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  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  • The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
  • Written by: Marie Kondo
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (897 ratings)

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Written by: Marie Kondo
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
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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

What the critics say

"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 listeners say about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worst book ever made me clean for 5 days straight

I always been a messy person and I thought I lived a great life in my mess but then I decided to listen to this book and it made clean for like 5 days straight now my apartment looks amazing and I feel great but I hate cleaning and now I feel like I have to do it all the time. Horrible. What kind of life is this.

38 people found this helpful

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Great book, not great narration

I'd love to have a better narration of this book available. The content is fantastic and I strongly feel is something everyone should read!

30 people found this helpful

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Really Insightful

After getting through this book, you'll wonder why anyone would ever live in a house full of cluttered junk. The lessons in this book are easy to apply and are explained clearly.

Two thumbs up.

12 people found this helpful

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Unexpectedly Helpful

I got this book on a bit of a whim, not entirely sure why; I'm a 20 something male university student, and while cleanliness is nice to me, it's not exactly high on the priority list if I'm honest.

This got me to care however; it went into depth on why tidying is important, how it effect you and most importantly, how to take some of the hard steps needed to be tidy. Even if you're not someone who normally likes self-help, 'how to be more organzied' sort of books, this still comes highly recommended. As someone who's not in that camp myself, it was helpful to me.


#Audible1

11 people found this helpful

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so monotone

I was excited for this after seeing Marie Kondo on her Netflix special but this was so disappointing. He sunny personality did not shine through and at times seemed judgmental and rude. The narrator was so, so monotone and at times robotic. It was tough to listen to. The content that provided information was good however, getting through it is the issue...

5 people found this helpful

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monotone, but

The narration can seem a bit flat, but somewhat suited to the type of book.

4 people found this helpful

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Narrator does not spark joy

Wanted to be inspired to declutter while listening to this book but couldn't get past the nasal, world-weary deadpan of the narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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Great book - horrible narration

This book carries a great set of tools for letting go of your stuff and simplifying. The author shares stories of how she's helped clients reduce and get rid of stuff we are all holding onto. I laughed out loud a few times - she's so right why are we keeping our old credit card statements :-) But the narration...is darn right horrible. At one point I was thinking maybe it was computer generated. Narration of any audible book is key - a tolerable voice is key. UGH.

3 people found this helpful

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Life changing if you want it to be

As I grow older I cant but help start to think that some very difficult tasks are always much easier than they seem. Cleaning and the possessions I keep are now one of those things. You have a bunch of stuff and keep some items because you think you may need them when you do not. Keep what you truly enjoy and discard the things you do not. If there ever was a time you would read that book for example, you would have etc.

1 person found this helpful

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Very Good Read!

I really liked this book, it touched on all the categories that would need attention in someone's home. I did find the idea of treating my home and belongings with respect and care as if they have feelings very strange. I'll probably keep rolling my socks and I won't be saying hello and goodbye to my house lol.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 2015-02-22

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.

1,527 people found this helpful

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  • LuckyMe
  • 2015-01-13

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!

547 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Guaraldi
  • 2015-02-27

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.

420 people found this helpful

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  • Mel
  • 2015-07-30

Thank You Rug, Thank you Shoes, Goodnight Moon


I think this is a comedy; I'm still not sure. Perhaps the origin of Jimmy Fallon's Thank You Notes. Either that or the case of an OCD person with a cleaning fetish. The author has made a living out of sharing her organizational practices, which she says she began pre-kindergarten, and I imagine it goes over best with other OCD individuals that like to talk to teapots and toothbrushes also.

If this is a serious self-help book (I'd suggest Prozac or Cognitive Behavior Therapy first, and perhaps a housekeeper), Kondo will have you replacing your gratitude journal with necessary volumes as you go through your day animating that which is inanimate--giving thanks to everything you touch, see, or wear. ["Thank you bra for holding up my breasts...."]

The central idea is to attack all at once. Clean out your closet by putting ALL of your clothes which may be located throughout the house (search through those boxes, attics, ironing piles, etc.) into one location and go through them: blouses in one pile, slacks in another, and so on (there goes my entire upper floor). Discard what "no longer brings you pleasure," thank it for its service, "thank you flannel mid-calf skirt from my mother-in-law" and get rid of it. The author almost guarantees that once you do this *simple* approach, you will never have clutter again. I can guarantee I will. I hate ironing; I hate emptying the dishwasher, I hate washing windows, I have 22 pairs of black pants I'm keeping, and unless Cinderella's crafty little mice and birds show up to take over those chores, I'll have clutter, and more black pants. She does this with EVERYTHING in your house, including your junk drawer, spare change, lint. No more jars filled with pennies...that is disrespectful to the money--and there goes my ashtray jammed with change, the old pickle jar full of money in the kitchen, and what about my book of state quarters?

The day I come home, walk in the door, and say "thank you table for giving me a place to put my purse," "thank you jacket for keeping me warm and protecting me from the elements," commit me. I want to come home and kick off my shoes (don't care where they land), throw my jacket over a chair, drop my purse where I stand and say, "Thank you dirty clothes for washing yourselves," "Thank you bed for changing your own sheets," "Thank you food for being cooked and on the table." Now that is Life-Changing Magic.

*I did learn to fold my clothes so they stand up...but I had to actually listen to the author tell me first to "listen to the item of clothing, it will tell you how it wants to be folded." Mine said it wanted to lay on the floor until I needed it next. Pass--better to be a sane slob.

359 people found this helpful

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  • Christina
  • 2015-06-23

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.

319 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathleen W Gilday
  • 2015-01-09

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!!

230 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • tamarind25
  • 2015-02-24

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.

229 people found this helpful

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  • Debra Garfinkle
  • 2015-04-08

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.

226 people found this helpful

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  • jillan
  • 2018-01-16

This should've been a magazine article.

What would have made The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up better?

By the time you get thru 2 chapters your entire house could've been spic and span & you still wouldn't have learned anything new.
All she says is - Throw things away. Imagine how you want your room to look. Then clean it. Put things away. Think about your loved ones having to clean your house out after you die & make decisions based on that.

I just saved you one credit & hours of your life.

What could Marie Kondo have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Written a one page magazine article rather than saying the same thing over and over again to make it a book.
People don't care that she wanted to clean her room instead of studying.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emily Woo Zeller?

Anyone who could make a point rather than rambling on and on.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger at myself for wasting my time listening.

146 people found this helpful

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  • A Reader
  • 2015-05-19

This is a very weird book.

There are some good tips in here -- but mostly it is a philosophy: Only surround yourself with what you love and get rid of everything else. Seems sound enough, but Kondo is very into stuff like thanking your belongings, coming home and thanking your home for taking care of you, talking to your belongings, making them feel wanted, stroking them, even when not in use, opening drawers of stuff you aren't using and stroking the stuff so it doesn't feel left out. One may choose to think of this metaphorically (she's not, believe me -- but you could), but even so, the consumerist message is so underscored, it's a little ridiculous. Consumerism as enlightenment. Ownership and adoration of things as the way to spirituality and life change. I get enough of that from advertisements.

141 people found this helpful