Do you have a lot of stuff? Do you feel stressed by the mess in your home? Do these questions ring a bell within you? Then, you might either make a really good use of this review and the manga or you might have watched Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Either way, you might discover one or two new things in this review, which could be very useful to you.

Main topics of this manga
In short, it's about tidying up and about Marie Kondo’s mission to spark joy in the world through cleaning (and through the lovable short story of Chiaki, who wants to change her life).

My perspective
My first contact with Marie Kondo or her tidying up cult as I’d like to say, was indeed through the Netflix series which has in my opinion a more entertaining focus than actually being helpful to people who’d like to clean up or to declutter their stuff. For sure, you might learn a few things from the Netflix series by watching, but most of the parts could easily be skipped to only focus on the useful parts. In contrast, the manga (which I’m reviewing here) made actually the impression on me of being more helpful as some techniques were shown more in detail, but it also made me laugh at times as it was quite hilarious at looking at the mess of the main character. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel the like I was drowning in stuff or that at our home wasn’t tidy enough or anything like that, but it indeed helped to declutter a bit and to organize some things in a more useful way.
I might have adapted some techniques - others not - but overall, I think this manga might be able to help others to get started. I picked up this manga by chance, while visiting a local bookstore after watching the series on Netflix and thought to me: Why not? I could at least look/read into the manga and get some useful information out of it – which I’m quite glad I did.

Reading experience

The Konmari method

  • How to tidy up love, work and daily life

Quite a promising title the manga starts off with… lol ;)

While reading this manga for the first time, I had to laugh quite often at the characters in the manga or about specific scenes as I could either relate to them or because they seemed so extraordinary and unrealistic. Either way, I was a fun read for sure. The book is divided into 10 manga chapters, which are followed by a little summary of the important points for tidying up according to the Marie Kondo method aka the Konmari Method. The story follows the fictional character Chiaki, who lives in a quite messy home and decides that she needs to change something in her life. So, she books Marie Kondo to help her with cleaning up. Little did she know… Now, I just reread the manga in purpose to write this review as I was already thinking during my first read, that this might be fun to review. (And helpful to others, too!)

The story itself is not the best ever made, but it’s for sure enjoyable enough to stick to it and it serves it’s purpose for sure to help others and possibly to show them how to tidy up their belongings.

Sidenote: I read the German translation of the book, while reviewing it here in English. As I don’t know the Japanese version there might be subtle differences in the language, but the overall message/content is the same.

Characters

Chiaki Suzuki

A lovable character with the hidden secret of living in a literal mess. She’s 29 years old and works in sales and distribution of a beverage producer. Besides her home being waste land, she seems to have the rest of her life under control. In reality, she’s not aware how much her life is impacted by the disorganization of her home and leaves her overall with dissatisfaction and the incapability to stay or get into a lasting relationship. While she tends to pick up new hobbies with every new boyfriend, she accumulates more and more stuff with not much meaning to her.

Marie Kondo

A cute persona, while also knowing every trick in the book. Sometimes you kinda get the feeling that she’s not just all cute, but that she also knows to work out stuff and you might also get some hints at her humorous side with a healthy portion of sarcasm. So basically, she doesn’t do the cleaning. She’s there to show her client the way to a happier life through cleaning. Otherwise it wouldn’t be meaningful, anyway.


Chiaki’s neighbour

A handsome cook who works in a bistro and has a clean and welcoming home. He lives next to Chiaki. His character seems to be really nice although he was quite taken by surprised when he discovered the unbelievable mess in which Chiaki lives. Nonetheless, he seems to like her after getting to know her more, which is only possible because of the changes which Chiaki makes through her tidying process.


Relations
Illustrated by Yuuko Uramoto (no other relations found), while the story is made by Marie Kondo, who has published several books, which have been translated and sold worldwide. She is an organising consultant and author.

Here is a short list of the books which have been published by her:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (aka Jinsei ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō / 人生がときめく片づけの魔法)
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 2. (aka Jinsei ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō 2 /人生がときめく片づけの魔法2)
- Mainichi ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō (毎日がときめく片付けの魔法)
- Irasuto de Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō = The Illustrated Guide to the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (イラストでときめく片付けの魔法)
- The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: a magical story. (aka Manga de Yomu Jinsei ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Mahō)

As of today, her books have been translated and published in 42 regions/countries with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. The Netflix series Tidying up with Marie Kondo helped her to get even more popular and helped her success story even furthermore. So much, that the well-known Time’s magazine listed her in 2015 as one of the 100 most influential people in 2015. (Source 1 / Source 2)


The Konmari method (as far as in the manga explained)
You want to tidy up your home, but you’re not sure how or if you’re able to make it? Don’t worry Marie can help you with that for sure. Well, possibly. ;)

Step 1:
Be determined

Take the decision to tidy up. Everyone can learn how to clean up.
It’s not just about tidying up once your home. It’s about bringing joy to your life and to live the lifestyle you want to live in. Are you not totally happy with how your home looks ad feels like? Then take the decision to really change something. You can do it. Believe in yourself.


Step 2:
Imagine how your ideal lifestyle would look like

Ask yourself, how you would like your life to be and how you would like your home to be. What home would make you happy? Ask yourself: What is important for you to really feel at home? Do you know what you want to change in your life? Think about it. It might change your life.

Step 3:
Declutter the things that don’t make you happy

Don’t just buy more organizing items to make it easier to story things. Does having more things really make you happier? Even if you drown in it? To let go of things can be difficult indeed as we value things for different reasons, which i.e. can be the initial buying price, the practical value, or even the informational, emotional and scarcity value. So, there can be many reasons why you wouldn’t want to let go of something, but do these things really upgrade your life and make you happier? Think about the things, which really make you happy. Is it even possible for these things to impact you in a positive way, when you have so much other stuff which occupies valuable space? Focus on the things, which you really want to keep and why they spark so much joy in you.


Step 4:
Declutter in categories
The easiest way according to the Konmari method is to declutter in categories, the first mentioned is clothing, but find here the list of the different categories:


- Clothing
- Books
- Papers,
- Komono
- Mementos

While searching the internet you will be able to find even more specific checklists (with subcategories and such). There is quite a lot available, which is helpful, if you intend to declutter and tidy-up. So, don't worry.

Pile all the things of one category up at one place and search your home for everything which belongs to this category. Otherwise you might not be able to know what you actually own or if you’ve got more than once the same things. Don’t clean up room by room as there might be various places for items of the same category. Like that you wouldn’t ever be able to finish cleaning as it would be way to easy to shuffle it in another room or from place to place.
With piling up all the things of one category, it’s possible that you discover at how much stuff you actually own and to be honest: Do you really need all of that? Don’t think that one day you might possibly be able to use this or that. Think about the value it brings right now to your life. Does it spark joy in you? If not, you shouldn’t keep it. Also, in thanking the things, which you don’t want to keep you can make it easier to let go of it.

Step 5:
Make the most of your space

Did you ever think about how to use your space in the most practical way? When opening your closet, are you able to take each item out without having others to move first? Included are various tipps and tricks (i.e. for your clothing category) how to better tidy and story them, like folding techniques and how such subtle things might can make an impact on our lifes.


Step 6:
Choose depending on your feeling

If it’s a used book or an old collection of recipes, you are allowed to keep them. What important is,if it sparks joy in you or not. As it goes for books we might possibly have books which we never read, but will we really ever do so? According to Konmari, the destined point of time to read i.e. a book is right after buying it.

Step 7
Papers and Komono (various little things)

Don’t keep things just because.

Think about the importance to keep certain things:
1. Is it of importance to keep?
2. Is it something you will need for a specific time?
3. Is it something which should be kept forever?

Step 8
Memorabilia at the end

With decluttering more and more categories it will be easier to determine what really makes you happy or how Marie Kondo would say it: What really sparky joy in you. Keep it up.

Don’t forget it might take quite some time to get through all categories and you totally don’t have to do everything at once, but it might help to do one category (or subcategory) at a time.
It’s difficult to let go of things, especially if they made us sometime in the past really happy. Not the things matter to remember good things which happened to you, your person is what really matters. All the things were part of making you who you are. Also, don’t cling to things which remember you too much of bad happenings. After all, they don’t make you happy. Right?

Imagine the person who you want to be in the future. You want to be happy, right?

Step 9
Everything at its (fixed) place

Make it easy, everything which belongs together should be at the same place. So, that you don’t have to search for it. Give everything a home and store your things at the right and for you useful places.

After all, these things are meant to support you in daily life. If something is used more often and has its own place you might even take better car of it, which again might give you back more happiness.

Step 10
After tidying up follows your life

Don’t stay stucked in your past.
Don’t fear the future.

Get trust in your future.
Trust that things will develop in a positive way.
Meet new people.
Positive things can happen without further notice.
Chance happens and it’s nothing to be feared of

You can do it! Don't give up!

Target audience
As by following these steps or even after already watching the Netflix series, you might have encountered that by actually doing it (starting to tidy up), not everything is explained into the last bit of detail. It's a helpful starter guide for sure, but you might have to research a bit more about what she recommends for the specific categories or even to buy her book(s) to completely follow through.

After all, she also want to make money and does this not only to spark more joy in the world. What is also quite understandable.

Nonetheless, her teachings can indeed be really helpful and help to spark more joy in daily life. ;)

The target audience is for sure people who like manga or casually read it as it does pick up some typical tropes known in anime/manga.

85 /100
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