Cleaning up after oneself can be a complete chore, and depending on scheduling, one may not have the time to do it. Unfortunately, life just gets in the way, putting off the mess until one does not know where to start. However, luckily for the everyday busy bee, Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story exists. This manga is a quick read which provides readers with simple steps on how to improve their lives through organization. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to start life fresh through tidying up! 

Who Is Marie Kondo?

Before covering the manga, let us first learn more about Marie Kondo (also known as Konmari). She is a Japanese organizing consultant and a worldwide-bestselling author. Her tidying style of choice is her “Konmari” method which requires people to gather their things (one category at a time) and keep only the items that “spark joy”.

The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
Marie Kondo | (2018)

Kondo founded KonMari Media Inc. and is also its chief visionary officer. She wrote many books on how to improve one’s home through organization: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, Spark Joy, and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. Kondo also recently received a Netflix series called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, where she assists American families with tidying their homes.

The Plot Of The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story follows a female office worker named Chiaki. She is an extremely disorganized individual (ranging on hoarder) who drifts through life never prioritizing tidying up herself. After a bad encounter with her neighbor, Chiaki decides to improve her living situation through cleaning. In order to do this, however, she hires a professional organizer, Marie Kondo (Konmari), to assist in the process.

Tidying Up: A Magical Story
The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story | Ten Speed Press (2017)

While Chiaki expects the process to be a simple pick-up-and-throw-away job, she learns that there is more to organizing than meets the eye. With all the steps involved in Kondo’s “Konmari” method, will Chiaki be able to create the ideal living space she’s dreamed of? Or is she doomed to a life of dirt, grime, and clutter?

The Art of The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

Mangaka Yuko Uramoto does the art for Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story. The overall artwork of the manga is simple enough. Uramoto does not go into strong detail in her character designs or settings. However, whenever the manga covers Konmari’s techniques, Uramoto makes sure to draw more descriptively.

The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying up: A Magical Story | Ten Speed Press (2017)

The manga provides readers with step-by-step illustrations on how to perform Marie Kondo’s organizational techniques. For example, the manga shows readers the best folding method for clothing and how to organize one’s closet to optimize the most closet space.

The same way the manga simplifies Kondo’s techniques, the simplistic art style assists in not overwhelming the reader. The manga first begins with Chiaki’s apartment being a complete mess but as it continues, her space gets tidier. Visually seeing Chiaki’s space get cleaner gives readers faith that through implementing the same techniques their homes will improve too.

The Lessons In The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story provides quick summaries of the techniques covered in each chapter. The lessons break down as follows:  

1. Decide To Tidy Up

According to Marie Kondo, 90% of tidying depends on a person’s mindset. Before starting, homeowners should believe that they can and will organize their living space. For, organizing is not just to impress other people or to get rid of unwanted items. This cleansing helps homeowners change their lives by surrounding themselves with items that bring them joy.  

The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story | Ten Speed Press (2017)

2. Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle

Before de-cluttering, Marie Kondo recommends that readers visualize their ideal lifestyle. Essentially, she wants them to think about how they wish to live, what kind of house they want, and what type of life they would like to lead in their home. By doing this, homeowners will understand why they want to tidy up and the kind of life they wish to lead when they’re finished.

3. Finish Discarding First

A huge component of Kondo’s tidying method is that instead of homeowners choosing what to discard, they should choose what to keep. She recommends holding each item and seeing if it sparks joy while in hand. If it does, keep the item; if not, then discard it. Kondo prefers this method since she sees the home as a source of happiness. Therefore, why not surround oneself with things that bring joy?

4. Tidy By Category

Kondo recommends that people tidy their spaces through categories instead of room-by-room. For, she understands, people are visual learners. Usually, one does not realize how much of something they own. However, by putting every item from a specific category (let’s say clothes) in one space, people will see the exact amount before them. Doing this also allows people to pull out items they may have forgotten about. Spreading items across the floor will make it easier to tell if they spark joy or not and narrow down the amount items one owns.

5. Just Fold And Stand Upright

Obviously, Marie Kondo sees folding clothes as a solution to almost all clothing-storage problems. Through folding, she knows readers will pass on their energy to the clothes, showing appreciation for the item’s day-to-day service to us.

6. Choose Books By Feel

Almost every reader has a “soon-to-be-read” pile in their home. The plan usually goes as follows, “Eventually, when my schedule is not so busy, I’ll cozy up with that book and relax.” Well, Marie Kondo is here to tell us that that day is never coming. She believes every book has a deadline for the owner to read it. If they miss that deadline, most likely, they will never read the book. Therefore, she recommends piling all books in one area and touching them to see if they spark joy. If they do, keep the books; if not, give them away.

7. Papers & Komono

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest sources of clutter in a home is paper. Therefore, Kondo asks readers to throw out all paper that does not fall into one of three categories: those you are currently using, those you will need for a limited amount of time, and those you will keep indefinitely. Also, put paper that requires action (like bills) in a “pending” box and set a date in which you plan to deal with them. When it comes to “komono” or miscellaneous items, Kondo recommends throwing away small, random items like used batteries, rubber bands, paper clips, etc. that take up space since owners will never use them.   

The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
The Life-Changing Manga Of Tidying Up: A Magical Story | Ten Speed Press (2017)

8. Leave Sentimental Items For Last

Without a doubt, Kondo understands how difficult it may be to discard an item that meant so much to us in our past. Our childhood favorite toy, or a souvenir from a family trip, holds memories. However, Kondo believes that a home should harbor items for our future selves, not our past. She thinks that if the past moments were really important then our memories will retain that time. Therefore, we do not need items. However, she understands some things are too precious to discard so asks people to use the spark-joy method to narrow down items.

9. Store Things Where They Belong

When storing objects, Kondo wants people to choose a designated place for category items. For example, people should have a spot to empty out and gather their purse items. This area should only be for emptying and storing purse items and nothing else. By doing this, it will make it easier to find specific items and maintain order in the home.

Real Life Begins After Putting Your Life In Order

After tidying up, Kondo believes the good energy coming from a house that sparks joy will trickle into the homeowner’s social life. She has witnessed how people’s lives genuinely change when they reorganize their personal space. Their work and relationships improve, and they just feel better about themselves knowing they created their preferred space all on their own. Konmari recommends people try her method in order to experience joy in everyday life for themselves.  

To purchase your own copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga For Tidying Up: A Magical Story, visit Barnes and Noble, Rightstuf, and Amazon. For more manga analyses, check out our AniManga section!