Why do five million people want to read a book about tidying up?

We’re drowning under stuff.

Too many clothes. Too many books. Piles of paperwork, momentos, gifts you feel too guilty to chuck, things you hate but keep ‘for a rainy day’.

You tell yourself “one day I will get around to fixing that/ starting that craft project / writing those cards / doing the last five years of my tax / consolidating my superannuation/ making my bed” and it never happens.

So a tiny Japanese woman called us out on it. And now she’s started the biggest cult movement since Thermomix.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up has to date sold five million copies, spawned a music album, a TV show, and countless blogs, Youtube channels and pinterest pages dedicated to the cult of what she calls the “Konmari” method.

And it’s all for what should probably be a common sense life skill: tidying up your shit.

We tackled this cult read in the book club podcast this week: and Gabe reckons she can sum the entire book up in LESS than a text message:

That is, if something ‘sparks joy’ in you, keep it.  If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

The full version of the book, detailed her methods, is astonishing. Marie Kondo claims to have a re-lapse rate of almost NIL. No-one relapses into the mucky pigsty they were living in before.

But there’s some weird bits, guys. You won’t have to drink the Kool-Aid, but you WILL have to do some crazy shit.


  • Thank your socks and your tights.  Apparently, we need to treat them with respect.
  • There’s a particular way to fold, too. And you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life.
  • You should talk to your handbag. Actually converse with it.
  • You also need to clean it out. Every night. *shudder*

And the part I CANNOT come to terms with:

  • When people give you gifts, chuck them.

It’s a highly controversial read, with at least one member of book club becoming indoctrinated into this cult, and another member actually standing up and hurling the book across the room. Not very tidy of them.


The full life-hack version of the podcast is here:

This book is about so much more than just tidying up.

It’s a tome to OCD tendencies and is the birth a career forged from a lack of social skills. We look at the moral highground that comes with minimalist living, and question the sustainability elements in this book.  And what of people that can’t afford to be so choosy, Konmari?  It seems so wasteful, but will it actually lead to better, more sustainable and appreciative living?

It’s a BRILLIANT read for all these reasons.

Download the full episode in itunes, and let me know if you’re a Konmari convert on our Mamamia podcasts’ FFacebook page.

And if you’re not sure how to download a podcast, try this video: