The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - The Abridged Version


The cause of disorganized mess is not lack of skills but rather the lack of awareness and the inability to make tidying a regular habit.


Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.


As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you’ll see what your true values are.

  • Don't focus on reducing or on efficient storage methods. focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy and on enjoying life according to your own standards

  • Tidying is a way of taking stock that shows us what we really like

  • Letting go is more important than adding


The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which objects are moved from one place to another. It involves putting things away where they belong - giving them a home.

  • The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for everything

  • The existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again

  • Decide where your things belong and when you are finished using them, put them there


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.

  • Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding


The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.

  • We should be choosing what we want to keep, not want we went to get rid of

  • The trick is to handle each item and decide whether keeping it will make you happy, whether it will bring you joy

  • Do not be distracted by thoughts of being wasteful

  • Consider carefully why you have that specific item in the first place

  • Do not keep a gift because it was a gift


Not every person you meet in life will become a close friends or lover. some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more.


In addition to the physical value of things, there are four other factors that add value to our belongings:

  • Function : things that could still be used

  • Information : things that contain helpful info

  • Emotional attachment : sentimental ties

  • Rarity: items that are hard to obtain or replace


Storage :

  • Round shapes take up too much room and create wasted space.

  • Storage methods should be as simple as possible

  • Use what you have - to be organized you don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money on “organizational tools”


In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.



Best sequence to discarding is :

  1. Clothing

    • break the habit of downgrading clothes that don’t thrill you to loungewear

    • the key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat

    • recommended folding whatever clothing you can. hang clothes that look like they’d be happier hung

    • fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth, rectangle
      -pick up one short end of the rectangle and fold it toward the other short end. fold it again in the same manner, in halves or in thirds so that the folded clothing when standing on edge fits the height of the drawer

    • hang clothes in the same category side by side

    • arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right
      -hang heavy items in the left side of the closet

  2. Books

    • get rid of unread books…”sometime” means never

    • the information they contain has meaning, not the book itself

    • no need to “finish” reading a book you only got ½ way through

    • keep your collection small

  3. Papers (NOT those with sentimental value)

    • dispose of anything that does not fall into three categories: currently in use/needs attention, needed for limited period of time/ should be saved (contractual documents), or must be kept indefinitely/should be saved.

    • keep all papers in one spot, never let them spread throughout the house

    • the “needs attention” box should be empty. if there are papers in it it means you have left things undone that require your attention.

    • throw away manuals, if an electronic breaks you will look online or contact the place of purchase.

  4. Komono (miscellany)

    • cds, dvds, makeup/products, valuables (IDs, passports…) electrical equipment/appliances, household equipment, kitchen goods/food supplies…

    • discard gifts that don’t suit your taste. Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. You do not need to feel guilty for parting with a gift.

    • cosmetic samples are only intended to last a few weeks up to one year, their quality deteriorates faster.

    • discard/recycle the box your electronics come in as soon as you unpack it.

    • mysterious cords will always remain that - a mystery
      -keep only the cords you can clearly identify and get rid of the rest

    • Discard any and all broken appliances

    • sew spare buttons into the lining of the garment when you first buy it

    • discard free novelty goods, none of them are going to bring you pleasure

  5. Mementos and sentimental items

    • truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them.

    • people never retrieve the boxes they send home. once sent they will never again be opened.

    • if you just stow these items away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. to put your things in order means to put your past in order

    • it's not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure