QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can you comment about the first book out by Marie Kondo, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?” I am interested in your take on it. Personally, I loved it!

I’d love to share the basics of this book for those interested. You may have wanted to pick it up but never got a chance to. Marie Kondo originally wrote this book in Japanese, but it became available in English as The Life-

Changing Magic of Tidying Up.


I found it fresh and insightful, offering new ways to deal with clutter and the things we keep. I rarely get excited about clutter-clearing books but this one still inspires me.

Although I “kicked” the clutter habit quite a while ago, I learned some new things and gained some amazing insight from the content. The following is a recap of the book:

Discard first, store later

The first stage of clearing clutter, in Kondo’s opinion, is all about discarding. She believes that clutter should not be organized, and to begin, you must first get rid of everything you don’t need. She says that this is the only way to kick the clutter habit.

‘Storage experts are hoarders’

She says that when you put things away, it creates an illusion that the clutter problem has been solved when in fact organized clutter is still clutter. It gives a temporary solution but doesn’t solve the problem by any means.

Start sorting by category, not location


Instead, she advises sorting by category and discarding your clutter in the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and finally, the things that have sentimental value. The things that have sentimental value are last because they take up the most time to let go of.

‘Does this spark joy?’

She invites you to ask yourself this question of every item you own, “Does it spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Sounds simple, but this is where many people have a hard time.

Never pile things up

Kondo’s dislike is vertical storage in a drawer. She says that stacking is hard on the things at the bottom. By storing things horizontally, however, not only do you have a better view of what is in the drawer, but the garments are “happier” as well.

Learn how to fold

She is adamant about properly folding things and has a technique that enables you to fold and store things vertically rather than horizontally. You can Google this and there are many instructional videos online.


The bottom line is Kondo’s methods are more about what to hold on to, where to store, and what brings you joy. If you are looking for some inspiration to get going on clearing your clutter, this book is a great place to start.

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@ Alice Inoue owns Happiness U, a lifestyle studio at SALT Kakaako where anyone can find positive inspiration and high-level guidance to minimize stress and optimize modern day life! Visit