Can Tidying Up Change Your Life?

Followers of the KonMari Method say it can drastically change your life. So, we gave it a try.

One woman, using vacuum cleaner for cleaninig her house, singing and dancing.
(Image credit: This content is subject to copyright.)

Can a strategy for decluttering change your life? Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant and author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press), claims that it can, and many of her fans agree.

Next, I tackled books, which proliferate in our home like mushrooms after a rain. Kondo says the most common reason to keep a book is that you might read or study it again someday, and she points out—rightly, in my experience—that that’s unlikely. She says there is no meaning in books just sitting “dormant” on your shelves. As she suggested, I asked myself, Does this book fall into my “personal Book Hall of Fame”? In a few hours, I let go of 98 books—many that had collected dust for years—that we will donate for someone else to enjoy. I even identified a few titles (using that may have value in the used-book market.

I haven’t lost any weight, but I do feel somewhat lighter. And I plan to apply the KonMari Method to the rest of my family’s belongings.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.