theory of MK’s books to heart, I applied them in a more realistic way for myself and my family. I tried folding in the Kondo way but the neat rows in my drawers fell over as I pulled things out to wear them. I went back to hanging most of my clothes. I tried her sock drawer method but the cute little sushi sock rolls didn’t maintain their shape and my drawer became a jumbled mess. And folding underwear? Forget it. I did employ her suggestion of shoeboxes within dresser drawers as natural dividers for socks, tights, underwear, scarves, etc. I appreciated this more practical and economical approach, as I find the obsession with fancy bins, baskets, and expensive organizing systems (and places like The Container Store) indicative of an societal epidemic: over-consumption. I’m a huge believer in de-owning instead of decluttering. We are drowning in stuff and taxing the planet.

    I appreciated MK’s advice to not touch other people’s stuff within the family, which is a lesson for me in tolerance and respect. My husband and daughters do not share my minimalist zeal. My fervent desire for my girls to de-own and toss excess stuff could have the opposite effect (i.e. hoarding) if I come on too strong, so I have backed way off. I help them purge and deep clean their bedrooms when THEY are motivated to do it. Being able to edit and manage personal spaces is a life skill that will serve them well when living with college roommates and beyond. But, more than anything, I hope to teach my children that love & joy are not found in acquiring things, they are found in relationships and experiences.

    I find that I am approaching new purchases more carefully, and am a more discriminating shopper. I ask myself, “Will this bring me joy?” or “Do I truly need this?” I also employ the ‘one in one out’ method with clothing. I’ve let a lot of books go from my huge personal library, keeping only those that are meaningful to me. I had way too many novels on my shelves that I either didn’t love or never planned to reread. I’ve been using the library heavily in the past few years; it’s felt lighter to shop less, and I never thought I’d say that about books!

    MK’s nightly purse-emptying ritual was a flop with me, because I have carried the same Longchamp tote bag every day for the past four years and clean out the papers & receipts daily. Her method would work well if one switches handbags a lot.

    De-owning clothing, less-favored books, and editing “komono” (everyday household excess) has come easily to me. Purging old towels and sheets was particularly satisfying! The one area where I am an unabashed saver is the category of mementoes. We have four huge keepsake bins – one for each of us – in our basement for photographs, cards, letters, favorite artwork, important school projects, etc.

  • I totally agree. I’ve read the book and loved it, but I think the reason I haven’t actually done ANYTHING yet is that I haven’t got time to declutter my entire house in one go. I’m telling a lie, it’s not that I haven’t done anything at all, but I’ve been making gradual changes: My wardrobe only contains 33 items per season (Courtney Carver’s Project 333) and I’ve given a lot of books to the library or thrift shops. I barely notice a difference, but I’m working on it.

    I also struggled with the idea of emptying my handbag every night (why? I own just the one anyway) and thanking its contents for the day’s work.

    “Does it spark joy?” is a GREAT question that has helped me making decisions, but not everything I own sparks joy and yet I still need it. With some stuff I ask myself “Do you really need it?” – not just when decluttering, but also when out shopping. Asking me that question has stopped a lot of stuff from coming INTO our house.

  • Marcia (Organising Queen)

    Thank you for such a nice, balanced review of the book. You either hear the love or the hate online, and both of those extremes are not always useful.

    I loved the book but also didn’t put everything into practice exactly as prescribed because that wouldn’t work for my situation. But I did find such a lot of talking points I wrote a lot of posts about it on my blog http://marciafrancois.com/blog/tag/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up/

  • Marianne Neumann

    When I read your post I get the feeling that you are really up set and your emotions are pushed to the limit by M. Kondos ways. And that makes me wonder what the real issue is with you and her.

    You DISAGREE with her, but with your position as writer of similar literature – from
    a different angel – I think your article should have been more of “Beware of
    these things when following M. Kondos rules”.

    Do you expect to love and agree with every book you come across? I find the “anger” you show are out of proportion to the disagreement and in the first part of the article you even try to come across as tolerant.

    So what is it that really – deep down – is irritating you about M. Kondo?

    (I have read M. Kondos book. Some of it works for my, others don’t. I find your points very usefull and most of all very insightful. But again, wonder why you are so pissed off).

    • Maryalene

      It’s interesting how we all read things differently. I didn’t see any anger in this article!

      • Angelique Shara

        Nor did I. So I wonder what it is really – deep down – that is irritating Marianne about Gretchen? 😛

    • gretchenrubin

      Oh, gosh, I guess I didn’t convey that I really LOVED the book. I found it charming, and very helpful. I didn’t find it irritating. (Plus I’m always drawn to extreme personalities, so I loved that about her voice.)
      But I didn’t agree with all of her advice. I was trying to point out a different viewpoint, not express anger.

  • Cbrown

    I loved the book and found it quite helpful but have pared down a lot over the last few years so perhaps doing the entire category at a time was easier for me. I did my clothes (getting out, sorting, packing donations, putting them away) in three hours or so. They were already pretty categorised so that definitely helped.

    I need to take a second pass at the kitchen but otherwise, our house is pretty pared down.

  • Nana

    It’s such a popular thing right now to dislike the Konmari method. Kinda makes me sad how many people didn’t read, understand or try it and here they are bashing it, maybe because they feel bad about all the clutter and mess in their own homes?

    Gathering everything of the same type was such a revelation for me even though I didn’t see its significance at first. Same with the folding, it’s so quick and easy and my closet stays so organized!

    • NonnaBAC

      So agree!

    • Sara Conrad

      I totally agree!

    • Kevin Cannon

      It’s especially popular when you’ve a book to promote!

    • Turtlepea

      Yes, and the loudest critics are professional organisers! I would have thought professionals would be the ones who made it their job to pair the right method with the right person instead of discarding some methods entirely.

  • Shelley Anne Friend

    Very interesting discussion. For Christmas, the two books I gave my daughters and BFFs were The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Better Than Before. I loved her teaching about folding, and tried it. It gave us much more room. However, my husband’s socks never stayed folded together unless they were “poppled”—anybody remember Popples, doll-like puppets from the 80s that you flipped inside out—it’s what we always did with socks. Still Poppling works best for us, with the socks because we kept losing them when they were folded. The overwhelming task of doing everything at once seems overwhelming, which is why I didn’t adopt that method either. One room at a time, or one drawer at a time, has worked. And, I love the idea of touching everything to see if it brings me joy. Once, my husband held out his hand and said, “touch my hand, do I bring you joy?” Of course, I said YES!!! Knowing ourselves, one day, one room, one drawer at a time.

    • gretchenrubin

      I love that your husband asked you that question.

    • Turtlepea

      Not sure where you got the idea you are required to do everything at once. The idea is to do one category at a time, just the same way you explain about doing one drawer or one room. The process takes, at Marie’s recommendation, 6 months or more. Hardly “overwhelming task of everything at once” as you explain it.

  • I listened to part of the book on Audible and then returned it for a refund. Unlike you, I didn’t have a “take the best, leave the rest” response to it at all. I found it deeply rooted in a highly consumerist idea: If you get rid of something and find you need or want it later, you can just get another one!

    While this may be true and freeing for some people, you can only think this way in a highly materialistic culture. It’s only when you imagine that there is an endless supply of purchasable stuff, and the money to purchase it with, that it’s viable to only keep that which “sparks joy.” My lawnmower (and power drill and pile of tomato stakes and the dust mop and the old notions I cut off of worn-out clothes to reuse) sparks no joy, but I need to keep it and use it since I don’t want to outsource every bit of drudgery in my life to others or re-purchase items I have purged but eventually will need.

    Her image of life as perfectly ordered, perfectly curated and perfectly optimized for the present moment’s needs requires an enormous infrastructure of consumption to sustain it. In short, I hated everything about her ideas other than the surface image of a beautifully-organized urban home that other people maintain.

  • Kim

    Loved her books- have read them both and found them to be very informative and almost impossible for me to follow. Got my clothes done (was appalled at the amount I had!) then started on books – of which I have many! Have to admit that that’s where I got stuck. Got rid of about 50, but kept several hundred more……still a work in progress……I agree with you- I need to know myself better before I tackle a project like this- I had books spread out all over for weeks because I just couldn’t get to them. Can’t live like that either. Will pick it up again. I like the idea of living with less – especially the non-essentials – just have to find the time to figure out what they are!!! Thanks for your insight! Love your books!

  • Deborah Nam-Krane

    It’s funny how so many people have attached a rigidity to this method that I didn’t see in the books.

    I loved both books, but I didn’t strictly adhere to her order of sorting, which is…fine. As I understood it, the reason she ordered it that way is because clothing and books are easier for most people to react to and tackling those first can help you hone your sensitivity to how you really feel about items and make you more confident in your decisions. But if you don’t want to start there, no big deal! In fact, when I began this in earnest, the first thing I did was start with my kitchen and bathroom closets, which gave me such a high I could do anything else. I didn’t feel like Ms. Kondo would disapprove.

    While I know Kondo’s folding method is what people talk about a lot, what I got from the first book was to make it work for your drawers and clothing. And in general while I found the animism part hard to explain to others, it seems like an underpinning of her method is to tune into not only your things but your space: how can they both work together best for you?

    Finally, while I suspect Kondo herself is a minimalist, she doesn’t advise that everyone embrace that philosophy. I can think of plenty of people who would still be surrounded by possessions if they got rid of everything that didn’t make them happy…and that’s fine, too.

    Best line: storage experts are hoarders.

  • Oh my gosh, #2- yes! I agreed with so much of what Kondo had to say in this book, but even after purging a ton of our belongings, I can’t honestly say that everything left sparks joy. Sometimes things are just here to be functional. The tip that I did especially like was #1- putting everything in a category on the floor. I found that for me, it’s a good method of chipping away at different areas of my house, rather than moving from room to room and having to see the same type of stuff that I just got rid of.

  • Christine

    I’m taking your advice of knowing yourself to heart. After reading the book blurb, I knew it wasn’t the right method for me, so I didn’t even bother reading the first chapter! I agree that the “spark joy” method only takes you so far and can’t really apply to everything. I thought Mindy Kaling summed it up best: “I tried that Japanese decluttering trend where you hold each thing you own, and throw it out if it doesn’t give you joy. I threw out all my vegetables and the electric bill.”

    • gretchenrubin

      How I love Mindy Kaling!

  • Pamela

    I spent 2015 radically downsizing. Kondo’s book was, by far, the most helpful I read and there were many. Yes, in fact, life-changing. I now happily live in 325 sq. ft. I think some of the book is silly (like socks needing rest) but her method is brilliant. I actually did it. I started with clothes. I removed everything and made piles. I looked for joy. I thanked items. I admit, when I READ about it, I thought it was corny. But I was so tired of my “stuff management” life I actually TRIED it instead of criticizing it. Without it I would probably still be wrangling all the crap I don’t miss instead of living only with things I love. I’m shocked at how much better my life feels. It feels like freedom. It feels like magic.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear that it worked so well for you.

    • Turtlepea

      Pamela – yes! Same here. I could have said “it’s not me” “it’s too crazy” and other excuses, but Instead, I just did it, and it was, indeed, lifechanging. I now live with such peace and space in my home and I hardly shop these days (except for food). I doubt I would have got to this point without her book. I had read other decluttering books before and those methods did not suit me (but I don’t see any blogs anywhere dissing those books or authors) interestingly the words we are using like “freedom” “Magic” “better life” are not being used by those that dismissed her methods outright in this thread.

  • Gennie Leonard

    I enjoyed the book and found certain points to be helpful, as I have with other decluttering/organizing books, but I couldn’t get on board with having to fold almost every clothing item. I prefer being able to look at my clothes hanging in my closet when I’m choosing what I’m going to wear. Of course, I fold items that make sense to me to keep in drawers. The most helpful things I learned are to not allow guilt to dictate what I keep and to be more mindful about purchasing things that I will use and enjoy, rather than just collecting items I don’t really want or need.

  • VilcaAmazon

    Always nice to know one is not alone. I stopped reading Kondo’s much “worshipped” book at about Chapt 2 or 3. The most inspiring part of her book for me was to declutter gurus, something I have been thinking about and acting upon for sometime, her book was the proverbial my way or the highway that broke this expert chaser’s brain. I have been journaling a lot since then about my need to constantly seek the advice of others rather than listen to, follow and respect my own wisdom. Women in particular do not trust themselves, we need to start doing that. Balance in all things.

  • mamazee

    i loved her book 🙂 – i had already followed her youtube video and just organized my own dresser (i have a husband and eight children, but i wanted to start small and manageable). It’s been organized for months now and it’s so much easier to find what i want. And bit by bit i’m imposing order in other areas (our big master closet has been cleaned, and organized lately) – but yes, to think of doing the whole farm, all eight children etc – the idea alone is insane. But i liked her idea of deciding what to keep, instead of what to throw away (although sometimes both are good!). I really want to move on to paper/memorabilia this summer, and pare down the boxes i threw together yearly as a mom who desperately didn[‘t want to forget anything, but whose life was going at such a quick pace… 😉 I’ve got a few years pared down and put into scrapbooks – and many more to go…

  • Rita

    I’m with you on this, Gretchen. I found some of her ideas/tips helpful, but this was not the ‘life changing’ organizing book I had thought it would be, for me. As a Night Owl who works better doing tasks piecemeal and doesn’t feel the need to thank her soap dish for helping out, I was happy to hear I was not alone in not loving this book. I think your advice to Know Yourself is really what will give us all success in the clearing clutter/organizing world. Glad you shared your opinion on this.

  • Deb

    I find taking one messy, dirty, disorganized small thing a day and making order there works for me. Depending on the day, it could be a drawer or a shelf or more if I’m motivated. I keep a list. I call it the “Rathole a Day Project.” Satisfying to make a small elegant spot of order, a little ritual, and at the end of the year, I’ve organized 365 small areas. Imagine that!

    • Turtlepea

      So it took you one entire year to get your house in order? That’s not bad, Marie recommends about six months, but agrees some will take longer. I did like that concept in the book. (That one tidying festival would get one on the straight and narrow pretty much for the rest of their life) As you wrote this seven months ago, I’m guessing youre on the home stretch and the wonderful feeling of having your house in order, tidy, decluttered. Doesn’t matter what method you use to get there, just that we get there.

  • Rachel

    The most insightful thing I got from the book was to only clear your own things, this has freed me enormously,

  • Hellen Buttigieg

    Well said. Thank you for sharing this perspective. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Gretchen. I’ve been a professional organizer for over a decade and if there’s anything I’ve learned from working with hundreds of clients, it’s that there is no ‘one size fits all’ in organizing. My fear is that people who try this method and fail will blame themselves. Please don’t. It’s not you. It’s just that the method didn’t fit you. – Hellen Buttigieg

    • Rowena List

      Totally agree Hellen,
      From one organizer to another.

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  • R

    I loved this book, and found it very helpful. I myself liked the way she was very precise and even thought many of the strategies were extreme. my new decluttered space is a breath of fresh air every day.

  • Joanna Quinn

    This is hysterical and so true. Now I can move on from feeling like I “can’t” do her method

  • Angelique Shara

    I ‘decluttered’ using similar methods long before I ever heard of her or her book came out. I’ve yet to read her book and can’t see myself doing so because I find what I do hear a little bossy for my taste. I have better things to do with my time than folding my socks, and I’d tackle an area, like a shelf or closet rather than pulling ‘all the things’ from all over my house out. I also switch my interests a lot so what doesn’t ‘spark joy’ (that phrase makes my eye twitch) in June might in October.

    • Angelique Shara

      If it works for some people to get them to cut out the excess clutter / useless consumerism then I’m glad, though.

  • michaelmelcher

    I loved Marie Kondo’s book. But I should say that to love a book I don’t need to agree with everything a person says, share their views on life, or even do what they say. It’s enough that I get a few new ideas and a breath of fresh air from it.

    Gretchen, I love how you pointed out the animism that underlies her writing – I think this is what I really found refreshing. It made me think, “do I really need to keep CONTROL and OWNERSHIP of all these things in my home?” No, I don’t. Things flow in, I can let them flow out.

    In addition, I really dug the “does this spark joy?” idea. It helped me get rid of a lot of professional books that I felt I should be interested in or read one day but which I clearly did not want to do. I’m an Upholder and I think this is a way into freedom for me — to get around my self-imposed ideas of what I’m supposed to do.

  • MJ

    You’re so right that her one size fits all approach doesn’t always work. I’ve found it easier to follow her in short bursts and to take what I find useful (start de-cluttering with clothes not paper as it’s easier, etc.) and ignore what is–to me–a little too much (empty your handbag and say thanks to your shoes). I really did like the idea of “spark joy,” and I don’t apply that to every item in my house. Some things you just need. However, I always found the hardline approach of tossing the stuff you haven’t used in x time too rigid. For various reasons, the joy measure works for me. Like you, the folding regime seems a little too…overwhelming although as I lift up things in my drawer to find out what’s below I do occasionally think I should give it a whirl.

  • Cara St.Hilaire

    Yes, the book was odd (repetitive, too) but some of it actually did really change my life. I haven’t made it all the way through everything, but let’s take paper. If I went room by room, each room would still have papers. Bills, notes, magazines, cards, old calendars, even piles of old mortgage documents (take up a lot of space) among awards I won in high school. Note: I’m 37. My husband though I was completely insane this past December when I brought box after box of papers to our living room, and dumped them – right next to our Christmas tree. He knows me well – I often start big and don’t finish, so I think he expected to still have papers in the living room, but I executed this whole thing in about 3 days. The amount of paper in my house was incredible. I had him take a photo of me in the pile – and it was enormous. HUGE! I went through, stack by stack and box by box and decided what to keep. Marie’s method helped me have a heavier hand than I would have had. I even through out some of my 4 year old’s precious art work (my rule was – if it had his hand print anywhere on it, I kept it because it sparked joy…but if it was blobs of random paint on construction paper, it went in the “no” pile). Anyway, I went from a pile that could have easily covered three of me to a few neat and tidy boxes (and I used plastic sleeves – one of Gretchen’s favs!) to help separate some of the items to keep. The story my sister and I wrote as kids about the Beetlejuice sandworm attacking the local mall? Kept it. My social security statements from when I was 25 – trash. Marie’s book is actually pretty annoying, but it helped me see the process in a new way and, in turn, I’m able to enjoy things I save more, now that there’s less.

