Changing Bad Habits and Offering Advice


The life-changing magic of tidying up


At the 3/4 mark in this book, I’m taking some of her advice to heart. It had great reviews and I’ve enjoyed most some of it.

Lots of helpful suggestions, but I. CAN. NOT. put all my books and/or garments on the floor to decide which ones I’ll keep. She suggests choosing to keep only those things that spark joy when you touch them. Great and valuable point.

(Let’s not discuss her claim of reading home and lifestyle magazines at 5!)

She then suggests picking each item off the floor to see if we feel joy.

My problem is I’ve read and believe enough about Feng Shui… that I won’t put my things on the floor. It seems counterintuitive to disrespect them by putting them on the floor, only to decide to keep them, because I love them. I also never put my handbag on the floor either.

Her advice I’m taking… is to give this book away.

“Keep only those books that will make you happy just to see it on your shelf. That includes this book, if you don’t feel any joy…I would rather you give it away”. She also says if you aren’t enjoying a book, stop reading it.

OK, done!



  1. Hmm, I think you saved me from wasting my time. Frankly, I think you know more about the subject than the author. Maybe YOU should be the one to write a book on this. I want a signed copy.

    Cheers, M-T

  2. Jen, I read this too and wasn’t very impressed. A few ideas- the vertical folding really is helpful and you can store so much that way. Also her idea to store purses in purses works too. The writing was not so great and it sounded like a teenager was writing it. That said, it did motivate me to get the house purged. I agree about the photos and books! x Kim

    1. I did take some of her tips to heart also, but my sweaters got so wrinkly!! I’m sure there’s a talent to it and I just couldn’t master it.

  3. Northmoon says:

    I think the “everything on the floor” approach is a cultural thing. Japanese traditionally kind of live on the floor, no chairs and low tables so I expect spreading clothing out on the floor wouldn’t be as strange to the author as it is to our western sensibility.

    I’ve got her book, but have yet to collect everything in one category at once. Pretty disruptive, and a lot of work. Right now I just declutter on a piecemeal basis.

    1. I’m doing it piecemeal also. It’s the only way that works for me. I understand the cultural differences. In Feng Shui, using matching hangers will show respect for your clothing, putting them on the floor does not. It’s a personal quirk of mine. I don’t feel I’m respecting my clothes if I put them on the floor. I don’t even sort laundry on the floor:)

  4. Just one thing to remember, the author is Japanese and they have different cultural associations with the floor. In Japan, t’s not uncommon to eat sitting on the floor, etc. As a Westerner, I find the idea of putting all my clothes on the floor distateful too, but it’s easier to understand her recommendation when you put it in cultural context.

    1. Yes, that’s a good point. I guess the value is what suggestions she offers us that can be adapted to fit our own values. I got a few but the clothes and books were not within my comfort zone.

  5. Deborah Montgomery says:

    My daughter loved the tip about storing her sweaters vertically in a drawer rather than horizontally. Very helpful. If I can get one good tip from a book, I’m happy, but this is one I wouldn’t keep on my shelf either.
    And yes, bathrooms with no hooks drive me crazy. I will not put my purse on the floor!

    1. I tried the sweater tip. I folded them all smoothly into little squares, lined them up in my drawer like straight little soldiers and when I took one out to wear, it looked like origami. Folds, everywhere!
      The tip that worked for me was the clearing by category. That, was genius.

  6. Hi Jennifer, I love Feng Shui principles but I can’t be ruthless as I get too attached. As for my wardrobe I always edit along when I buy new things. It’s sale season now, so I’ve added a few great pieces to my wardrobe which means evaluating what needs to go. Great post! I love your honesty.

    1. Thanks Lisa! Lucky you finding great pieces in sale. That’s not always easy to find, so bravo! For my basics, I do like to move things out, after I bring new in to replace them.

  7. Bea Jo Miller says:

    I bought the book and have read it through a couple of times. Somehow, it seemed to “give” me the permission to weed out articles I have outgrown and realize it is time to “shed” these items. I needed to hear this advice to jumpstart my own clearing out the clutter process. It has been helpful in many ways!

    1. I’m glad he book helped “jump start” the decluttering for you.
      I’ve been a fan of clearing clutter since I first read “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston. Within the course of two weeks, I went from having a three car garage full of “stuff” to having three cars parked inside the garage with space to spare. It changed my life.

  8. Eh, some of us work better with clutter! I’m a visual person and I need to see things – this usually means “everything has its place”. That makes me feel calmer, and I know where to find things. My closet is very well-organized, but also sort of chaotic. And I clean it out twice a year with a huge purge each time (giving all the stuff away), as well as getting rid of things as I go.

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog, Jennifer! I’m so excited to go to Vancouver and meet up with all my fellow bloggers, including you! 🙂

    1. Hi Sheila. I was delighted to come across your blog! Vancouver will be so much fun!!

  9. I flung the book aside halfway through…then retrieved it from the giveaway pile and am on my third read-thru. I’ve ordered it as a gift for friends. The main benefit for me is that I don’t look at my stuff the same way…makes it easier to let go. My house is noticibly “tidier” with more to come. It’s not the same old decluttering advice you’ve heard a thousand times. Give it a chance.

    1. She does use a very different tactic for decluttering. I’ve used a few of her tips, but really got stopped cold by her clothing and book process.
      And the personal pictures! I simply won’t give them away. Call me sentimental or a hoarder, but those pictures hold memories that are reignited every time I look at them.
      I do see folding in a while new light and it has been helpful.

  10. Hi Jennifer,

    Sounds like an interesting book but from what you mentioned here it’s probably one I won’t pursue reading.

    I do not ever put my purse on the floor and it drives me nuts when public bathroom stalls do not have a hanger on the door! I’ve thought about buying one of those magnetic purse hangers but it’s just one more thing to carry around.

    I used to get so mad at my daughter when she was in middle school…she would throw her clothes on the floor and I would say “how can you disrespect your clothes like that”? (ha probably because she didn’t pay for them)

    I’m gradually thinning out my closet, keeping only what I really love. Trying to buy more classic pieces these days that will last me a long time. (and fewer of them)

    Linda in San Diego

    1. I’m in the process of thinning out mine too Linda! I got a few tips from the book, but they just didn’t work for my clothes or books.
      Classics make up the backbone of my wardrobe, but I’m beginning to feel “boring” so plan to add some pieces that will liven things up a bit.

  11. I’ve avoided that book for some reason. Now I’m glad I did!

  12. This is useful and its a method that I will try as my drawers overflow again but I am one for keeping old clothes for dirty jobs, gardening, cleaning out chickens, walking dogs. There appears not to be an allowance for that in the book.

    1. No she does not allow keeping clothes for that, which is silly. That’s what I do with the nice clothes I like that have gotten too shabby for regular wear.

  13. I recently did a closet purge, and then was invited to a clothes swap that was a fundraiser for a friend with cancer. we all donated clothes and an “entry” donation that went directly to our friend. Not only was it a blast, but it helped her – and those who then received donations of the un-selected clothes – out. I admit to leaving with a few pieces, but at least not as many as I came in with. 🙂 i thought it was a lovely idea.

    i am trying to simplify my wardrobe and, having gotten much curvier lately, i have had to buy new pieces that i feel comfortable in with my add loveliness. i don’t want to feel worse about myself as i stand before my closet deciding what to wear to work. i want everything i have to look great and feel great on my body. if all i see are my old sizes that i don’t fit in…well, that’s not good.

    i have been intrigued by this book – so i am happy to ready your honest assessment. i downloaded a sample if it through ibooks.

    thank you!

    1. That fund raiser sounds like a lovely idea! I’m totally with you on owning things we look nice in, now! Good for you. This book is very popular so I may be alone with my opinions, but I did get a few tips from it. Just not enough to keep reading to the end 🙂

  14. Dearest Jennifer
    I never buy clothes. Okay, well, I rarely buy clothes. Because most everything in my wardrobe is a gift, I just cannot easily give them up. In fact, I won’t! I take of my things and I really have not changed in size; so what worked thirty years ago works today and will hopefully work tomorrow, which is why my closet space needs keep increasing…

    1. OK, so now we are all envious!! I don’t buy many clothes either, but I have changed sizes, several times over the years. That always necessitates a reorganization, at the very least.
      Happy weekend! xo

  15. That book is quite weird but it did help me declutter and clean with a new criteria, I was able to discard things I was holding on to for stupid reasons. Still I’m with you- my clothes are not going on the floor, they are my friends after all. 😉 Many of the tips just don’t apply to North American homes with our many rooms, sports equipment, kids and grandkids. Thanks for the review, I was going to try one on this book but I ran out of enthusiasm.
    I read it on my kindle, otherwise I would have donated it as well 😉

    1. I liked her idea of category decluttering, rather than area clearing. It was worth the read, but agree, there were so e very weird ideas that just wouldn’t fit my life. Hope all is well with you.
      Happy weekend!

  16. Hello Jen! I never, ever, put my handbag on the floor either, yuck! I’m so happy to see that you’ve created a ‘style’ column where readers can ask style questions. You are most certainly an expert. I went through a closet redo just last weekend and it feels so good. Having a well organized closet has always cleared my head, even since I was young, though that may have been a touch of OCD. 😉 Great post and excellent food for thought!
    Happy weekend my friend!
    xx, Heather

    1. There’s such a great feeling of calm, when I clear up clutter. I’ve been gradually moving through the house, using her tips where they make sense. It’s worth a read, just to get a different perspective on clearing. Happy weekend to you!!

  17. I too have read the book and while I didn’t like all that was suggested, I did take one thing away which was how to organize clothing within bureau drawers. By staggering (scarves) or, as suggested by the author, standing sweaters up instead of laying them flat, I have been able to see more of what is in the drawer and have been using a lot more of my tops and scarves this season. Regarding the handbag on the floor: it is not just a Portuguese custom but a West Indian one as well. I was always told by my mother and grandmother that you do not put your handbag on the floor as it is a show of unconcern for you money which has lead me to balancing it on my feet under the table or putting it on an empty chair, if available. Thank you for your review. I too will donate my copy to the library.

