Sparking Joy With Words: A Complete Marie Kondo Book Review

marie kondo book review

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Hi, I’m Ryan

Over the past decade of living as a minimalist, I’ve come across a few influential authors who have helped me refine my personal methodology. I particularly enjoy the work of Marie Kondo, whose method goes beyond the conventional and has helped many people get their lives back on track.

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The truth is, it’s hard to find decent book reviews on all of Marie Kondo’s published works. More than just the queen of tidying and a fitted-sheet folding guru — Marie Kondo is also the author of a collection of books that have helped many people reassess their relationship with things, clutter, and gratitude. Marie sure knows how to find a way to blend practicality and aspiration, particularly on a page. Her Netflix show, along with her six books, have inspired thousands of readers to tidy up their homes and build clutter-free lives.

marie kondo at homeA key aspect of Marie Kondo’s work is teaching how to identify what sparks joy in your life, so you can go ahead and build your ideal home and lifestyle around that model. In my opinion, her work is worth a read if you are looking to get organized in your home and streamline your personal life and habits.

I’ve compiled a list of her books to help you get acquainted with Marie Kondo’s work, along with my personal thoughts on how each one measures up to her philosophy of sparking joy and creating a peaceful, purposeful home. Dig into how these books by Marie Kondo had an impact on my personal decluttering and organizing methods before choosing the book that speaks to you most and inspires you to embark on your transformative tidying journey.

Review: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing, By Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up

This is the book that took the world by storm and changed the way many people tidy their homes. It proposes a new method of decluttering in which you approach your items by category, not by room. Marie goes into detail about how this system can yield lasting results.

The lessons provided go far beyond tidying up. Although I tend to be very pragmatic in my approach to home organization, Marie taught me that it’s okay to embrace sentiment when tidying. Our belongings must “spark joy” if we are to keep them. Only then are we able to live a simpler, more fulfilling life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up forms the basis for how to declutter a home that clutters up your mind as well as your space. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to streamline your belongings but don’t know where to start. More than that, the method is very holistic and presents more than the possibility of a home transformation.

While reading this Marie Kondo book, I found myself starting to question the way I think, my habits, and what I need in life. By the time I was halfway through, I’d refolded all my linens, reorganized my sock drawer, and streamlined the kitchen pantry.

What’s interesting about this book is that Marie touches on the reason why most decluttering projects fail, helping readers dig deeper into the root cause of their cluttered lives. If you’re looking for a new, more holistic way to tidy up and organize your home, this might be a great place to start.

Review: Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On The Art Of Organizing And Tidying Up, By Marie Kondo

Spark Joy

This book came after Marie Kondo’s first few books gained worldwide attention, and I have to say, it’s a lot more fun. It’s an illustrated, room-by-room guide to manifesting a clutter-free and tidy home. From bedrooms to kitchens, this guide covers every room in the house and a large selection of categories. Its neat drawings explain everything from how to organize cabinets to how to fold clothes the KonMari way, providing the reader with more guidance than her previous book.

The illustrations really took this book to the next level for me. There’s only so much I can visualize when it comes to specific folding or organizing instructions, so having things laid out in careful illustrations really got the wheels of inspiration turning.

Spark Joy is a great addition to her collection. If you’ve read her previous work, this one will give you further insight and reminders on how to continually spark joy while working toward a more peaceful home. I’d definitely consider it as a companion to Marie’s first book, so I’d recommend picking this one up after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, so you can better appreciate the delivery of the illustrations in detail to get the full picture.

While I was reading this book, I felt like I was in an in-person masterclass with Marie herself, focusing on the finer details of her method. One of my favorite parts of this book — and maybe one of the most helpful — is her clarification of komono (Japanese for miscellaneous items). This book really breaks down what komono actually is, and it includes tips on how to get a firm grasp on controlling the way it shows up and sticks around in your life. Overall, it’s a helpful reminder that, while we may want to help ourselves and live more freely, not everyone has the same desire to declutter their homes, and we must respect that.

marie kondo rules to live by

Review: Joy At Work: Organizing Your Professional Life, By Marie Kondo

Joy At Work

Joy at Work offers a new perspective on how to apply the KonMari method to your work life. It’s another follow-up to Marie’s first book, intended specifically to help you organize your workspace and find joy and gratitude where we least expect it. This book can sincerely help you create an office space that sparks joy and makes you proud. In it, Marie Kondo brings in firsthand advice from Scott Sonenshein, a renowned business professor from Rice University, who offers helpful tips on making your workspace more conducive to productivity.

I’ll admit that the modern-day work grind can sometimes feel wasteful and unproductive, with many minimalists switching up their careers to make their professional life align more with their personal values. Others are trying out new methods to improve their work-life balance, like monotasking or working remotely. Joy at Work offers a completely new way to look at things, without making major life changes.

Before reading this book, I wasn’t aware of how an organized workspace can have an impact on how highly your superiors think of you. It can affect your productivity, your salary, and even your mood. In this book, Marie Kondo also points out the importance of decluttering your digital life, which is not something many of us think about today, but it’s something that can make a big difference.

All in all, this book was a super easy read. It included lots of interesting real-life stories, and a lot of simple takeaways that I could put into action as soon as I set the book down. It was awesome to make the connection between how simply organizing your workspace can help you feel happier and be more productive at work.

The main takeaway for me, is that satisfaction at work is about more than organizing your desk. It’s creating an environment where you can flow and function in a way that works for you personally, making work easier and sparking more joy in a continual cycle.

Review: Marie Kondo’s Kurashi At Home: How To Organize Your Space And Achieve Your Ideal Life, By Marie Kondo

Marie Kondos Kurashi At Home

The way I see it, Kurashi at Home is an inspiring visual guide that can accompany anyone’s KonMari experience. It’s a pretty quick and enjoyable read. The book comes with a wide selection of inspirational photography to help motivate readers into manifesting their dreams for their homes. Its goal is to invite readers to conceptualize their ideal kurashi, Japanese for lifestyle.

While reading this book, I felt like Marie was guiding me through a personal reflection on what my perfect home looks like. She explains the purpose of each room through vivid descriptions, so you can mentally start filling in your own spaces, or clearing them out, based on how each room in your home should serve you.

One of my favorite takeaways from this book is how the reader can achieve his or her own idea of kurashi by interacting with and optimizing their space in a way that fits their needs. This stuck out to me because, as a society, we’re usually taught to think about it differently. The norm is that all homes come with standard rooms that are designated for specific purposes, from dining rooms to laundry rooms, which may not mesh well with our individual needs. I felt like this book gives the go-ahead to turn your unused laundry room into a craft space or repurpose that empty dining room to be a quaint home theater or game room.

This versatile compilation of Marie’s work ties it all together when it comes to organizing, and I honestly couldn’t get enough. I’d still recommend that you start by reading her first book so you can better appreciate the intricacies of this one. Because of how succinct it is, this book can have a strong impact on your life, especially if you are more of a visual learner like I am. Overall, it serves as a great reminder to consistently spark joy in all areas of your life and treasure the people, activities, and things that matter the most to you.

Review: Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic Of Friendship, By Marie Kondo

Kiki and Jax

As the title might suggest, Kiki & Jax is a children’s storybook, one that my nephew has asked me to read to him no less than 50 times. It tells the story of Kiki and Jax, who are unequivocally different from one another. Although they are best friends who care deeply about each other, they disagree on how to care for and organize their belongings. It’s a very sweet story.

This book teaches kids how to care for their things and prioritize what sparks joy in their lives. It’s also a great way to inspire them to tidy up with joy and understand that it’s important to respect other people’s differences.

I would highly recommend this book for any child — and even adults. The illustrations are beautiful and can inspire all audiences to adopt a more organized way of living. I like that it distinguishes between the advantages of being tidy and the frustrations of being messy.

What I most appreciated was how it can teach kids to identify, understand, and deal with feelings of overwhelm. Many adults have a hard time deciphering when something is too much for them to handle, and teaching kids how to work through these feelings can be a very helpful tool. This book would be helpful for parents who want to teach their kids to care for their belongings and prioritize the things that spark joy in their lives.

Review: The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story, By Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Manga Of Tidying Up

Marie Kondo has released quite a few inspiring works on home organization. This one is a bit different. This graphic novel brings the KonMari tidying method to life in a really unique way. It tells the story of Chiaki who, upon realizing the cluttered state of her home, gets Marie Kondo to take her on as a client. As the story unravels, the protagonist experiences many lessons on organizing her apartment and getting her personal life in order.

I love graphic novels, so I found this manga beyond fun to read because it combines so many of my favorite things. Illustrating the method in story-form is a creative way of getting the reader to identify what’s irreplaceable and what doesn’t need to be in your life. In my opinion, you can read the manga on its own, no KonMari experience necessary. Reading Marie’s other works first isn’t a requirement, but if you’re familiar with her previous books, you might enjoy the added artistic perspective.

Decluttering your home can be overwhelming. It’s hard to find the time and motivation to tidy up and even more challenging to find the time to research the best ways to do it. This book makes it easy, especially for visual learners and fans of manga and graphic novels. I’ve even had friends who were unfamiliar with Marie Kondo’s organizational role start taking up tidying after reading this graphic novel. What I most like about The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying-Up is that it personifies the information present in Marie’s first work in an enjoyable and relaxing fashion. Although not as detailed, it contains the basic information you need to get your tidying process up and running.

Your Turn!

  • Which one of Marie Kondo’s books had the greatest impact on your tidying journey?
  • What is your favorite way to tidy and declutter your home?
1 Comment
  1. I had no idea she’d written more than two books, so thanks for this!

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