A Christian Review of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”


I doubt there are many people out there who haven’t at least heard of Marie Kondo’s book. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has been safely camped out on bestseller lists everywhere and has been translated into several languages. It has, what has been described as, a cult-like following. Kondo isn’t a Christian, so that cult-like following can make us believers a little leery of her wildly popular book.
We all know that just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good. I’d like to offer a Christian perspective on the “KonMari” Method so that you can make a wise decision about whether or not it would be a good resource for you.

What is it About?

Marie Kondo offers a new method of decluttering (which she named the “KonMari Method”) that she claims trumps all the other decluttering out there. Rather than going room-to-room or getting rid of items after a certain amount of time unused, she says to go by category. So, a master closet (for those of you blessed to have one 😉 ) shouldn’t be decluttered as a closet. Rather, you gather all of just one type of item at a time into one place and deal with it all once. She says to start with clothing, so every single sock you own gets piled on the floor. Then, you pick up each pair of socks and ask yourself one question. “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is yes, you keep it. If not, donate or trash it. It’s really that simple.

There is a specific order that Kondo insists is the best order for decluttering categories. She says to break down anything too big into smaller categories. According to Kondo, once you’ve decluttered all the way through the categories, all you do is maintain. There will be a perfect amount of stuff for each person, so she doesn’t insist on only keeping a set number of books, for example.

Once you’ve decluttered a category, you organize what’s left. She has some pretty specific ways to fold clothes and organize some things, which you might find helpful or you might roll your eyes at. Depends on your personality. 🙂

What About the New-Age Parts?

Here’s the tricky part. Kondo is very much into some new age ideas that are not at all compatible with Christian beliefs. She’s not a Christian and it would be unrealistic to expect her to think like one. I think the real question about whether or not a Christian should read her book is, “Is this Christian mature enough in their own faith to be able to discern the good from the bad?” Some Christians are perfectly capable of it, some would not be. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

To be honest, I’ve read many “Christian” books that were a convoluted mixture of Christianity and false religions that required far more discernment than Kondo’s book. Most mature Christians, going into it knowing that this lady isn’t a believer, would be just fine. That being said, if you were thinking about giving the book to a family member or friend who is already deceived by new age beliefs, I would’t recommend adding this book into the mix.

Can You KonMari without the Book?

I’ve known of several people who didn’t want to buy the book (either to save money or because it wasn’t written by a Christian) and they tried to declutter using the KonMari Method. I have yet to hear from anybody who did it this way with success. Although there’s a lot of new age beliefs in there, the book also has a lot of incredibly helpful details that make a difference in the process.

My answer to trying to KonMari without the book would be, you could try. Don’t expect the same results as you would have had with the book, though. I know that I would not have been nearly so thorough in the categories I’ve done if I hadn’t read the book.


My KonMari Experience

I will do a separate post on my own experience with the KonMari Method, but for this post I can tell you that I love the method. I love parts of the book. I love the results we’ve had. In every category we’ve done, we only have the things we really enjoy (either enjoy having or using for a result we enjoy) and it’s so refreshing! There are a few categories left that my hubby and I have to do together (tools and home renovation supplies), so we aren’t completely done. We’re so close, though, and our home has a completely different feel to it. Light and open and perfect for us.
Keep an eye out for a post about the details of our KonMari experience and be sure to check out my current series on getting out of survival mode! Decluttering has been a very important part of moving from surviving to flourishing.



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