    What didn’t work? The folding! Oh my gosh – I tried! I really did! But my shirts ended up looking similar to when a child takes all the containers of playdough and mashes them together into a messy glob. I’m always in a hurry and I’m often changing my mind. I cannot fold things so perfectly and place them on their side. I just can’t do it. It ended up making things messier.

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  • marianalogon

    Another important thing to consider when reading Marie Kondo’s book:

    The most important thing for me to advice to other people when recommending the book (because I did recommend it to several people) is that it is very important to take cultural context into consideration. The main thing that bothered me while reading the book was how she always advices to “get rid of things” as in throwing them out. When she talks about clothes she even advices not to give old clothes to sisters, mother or other family members. Here in México, we have a really strong culture of reusing or fixing things, mainly due to our economical and cultural background.

    For example: if our blender (or any other appliance) stops working, we don’t throw it out, we get it fixed. (Which is an interesting contrast with the US, I remember being very shocked the year I lived in Brookline MA, to se perfectly good furniture out on the streets next to the trash). We also always pass on our clothes to family members, my baby clothes were used by my two younger sisters and many younger cousins after them. México is a country of contrasts. While I’ve been fortunate to grow up in an economically stable home, there are many people who live in poverty and can’t afford many things. Which is why it is a common practice to give things we are discarding to people who many need it. There are other points I disagreed with, but I think it’s important to understand that everyone sees things according to their perspective and culture, and while reading the book we have to take it in according to our particular culture. I, like you, also loved the book. But when I recommend it, I always tell people to not take everything literally.

    For me, the main take away from the book was when she talks about how attachment to possessions can only mean one of two things: fear of the future or attachment to the past. Powerful statement, gives you a lot to think about!

    P.S. I found this article by australian blogger Pip Lincone which I think you’ll find interesting: “The life-changing magic of cluttering up”. A beautiful reflection on the importance of keeping books 🙂 http://meetmeatmikes.com/the-life-changing-magic-of-cluttering-up/

  • Freda

    Am I the only person on the planet who finds Marie Kondo funny? Love her book which made me laugh out loud in parts and tee-hee to myself in others as I cheerfully followed her orders (almost) to the letter. I sense a certain charming mischief and quirkiness and a little ‘tongue in cheek’ attitude here and there…and the results are….stunning. Even life-changing.

  • Dee Taylor

    I just finished using konmarie on my books yesterday. I discarded 10 bags – roughly 150 books – in 3 hours. it was not difficult once I started despite being an avid book collector (hoarders) all my life. Interestingly, what I chose to keep was more surprising than what I farewelled. Quite simply, I agree with MK – I wanted to read them all but I never would – they had their chance and this had now passed. And as I worked out myself on reflection, reading a thousand books at 1 a week would take about 20 years to read. I will be an old lady by then if I’m so lucky. Would I want that precious 1000, out of the billions to choose from, to contain any of the 150 I just discarded? No. Life is not long enough to read books that do not give me the most enjoyment possible! Highly recommend this method not just for the newbie to minimalism, but for anyone who has already reached an impasse in their previous discarding efforts.

  • Jamie Ebert

    I haven’t read through all the comments here and I’ll start by saying I appreciate your point. Knowing yourself and how you may be different than Marie Kondo or anyone else is an important thing to remember. Offering an alternative to all the die-hard KonMari methoders who swear by her book is noble. But in response, I feel compelled to write this. As a yoga teacher and long time yoga practitioner, I have spent years listening to the excuses people give for why things don’t work for them and why they’re different. For example, ‘oh, I’m just too inflexible to do yoga’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ etc. … What I have learned from my teachers, who learned from their teachers, and so on is that once someone has tested and re-tested a system on themselves and others, it is very likely that it will work for you IF you do it fully and IF you do it the way the teacher is telling you. If you do not, if you give in to the excuses of I’m different and this doesn’t work for me, then it won’t. With Marie’s book, I can tell you from my own experience that following her advice about the decluttering AND choosing what sparks joy in you works. If you decide that you’re different and it won’t work for you and so you don’t follow her method, then it won’t. I have a lot of friends who are doing a little of this and a little of that, or picking and choosing what they want to follow and not – all of that is great, totally up to them, of course. However, from experience… if you actually do what she says, there will be a quality of your life that shifts. The truth behind it is that you are following a technique that will teach you how to bring awareness, mindfulness, yoga, spirituality (or whatever you choose to call it) into your relationship with your possessions. If you disregard the technique or choose to believe that you’re too different for the technique or it doesn’t apply to you, then it will not work. Pretty straightforward.

    When you are speaking to the idea of the ‘guru technique’ and how people come up with their own methods, you’re right, anyone can come up with something and call it a system and try to sell it to people. And yet, there are people like Marie who have spent decades refining what they do and deciding that they have come up with something that works. Enough that it would be depriving people of an opportunity to really learn something if they don’t share it. This is probably the most rant-y I have ever been but it really makes me sad when people question the validity of another’s work just because there are people who aren’t ready to do the work and come up with excuses.

