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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 (24,290 ratings)
Regular price: $25.19
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1,194 of 1,231 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!

438 of 473 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.

27 of 29 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!!

196 of 219 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.

191 of 214 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!

82 of 93 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.

23 of 26 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!

107 of 125 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.

188 of 221 people found this review helpful

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Don't fall victim to 5 star raters like me!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I was really looking for a book on the life-changing magic of tidying up and hoped to glean something new and useful as I am already a very organized person. The only thing we have in excess is Legos which are contained in one large tote. What I heard was an autobiography of Kondo's lifelong struggle to contain things and live like a minimalist. She describes in neurotic detail her life from kindergartner to present day her level of frustration that everybody around her isn't a neat freak.

In the end, she advises listeners to basically throw everything you aren't using or don't have deep and intense connection to. Be warned! If you follow her method you will have to re-buy or spend valuable time hunting down a like item that you threw away but now need.

If I don't have time to organize properly around a hectic schedule do I really have to time speak out loud to everyone of my inanimate belongings and thank them for their service to me? Absolutely ridiculous. If I had the time leisurely read a book and thank each page as I lovingly turned it I wouldn't need an audio service.

I feel the five star raters listened to a completely different book. I am shocked that people felt this book was life-changing or in any way practical. After hearing this book, my method, The Christina Method is perfect for me.I will learn to live with items I don't use everyday but are clearly labeled boxes in storage areas. This book preaches wastefulness and will wreak havoc on your time management.

What was most disappointing about Marie Kondo’s story?

This was very impractical for a busy single mom. I literally learned 2 helpful tips. The first was to store tshirts in drawers on their sides rather than stacked and to seconldy to store like handbags like nesting dolls.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The author is super-excited about tidying (which by the way, this book almost makes me despise that word because of the its overuse.) The narrator sounds like she was reading was forced to read the instruction manuals the author makes you throw away. Two starts for the Japanese pronunciations.

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

The details of her life exasperated life and she cleaned and cleaned and tidied and tidied like a thankless Cinderella.

Any additional comments?

Don't buy this book. Watch her free youtube videos instead that will show you how to organize and fold your messy drawers.

300 of 357 people found this review helpful