1. “Life-changing” is not hyperbolic language—the tidiness mindset can redirect a person’s trajectory.

If you’re like most people, your home and workplace are cluttered, and cleaning is a demoralizing prospect because the mess returns within days. And if you’re like most people, you are sick of living in a state of disarray but don’t see how it could be different. Things eventually slip back to a discouraging “normal.” In Japan, it is considered good luck to have clean bedrooms and pristine bathrooms, but clutter will prevent you from enjoying even the most sanitized living space.

There’s hope for those who’d like to live a tidier existence. Contrary to conventional approaches to tidying up, the KonMari Method proposed in this book recommends discarding first, and organizing your space second. It’s a simple but effective method, and it has the power to transform people’s lives.

When people hear words like “magical” and “life-changing,” they are often skeptical. “Life-changing” sounds dramatic and too good to be true. This reaction is understandable, but what’s interesting is this vocabulary did not originate with the author, but with her clients. Those who graduate from the course attest to the transformative power of tidying in their lives and the surprising unlooked-for perks, like the courage to pursue dreams, making peace with the past, new-found confidence about the future, alleviated depression and anxiety, and the joy of discovering, and being surrounded by, the things they value most.

More than a skill set, the KonMari Method is a mindset. In fact, the main transformation that takes place is not a tidy physical space, but a tidy person. This is why a piece-meal, gradual approach to cleaning the living space will fail. Of those who have completed the program, zero have fallen back into their former patterns of clutter and hoarded items. This might seem like a bad business model to have no repeat customers, but its success has led to a growing list of referrals. Not only is there a wait list for a KonMari consultation, but there is a wait list to get on the wait list.  

It seems that putting your house in order is more than a metaphor and that taking it literally can actually lead to the peace and harmony that the metaphor suggests.

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