    1. Yes! The folding and storage of sweaters and knit tops was brilliant! It takes up so little space and allows me to see what I have so I wear them more!
      The very act of going through everything in that category was an eye opener for me.
      Just my lingerie drawer purge alone, was shocking and felt so freeing to do.

  18. Just to add a different perspective: I just read the Tidying Up book, too, and I have found it so charming and helpful. A bit wacky, yes, but her love of material possessions actually makes it much easier to relinquish those whose purpose has been fulfilled — easier for me, at least. Most rules about discarding don’t work for me, but the principle of keeping the things that (still) spark joy does. I also really love that she thinks we should greet our home and thank our possessions — really notice and appreciate the things we own. It is an excellent antidote to coveting more!

    1. She lost me in the photo section. I’ve purged many things in the past and lived to regret it.
      We do need to appreciate what we already own more fully and if owning less allow us to do this, then it’s a good thing.
      I also believe we can appreciate and want something, the without need to own it. Coveting more is not the answer, I totally agree Kate.

    1. Thanks Heather 🙂

  19. I liked about 75% of this book! although she scared me in places…. I did not put my clothes on the floor when I purged nor will I do that in the library. I can freakin reach up and touch them… The purge concept was more useful to me than the coraling concept I have attempted in the past. For me, 2015 will be about buying a whole lot less and continuing to pass on books to my sister-in- law or library when done. I bought this book on my kindle, so it is nice and neat! 🙂

    Funny you should mention feng shui, as I have been reading lots about that and really liking that approach.

    1. I did like her folding ideas. Her concept of doing one category at time makes a lot of sense. But to come home daily, empty my entire purse and stow it’s contents didn’t resonate with me. How often do we need to race out for something?

      1. wendy mcleod macknight says:

        Maybe she’s a volunteer fire fighter… 🙂

  20. I’ve been doing quite a bit of purging over the past year, but it takes time, and I suspect I’ll do quite a bit more once I retire.
    Thanks for your review of this book — besides getting a chuckle, I’m also saving funds as I had thought it might be worth picking up — sounds even more “precious” than I’d wondered if it might be.

    1. It’s worth checking out of the library. My copy is being donated this week:)
      My clean out has been a long time coming and with a drop in weight, it’s needed more than ever now!!

  21. Brilliant!

    Although I do have a few small shiny mineral things that bring me joy.

    1. Joy is the criteria Fred! Bravo to you.

  22. Ha! I love that you didn’t love that book entirely. An honest review!

    This post is very timely for me as a week ago I attempted to clean and reorganize my closet. I say attempted because I didn’t quite get through the tedious task of trying everything on to see if it still fit me, my personality and how I see myself now.

    I didn’t get rid of lots…but I did let go of some. I have regretted getting rid of things in the past and I don’t want to have the same issue. I read recently that it is a good idea to store what you don’t think you like anymore in the basement or somewhere out of sight and then when a year has passed and you haven’t missed them, then you can get rid of them. Although it might need to be longer than a year for me. My style changes every year it seems.

    One thing that I will mention in this novel/comment that I’m writing is that cascading skirt hangers are the BEST things ever for organizing. I use them for jeans, pants and skirts. They are my new found saviors.


    1. Great tip about the cascading hangers!! I would need to hold on to mine for many years!! My style evolves and changes quite frequently. I enjoy many different looks so my clothes never go out of style. I suspect yours are the same. In that case, it’s a matter of revolving your pieces so the standouts get worn enough and the back-bone of your wardrobe gets culled.

  23. I did a big clean out a couple of weeks ago and will do another when spring comes around. Since I have lost some weight I am pondering what really needs to stay and go. I look forward to your style posts!

    1. Loosing weight (congratulations!) makes a huge impact on your wardrobe needs. That’s the beauty of accessories. They fit no matter your weight. You look great!

  24. I really appreciated your mini review of the book ” Magic of Tidying Up” as I questioned myself if I need another book on this subject. Looks like you are fine tuning your website, and I think you are very generous to offer to respond to style questions. I haven’t had time yet to work on cleaning out my wardrobe, but I’m holding onto the philosophy of buying less and making sure it is quality. Best wishes to you in 2015 as you continue your very appealing blog site.
    ~ Karen

    1. Thank you Karen. I continue to sharpen my focus here. Everyone else seems to love the book. The reviews are glowing in most places. And while she did have a few interesting concepts, it was over the top in many places. In my humble opinion.

  25. I also would not lay my clothes on the floor. I have a king size bed and that is what I lay my clothes on. However, ALL of my clothes bring me joy. Do I have an excessive amount? Yes, but currently they all give me joy. My clothes are classic timeless styles, well organized and there is a place for all of them. They are not just clothes to me, they are my “Collection”.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wouldn’t put them on the floor, Dawn. That’s the key, they bring you joy. I love that you describe your clothes as a “Collection”. That gives them the respect they deserve.

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