Notes & Quotes: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The following are my favorite quotes from Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing:
  1. Start by discarding.  Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.
  2. Putting their house in order positively affects all other aspects of their lives, including work and family.
  3. A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.  It is life transforming.
  4. When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.  As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don't, and what you should and shouldn't do.
  5. They are surrounded only by the things they love.
  6. Success is 90 percent dependent on our mind-set.
  7. Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person wants to live with.
  8. In Japan, people believe that things like cleaning your room and keeping your bathroom spick-and-span bring good luck, but if your house is cluttered, the effect of polishing the toilet bowl is going to be limited.  The same is true for the practice of feng shui.  It is only when you put your house in order that your furniture and decorations come to life.
  9. Once you have experienced what it's like to have a truly ordered house, you'll feel your whole world brighten.  Never again will you revert to clutter.
  10. If you put your house in order properly, you'll be able to keep your room tidy, even if you are lazy or sloppy by nature.
  11. Tidy a little a day and you'll be tidying forever.
  12. People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.
  13. The ultimate secret of success is this: If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set. This approach is the key to preventing rebound.
  14. Tidying in the end is just a physical act.  The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it.  If you can do these two things, you can achieve perfection.
  15. When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.  You can see any issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them.  From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life.  As a result, your life will start to change.
  16. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.
  17. Tidying must start with discarding.  We need to exercise self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished identifying what we really want and need to keep.
  18. Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.
  19. Tidying is a special event.  Don't do it every day.
  20. Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely.
  21. The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart.  The same impact can never be achieved if the process is gradual.  To achieve a sudden change like this, you need to use the most efficient method of tidying.
  22. Tidy in the right order.
  23. Be sure to completely finish the first task before starting the next.
  24. Before you start, visualize your destination.
  25. The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.
  26. Selection criterion: Does it spark joy?
  27. We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
  28. Keep only those things that speak to your heart.  Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.  By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.
  29. One category at a time.
  30. Don't start selecting and discarding by location.
  31. Repetition and wasted effort can kill motivation, and therefore it must be avoided.
  32. Before choosing what to keep, collect everything that falls within the same category at one time.  Take every last item out and lay everything in one spot.
  33. Starting with mementos spells certain failure.
  34. Things that bring back memories, such as photos, are not the place for beginners to start.  Not only is the sheer volume of items in this category usually greater than that of any other, but it is also far harder to make a decision about whether or not to keep them.
  35. The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.
  36. Don't let your family see.
  37. To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn't tidy.
  38. The urge to point out someone else's failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.
  39. What you don't need, your family doesn't either.
  40. We need to show consideration for others by helping them avoid the burden of owning more than they need or can enjoy.
  41. The best time to start is early morning.  The fresh morning air keeps your mind clear and your power of discernment sharp.
  42. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
  43. As long as you are choosing the clothes that give you pleasure, you'll be left with the amount you need.
  44. Break the habit of downgrading clothes that don't thrill you to loungewear.
  45. By neatly folding your clothes, you can solve almost every problem related to storage.
  46. Folding is really a form of dialogue with our wardrobe.
  47. To go through life without knowing how to fold is a huge loss.
  48. Store things standing up rather than laid flat.
  49. It is not the number of folds but rather the amount of pressure applied to cause wrinkling.
  50. Fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle.
  51. The most basic rule is to hang clothes in the same category side by side, dividing your closet into a jacket section, a suit section, and so on.  Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type.
  52. Arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right.
  53. Treat your socks and stockings with respect.
  54. Never, ever ball up your socks.
  55. The custom of storing seasonal clothes is behind the times.
  56. It is much harder to choose books when they are still on the shelf.
  57. Once you have piled your books, take them in your hand one by one and decide whether you want to keep or discard each one.  The criterion is, of course, whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it.
  58. Unread books -- "sometime" means "never."
  59. When deciding which books to keep, forget about whether you think you'll read it again or whether you've mastered what's inside.  Instead, take each book in your hand and decide whether it moves you or not.
  60. "Sometime" never comes.
  61. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven't read it by now, the book's purpose was to teach you that you didn't need it.
  62. It will be far better for you to read the book that really grabs you right now than one you left to gather dust for years.
  63. Only by discarding it will you be able to test how passionate you are about that subject.  If your feelings don't change after discarding it, then you're fine as is.  If you want the book so badly after getting rid of it that you're willing to buy another copy, then buy one -- and this time read it and study it.
  64. My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away.
  65. I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period or time, or must be kept indefinitely.
  66. Make sure that you keep all such papers in one spot only.  Never let them spread to other parts of the house.
  67. If the content is not put into practice, such courses are meaningless.  A seminar's value begins the moment we start attending, and the key to extracting the full value is putting what we learn there into practice the moment the course ends.
  68. Presents are not "things" but a means for conveying someone's feelings.  The person who gave it to you doesn't want you to use it out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it.  When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.
  69. If you see a cord and wonder what on earth it's for, chances are you'll never use it again.
  70. No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past.  The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.
  71. That's right.  By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past.
  72. It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.  This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them.  The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not the person we were in the past.
  73. Leave photos for last.  If you start sorting photos before you have honed your intuitive sense of what brings you joy, the whole process will spin out of control and come to a halt.
  74. There is only one way to sort photos, and you should keep in mind that it takes a little time.  The correct method is to remove all your photos from their albums and look at them one by one.  Those who protest that this is far too much work are people who have never truly sorted photos.  Photographs exist only to show a specific event or time.  For this reason, they must be looked at one by one.  When you do this, you will be surprised at how clearly you can tell the difference between those that touch your heart and those that don't.  As always, only keep the ones that inspire joy.
  75. I highly recommend that you get rid of excess stock all at once.  Give it away to friends who need it, recycle it, or take it to a donation shop.  You may think this is a waste of money, but reducing your stock and relieving yourself of the burden of excess is the quickest and most effective way to put your things in order.
  76. By paring down to the volume that you can properly handle, you revitalize your relationship with your belongings.
  77. Designate a place for each thing.
  78. The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again.
  79. Round shapes take up too much room and create wasted space, which makes them unsuitable for storage.
  80. If you live with your family, first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member.
  81. Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.
  82. When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house.
  83. Never pile things: vertical storage is key.
  84. Never hang on to them in the belief that you might use them someday.
  85. Empty your bag every day.
  86. Items that usurp floor space belong in the closet.
  87. The bath is the most humid place in the house, which obviously makes it the most unsuitable place for storing anything.
  88. A counter is for preparing food, not for storing things.
  89. Make the top shelf of your bookcase your personal shrine.
  90. One theme underlying my method of tidying is transforming the home into a sacred space, a power spot filled with pure energy.
  91. Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure.
  92. People commonly assume that it is cheaper to buy things in bulk when on sale.  But I believe the opposite is true.  If you consider the cost of storage, it is just as economical to keep these things in the store, not in your home.
  93. If you are going to buy clothes, choose them with the intention of welcoming them into your home and caring for them.  When you buy them, remove the tags immediately.  In order for your clothes to make the transition from store products to personal possessions, you need to perform the ritual of cutting the "umbilical cord" that links them to the store.
  94. A deluge of information whenever you open a closet door makes a room feel "noisy."
  95. By eliminating excess visual information that doesn't inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.
  96. If we treated all things we use in our daily life, whether it is our computer, our handbag, our our pens and pencils, with the same care that athletes give to their equipment, we could greatly increase the number of dependable "supporters" in our lives.  The act of possessing is a very natural part of our daily life, not something reserved for some special match or contest.
  97. Caring for your possessions is the best way to motivate them to support you, their owner.  When you treat your belongings well, they will always respond in kind.
  98. At their core, the things we really like do not change over time.  Putting your house in order is a great way to discover what they are.
  99. Tidying is a way of taking stock that shows us what we really like.
  100. Letting go is even more important than adding.
  101. The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered.
  102. Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it.  By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills.
  103. When we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future.
  104. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
  105. The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful.  It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past.
  106. The average amount discarded by a single person is easily twenty to thirty 45-liter bags, and for a family of three it's closer to seventy bags.
  107. Discarding those things that don't spark joy has no adverse effects whatsoever.
  108. Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.
  109. I believe that tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for those things that will be departing from the house, and therefore I dress accordingly.
  110. Greet your house every time you come home.
  111. In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.
  112. Tidying is our opportunity to express our appreciation to our home for all it does for us.
  113. Try putting your house in order from the perspective of what would make it happy.  You will be surprised at how smoothly the decision-making process goes.
  114. Because clutter has been eliminated, it's much easier to clean and therefore we do it more thoroughly.
  115. The philosophy of feng shui is really about living in accordance with the rules of nature.  The purpose of my approach to tidying is exactly the same.  The true purpose of tidying is, I believe, to live in the most natural state possible.
  116. When you examine things closely, you can begin to discern whether or not those things brings their owner joy.
  117. Things that are cherished shine.
  118. If you can say without a doubt, "I really like this!" no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.
  119. Your real life begins after putting your house in order.
  120. Human beings can only cherish a limited number of things at one time.