  • Elizabeth Gutierrez

    My mother had the best reaction! I read the book and told my mother about it so that she could declutter her 4 closets (4 full closets of clothes from all kinds of decades). She looked at me in horror when I told her that she needed to ask herself if each item sparked joy and she immediately turned to me and said “every single item brings me joy!” . From my own experience I tried to do the system with my closet, and 6 months later I still have my “discarded” clothes in a box in the garage to remember to take to a donation center. Everyone should be encouraged to declutter but not everyone can part with things the same way.

  • Megan Ashley

    Gretchen, I could not agree more with you! I read her book in less than two days and it inspired me to purge my apartment over the Memorial Day Weekend. But, as you say, I should have “known myself” better than that. Your very first point is dead on. My closet–though packed to the brim–was fairly organized, by color, item type, etc…, that is, until I took Ms. Kondo’s advice and took everything out and put it on the floor. I can report that now here we are almost to Labor Day weekend and my closet is more of a disaster than before. I became so overwhelmed and it just did not work for me. Perhaps I should take your advice of starting with small sections, such as “coats” rather than my entire wardrobe, winter and summer. I love your podcast, by the way. I just listened to the most recent episode where you referenced this post you’d written and I immediately hit pause and came here to find it because I knew I would probably agree with every single thing you said. Thank you!

    Oh and PS: I also tackled the folding idea…another huge disaster and my dresser and closet and shelves may possibly never recover.

    • The Writing Parent

      Gretchen, I read Marie Kondo’s book after you mentioned it on your blog! As a serial hoarder/ ‘abundance lover’, I was sorely in need of this kind of clear step-by-step system to help me adopt better habits. I’ve never had the natural ‘knack’ of tidying. Personally I loved sorting category by category. Seeing all my jackets together, for example, allowed me to put to one side my fear that I would never have a jacket to wear! Then I could choose only ‘the best’ to keep. (But she does recommend breaking clothes down into smaller categories rather than doing your entire wardrobe at once! She even gives a suggested order, which I followed and found helpful (tops first, I think…)). And I love the folding! I will never go back to the old way, though I’ve given up folding the kids’ stuff! Life is too short!
      However I also liked your ‘dissenting view’! ‘Be yourself’ is always a great bit of advice. I may never live up to the MK ideal… I find regular ‘inspiration hits’ helpful for me to keep up with the often dreary job of tidying and organizing my home… So I’ve just finished ‘Happier at Home’ as well! 😉

    • Turtlepea

      Marie does recommend breaking clothes down into smaller categories rather than doing your entire wardrobe at once! She even gives a suggested order, which I followed and found helpful.

  • Sharlyn

    Yes, I read the book. Many of her ideas were intriguing to me, but the overall ruthless approach wouldn’t work for me. I think I would fall somewhere in the middle

  • Ruth Gommel Williams

    I liked most of the book, but some was a bit extreme.

    I can’t dump everything out on the floor – we have 4 cats and a big dog – hair and”helpfulness” issues!

    I have ALWAYS kept like things together, so that seemed like a no brainer.

    I did go through and fold a drawer of t-shirts her way – LOVED IT. I had room left in the drawer, where shirts had been stuffed to overflowing, and this before decluttering any of those shirts! And they’re so easy to find.

    I do, however, roll my socks. They don’t stay paired up if I fold them.

    And I ABSOLUTELY draw the line at thanking my stuff and telling it goodbye. Puh-LEEZE!!! LOL!

    I got a lot of good ideas from the book, just as you say.

    • Spire

      Actually, I “like” the concept of “thanking” some objects sometimes… for teaching me that I never really wanted or need you in the first place! ; )

  • NonnaBAC

    Book was life changing for me! I like the ” once and for all ” I used to believe in that 15 minutes a day will keep clutter away.. Never happened. I took the time (6months) to work hard. I too like focusing on What to keep vs what to throw away. LIKED working in categories. No I did not put all my books on floor. But I went through every book in my house. Took me a week but now books are organized ONCE AND FOR ALL. I liked asking DOES THIS BRING ME JOY? ( of course on important things not potato peelers). Surprised myself that I could give away sentimental things. That was my greatest weakness..I did take a picture of item so I have the memory but not the physical item. LIKED the idea of putting items in drawers like files instead of piles.
    Yes there are some “whoo whoo” things in book. Mostly cultural things.. For example : greeting your house when you get home and I just don’t get the sock folding thing vs. balls.
    Yes I agree with Gretchen. One must do what is right for oneself. That is what I did with Marie.

