9 In Books/ Lifestyle

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up vs. Unstuff Your Life


The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo had been on my radar ever since it hit the best seller list and after running across some reviews I decided to give it a try. It had a lovely cover, a magical title, and the Japanese certainly have a reputation for being tidy so what’s not to like? Unfortunately, none of what I read in this book was new information. It was just rehashed information with plenty of fluff and glitter. Half the time she was busy promising that organizing was magical and would transform your life, the other half of the time she was giving example after example on why “conventional mainstream organizing tips” never worked. I also found it ironic that a book on organization was so cluttered!


Unstuff Your Life by Andrew J. Mellen on the other hand, makes a lot more sense and delivers information without all the fluff. It was published 4 years before the so-called magic book, and offers a much more practical approach to organizing and decluttering. What I like about Mellen’s approach is that he has 3 principles that he shares upfront that apply to everything.

1. One home for everything
2. Like with like (similar things live together)
3. Something in, something out (Stuff equilibrium)

There are two of his seminars on Youtube (one, two) so you can actually learn his organization methods without even having to buy his book. Because I liked his seminars, I decided to get the audiobook through Audible a couple years back so that I could listen to his tips while cleaning my home. The book goes into more detail on organizing by category with practical tips that you can follow along, but it all boils down to those three principles.  So if you were disappointed by the overly hyped magic book, I recommend that you take a look at the Youtube videos I linked above as he also has a Q&A session at the end which provides some valuable insight as well.

Your turn ♥ What is the best organizing tip that’s worked for you? How often do you declutter your space?

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  • I would love to read this- there’s something so satisfying about organisation! I seriously need to start putting the one thing in, one thing out rule into play- I have a HUGE build up of junk!

    Rachel xx

    • Kim

      Ahh, for the one thing in, one thing out he mentioned that it’s ok to add stuff if you have space for it. For example, if you can fit 10 books in a bookcase and you have 5 books, you don’t have to throw away a book every time you get a new one. But when you reach 10 books, and you don’t have enough space to add another shelf, then you start doing one thing in one thing out :D

  • Kim

    Hmm, she did talk about petting and thanking every object after using them which seemed a bit unconventional. While sometimes I do talk to my objects (like I’ll coax the printer to work), I don’t talk to every single thing I use. She ties it into living a life of gratitude, but I prefer to think thankful thoughts to the person who got the item for me. My biggest problem is paper and books to be honest. I’ve been getting a little better about books after having switched over to ebooks, but there are still some things you can’t get as ebooks or are better as physical books hehe

    • Hahaha, one of my favorite video game streamers joked about that, about coaxing his computer to run smoothly and baby talking to it instead of getting mad lol. I’m still one of those people that haven’t converted into ebooks yet (except for textbooks of course cause there’s no way I’m dropping $200 on one for four months), there’s just something so charming about being able to tangibly have a book and flip through its pages and seeing it getting worn down with love! My fourth Harry Potter book is like that, it’s literally falling apart because I’ve read it so many times but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

      • Kim

        There really is something much more satisfying about holding a physical book, but I converted after moving for the 5th time. I remember setting down a heavy box and swearing I’d stop buying books lol. People say you should distribute your books between boxes, but what do you do if all your boxes are half full of books? lol

  • Oh I’ll definitely have to check out those videos. I saw the first book in stores, and I although I only skimmed it, I didn’t find it too helpful. I’ve never heard of “Unstuff Your Life” though, but it sounds like something I should check out!

    Sartorial Diner

    • Kim

      Yes, definitely check the videos first as you can get a feel for his organization style. What I like about Mellen’s approach is that he’s very practical yet understands that people can get attached to their possessions. So he strikes a good balance between carrot and stick ;)

  • rchiariello

    I preferred Mellen’s book as well. Another good one is Throw Out Fifty Things.

    • Kim

      Ooh I’ve not heard of that one. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation rchi :)