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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (26,400 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo's clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house "spark joy" (and which don't), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo's newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home-and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

©2014 Marie Kondo (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Ms. Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic." (The New York Times)

"Narrator Emily Woo Zeller captures the voice of author Marie Kondo so perfectly that it's as if the Japanese de-cluttering guru is speaking in person." (AudioFile)

What members say

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I both love and hate this life changing book

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

At one point this woman tells the reader that they will love folding. I have a clean laundry basket and a dirty laundry basket, and i always have, because i hate folding. When i first listened to the narrator tell me this I audibly laughed. Absurd! Well 2 weeks later, I am finished with the clothes, books, and papers section of her guide and I just realized I didnt dread folding my clothes this weekend... I refuse to say that I love folding but saying that I dont dread/hate it is a huge step. I am so annoyed that she is right, and so happy to have amazing drawers.

I would describe my entire experience of the book like this. I am so annoyed with whatever she is saying and yet I want to do everything she is saying and in the end every step of hers that I have followed has been revolutionary for my life.

How annoyingly wonderful.

1,318 of 1,356 people found this review helpful

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Definitely one of the best books on the subject

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have well over 100 books in my Audible library now, and while I came across several really excellent ones, this was the one that compelled me to write a review for the first time. I would definitely recommend this to a friend and have done so already. It is a fascinating listen. The author approaches such a mundane task as tidying with such passion, creativity and inspiration that I am absolutely amazed. I loved her very last chapter as well, where she points out that if you (the reader) pour as much passion into what you do, the results will surpass all expectations. It felt to me that Marie Kondo uses "tidying" as therapy sessions. I have finished her book in two long commutes during this cold and snowy Chicago winter. It was perfect, not too intense and yet so much to think about - my own home, things I possess and why. One other very interesting thing to me was that being a Japanese she describes how things are in Japanese households. I have travelled to Japan many times and I know that Japanese houses are much smaller than those in the US on average. Thus it was very fascinating how the author addressed the need for storing things in a Japanese home.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

Her approach to life - surround yourself with things (and people for that matter) that "spark joy" - so easy, yet makes so much sense.

Any additional comments?

I also loved the narrator. She did a superb job especially pronouncing Japanese words. Oftentimes narrators butcher foreign words, but Emily did a fantastic job. I enjoyed this listen a lot!

496 of 532 people found this review helpful

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This book brings me joy!!

As a person burdened with the possessions of a seven person household (and a pooch), I finally can see my way past the clutter and on to a "tidier" life. (By the way, I despise the word "de-clutter"... now it's "tidying up"!) The simplistic yet profound methods & thought processes introduced in this book have finally inspired me, not overwhelmed me. It was presented in a manner I could understand and relate to. I have started with my own clothes (first!!) and will continue with MY possesssions BEFORE I attempt to tidy-up my family. I feel freedom already. Thanks Marie Kondo!!

200 of 223 people found this review helpful

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Life-changing Indeed

I listened to this book several months ago-- twice. It's short and entertaining and easy to follow. Most importantly, it's changed my life. In the last few months, I've decluttered my bedroom closet, linen closet, hall closet, dresser drawers, bathroom, bookshelves, junk drawer, and office. Next up are the kitchen and garage. I feel so much better with my possessions winnowed down and organized. The book really has brought me joy.

196 of 220 people found this review helpful

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Robot voice

There were some interesting points in here.
Some of it seems more of a "sounds good in theory" but doesn't sound realistic in practice. I also feel the author fosters a culture of waste. Advising to just throw everything away and buy it again if you ever need it again.
Also the narrator sounded like a text to speech program at times. If not text to speech, than the overhead voice at the airport.

51 of 57 people found this review helpful

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Inspirational

Book exceeded my expectations. At long last I can let go of "things ". I have more time to do the things that add joy to my life. I no longer have to spend hours trying to find items in the house which were hidden by clutter. My blood pressure has improved. Life-Changing is an understatement!

87 of 99 people found this review helpful

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Okay Concepts but Horribly Written and Narrated

Narration is almost as if read by a computer program with random bursts of emphasis. Writing is self-absorbed and redundant about a simple subject. The concepts of this book, although extremely helpful, can be summarized onto one sheet of paper, and this book is an obvious money-grab typical of the modern guru-giddy world.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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A lot of silly advice with one or two gems

Some of the things Kondo suggests are pretty ridiculous and impractical- that said the biggest two take aways for me were don't keep anything that doesn't bring you joy and try to tidy up all at once, in one great effort- otherwise you'll be trying to tidy up for life. I enjoyed the narration and even the silly things were so out there as to be entertaining (like, don't roll up socks into angry balls, let them rest and, talk to your objects and thank them for service). Kondo really believes objects are alive in some sense and encourages us to act as if they are (are my purses happy to be stored here?) A few parts sounded like Things an OCD person would do (NEVER keep shampoo bottles in the bath area, always store them in cupboard and clean bottle everytime after use, NEVER buy in bulk, immediately throw out any overstock even if it seems wasteful). Unfortunately the silly advice was more plentiful than the practical so I have to give it three stars.

198 of 231 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Life changing

Immediately something clicked and within one day I was real easing clutter and wanting to put things away when normally I would avoid this task or blame others for leaving their stuff everywhere! I loved her insights. She is much more professionally skilled and gifted and experienced than any other organizer I've read or heard. I love this book as an audio book. The readers voice is soothing and I was able to happily go about tidying as I listened loved this audio book!

108 of 126 people found this review helpful

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This Should Have Been a Magazine Article

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think someone who doesn't mind repetition and little substance would enjoy this book. There really isn't a lot there, and it was pretty disappointing. Also, if you'd like to follow the advise in this book, you will need to have the luxury of being able to dispose of large quantities of items at once. The author describes many clients who disposed of 20+ trash bags. If you are only allotted a certain amount of trash/recycling per week, you may have trouble following the guidance from this book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Marie Kondo again?

I would never listen to anything by Marie Kondo again. I feel like the author doesn't really have a lot of respect for people. She seems obsessed with things, tidying things, and disposing of things. Let me give you a few examples. In one anecdote, Kondo writes about going through her family member's belongings and disposing of items she thought they didn't need anymore. If someone noticed this was happening and confronted her, she lied to them about it. In another story, she talks about tidying up her own stuff and pushing off the clothes she didn't want to her sister so she wouldn't have to throw them away.

In another anecdote, Kondo made fun of one of her clients who had a large amount of toilet paper (unused) store in her house. She mentioned the reason the client had so much toilet paper is because she had bathroom-related health issues. The author then laughed about it and wrote that her client would wipe herself raw if she used all of the toilet paper. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't hire someone who treats her clients this way by making fun of them.

I think the worst issue of all I had with this book as that there was about 3.5 hours of the author repeating that you keep only items that bring you joy and dispose of everything else. The other hour is devoted to how to fold your clothes properly, making fun of clients, removing stickers from storage units, and her obsession over finding the best way to be tidy.

Would you be willing to try another one of Emily Woo Zeller’s performances?

I didn't really mind Zeller's voice, but I felt like she was reading this book with an air of arrogance.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

If I could, I would have cut out the endless repetition of keeping the items that only bring you joy and disposing of everything else. This book honestly had enough substance to be a magazine article at best.

Any additional comments?

Save your money and time and get a different audiobook.

406 of 482 people found this review helpful