  • Cheryl Antao-Xavier

    Loved your reader’s suggestion regarding keep only ‘books to be read/reread in the next 20 years’ perspective. Time is precious, reading time is invaluable. Books were my stalemate in KonMari-ing my life. I recently did a clear out and found so many books I had to rethink reshelving because they were ‘should/ought to’ read, fiction-once-loved, classics from my long ago school days, gifts with personal inscriptions and way too many author signed (I’m a publisher) and on and on. Books I felt obliged to keep. Many books I hung on to so I might pass on to others including my kids who’d find them interesting like I did. My kids inform me that they read whatever they ‘need to’ on some audio-enabled digital device. The thrift stores and libraries are more likely to put good book and reader together. BTW: Thank you, Gretchen, for two years of finding ‘happiness’ with your book and now this blog.

  • Happy Gal

    I loved her book but need to do it WITH someone and not all in one day (though I totally get how if you do a lot at once, you get on a roll and it is quicker and easier). I had a friend sit with me while I took out all my clothes: if felt like, “as if I had died”, that was all I could do the first day. Then I got stuck. A friend who had done it came over for 15 minutes and helped me get through deciding on the whole mound in 15 minutes! I did have a “maybe” pile and I did have some work pants that felt practical but lets face it, grey work pants don’t really spark joy but they DO go with lots of tops that do spark joy. Then another day I sorted through my “maybe clothes pile” with my husband; since he knows me, he could say, “Nah that never looked good on you,” or “Yeah I like that one” and I went with that. Then I did jewelry a few months later, then books, then my music collection: for each category, I needed a friend to be with me for at least part of the time, and then I could keep going on my own, and always with some maybes left that my husband would help me make a final decision on…And never did the category all in one day, but I do love the aspect of piling the whole category in one place. Now I am up to “paper files” and they are piled in a somewhat inconvenient place (but not super inconvenient), again I got a friend over to help me for a half hour as this was the hardest category so far, i still have the other half to go. What is nice about piling them up is there is NO WAY I would ever put it all back without sorting through it. So far of the files I’ve done, I’ve gotten rid of 90%, amazing. I also tackled my attic this summer and decluttered 16 boxes of work-related stuff and got it down to 7 boxes that I truly want, which is not exactly Konmari but similar. Hope to do our “kitchen stuff” soon but that involves appointments with my husband, hard to get! I will continue to go through Konmari-ing my stuff (miscellany? momentos?) over the next year or so until I am done, but in my own way (connected to people, and each category over several sittings). Best of luck to all of us as we “take what we like and leave the rest”, out of the wisdom of different sages who write these self-help books!

    • Turtlepea

      Marie herself recommends doing it over a six month period, (or whatever is needed) not all in one day.

  • Bjørg

    There are reasons why we gather, and keep, things. Different reasons to all of us. I felt overwhelmed and in loss for enough energy to do something about it for a very long time, untill I came across “40 bags in 40 days”. To me that was a wonderful experience, which deliberated me in more than one way. I wrote about the experience on my blog, and I got a lot of feedback telling me it worked for many others too.

  • Ann

    I love her folding strategy and don’t find it at all a chore to continue. I find it so practical and helpful. You can see everything in your drawer. No more digging and making a mess looking for one particular shirt. I also agree with her strategy of doing everything at once. Without that, I always felt that I was just moving stuff from one place to another.

    • Spire

      Great feedback!

  • Cmac3

    I loved the folding part. I thought no way never, but my son tried it and was a believer. So I decided to empty my drawers, sort and fold. Now I fold the Konmari way right out of the dryer. Cleaner and les wrinkles for sure. Also used the up arrow for my closet. Much easier getting dressed in the dark!

  • Rowena List

    As a Professioanl Organizer I have to agree with you. My clients are so overwhelmed that I know for sure we could not use her methods.
    As for your purse…. use my pouches purse organizer and that way your purse stays organized.
    It’s about good habits, knowing yourself and execution and for sure having a coach on your side. Most of us ladies don’t even go to the ladies room alone. There is a reason for this. We love being around each other. That being said, you must pick the right person to help you downsize.

  • Alice Taylor

    I can’t believe that reviews don’t highlight the immense and environmentally irresponsible wastefulness she promotes! Its horrible! The first thing I noticed reading this was the way she counts “bin bags” that she and others throw out as rubbish. At one point she says “to throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful”. I was really looking forward to reading this book, but I just can’t get past her complacency about making perfectly good things into rubbish. In this day and age, with the human population blossoming and natural resources diminishing, people who have more than they need ought to share, not make it the end of a products life when it no longer serves them. What about donating things to charity shops, and bringing joy to others less fortunate than you? So grossed-out

  • Turtlepea

    I read the book, I thought it sounded strict, I thought it was very harsh, extreme, a lot of work, and that some of it wouldn’t work for me. Yet I tried it, I thanked my stuff for its service and sent it on its way if I no longer wanted it, I folded my socks, I worked on things by category (not by room or drawer), I lost the guilt about presents, i checked and rechecked my joy meter, I joined online konmari groups and I even emptyied my handbag every day. You know what – it really was life changing. The sense of freedom and space and joy that filled my home and my body was incredible. I am so glad I did it. Like you, at first, I was going to cherry pick from the book the bits I liked and leave behind the rest, but I chose not to – I chose to try it and do it completely. It was only later that I cherry picked, because living exactly by somebody else’s rules won’t work entirely, and I knew that would be the case from the beginning, but without trying it all, completely, I wouldn’t have known what was worth cherry picking. I now know exactly what part of her method does and doesn’t work for me because I tried it. The most upsetting thing about reading all these comments is that most people never tried it. The surprisng thing is, the things I thought just would not be happening (thanking stuff and emptying handbag are two examples) turned out to be the biggest and best parts of the method for me. I am so thankful that I embraced this, it was life changing and it was magic. I agree with your sentiments about there never being only one right answer, but I also know that embracing things and reserving judgement can yield you many new discoveries, that might even shock you!

  • Priscilla Nunes

    I really love you and your books Gretchen, but here I feel you steped out your field. As someone Who really has to deal with hoarding (and not with some extra stuff like most people) the Mary Kondo book was the only one with tips who really made a difference in my life exactly for offer a strategy that works without put to much focus on “my way” — If “my way” worked, I was not a hoarder. I felt that this Review was much more about to say that your last book is the right stuff, than about the efficience of Marie Kondo aprouch.

  • Anna Wegner

    I have to admit that I didn’t read the book. I had seen various things about it online, and found myself rolling my eyes at the “spark joy” concept. I do have some things I keep for sentimental reasons, but don’t generally see possessions as an emotional investment. That process of holding each thing and thinking about how it makes you feel sounds exhausting to me.

    I was curious and checked it out from the library. I didn’t make it past the first chapter. I tend to be more minimalist than average, and moving to various 3rd world countries, I’ve had to go through decluttering and giving away.

    I do agree that the same approach doesn’t work for everyone. When I need a strategy for something, I would rather see a variety of choices, and make a rational decision about what works for me than be told “this is the one way to do it.”

  • Anette

    Hmm…are you not just using the well-known Marie Kondo to promote your own stuff?

  • Marilyn Taleon

    So much wasted time folding! I prefer to hang most items, with the exception of “intimates”. As you said, it’s what works for ME!

  • Opal

    I understand your hesitancy and the questions. I had the same. For me some of the ideas were insane. I wish there was a way for you to keep life as it is, and in a parallel universe you could try out the ideas. Bit by bit I discovered when I put my own doubt aside and tried it. EVERY time her ideas have profoundly shifted my reality and that of my family in a surprisingly big way, and always for the positive. I understand the idea that we are all individuals. But there are also truths that go past individuality. Some things are universal for humans. But even Marie Kondo says if her way does not spark joy, do not do it.(which you left out from this post) But I find to read something and dismiss it(without actually trying it out) simply because it is out of your norm, is not knowing self. It is limiting self to preconceived notions of identity. I love your books and podcasts but this post seems like a big pitch for your books(all the links and mentions) while your dumping on something that is red hot. It seems popular to dump on Marie Kondo despite the fact you didn’t even seem to try it? I bet your still having to tidy every day right? Not me. Is your evening tidy up still essential? Her book was a cure to that. But obviously you prefer to tidy up daily then find a way to live clutter free. You do not seem to want what she was providing the solution too? But I guess a wealthy woman in New York City has the time, money and energy to spend cleaning daily and tending to her attachments with great single mindedness. Wasn’t it part of your happiness project to not gossip? To be one of the joyful ones who need shielding? This post seems desperate and not true to your own resolutions. Very disapointing.. I wonder what St Therese of Leisure would think?

  • opal

    You deleted my post!? Really? That is sad.

    • opal

      I guess you are not the person you pretend to be. 🙁

      • opal

        Hahahah….Sort by Newest 🙂 Silly! MY MISTAKE! 🙂

  • Spire

    Did you try it yet? It can be life changing.

  • AmethystOracle

    I do agree that there are items that probably can’t spark joy but should be kept – laundry detergent, batteries, aspirin, but the spark joy test is wonderful for items we might keep for the wrong reasons.

    I understand why you advocate for doing “what works for you” and “knowing yourself” but the inherent problem there is that if you are reading the book it is likely you have a clutter issue and the approach that works for you or you know you will be something you like might not work. Be yourself is great if things are working well.