Relax! Marie Kondo Says You Can Keep Your Books

The Netflix star worried some viewers after encouraging people to tidy and declutter their book collections.

By Samantha Schnurr Jan 17, 2019 5:08 PMTags
Tidying Up With Marie KondoNetflix

This clarification should spark serious joy for some booklovers. No, Marie Kondo does not want you to throw out all of your paperbacks. 

The author and breakout Netflix star of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo sent some viewers into a panic when it came to her KonMari organizing method. As part of the process, she works in categories in the following order: 1. clothing, 2. books, 3. paper, 4. kimono (kitchen, bathroom, garage, miscellaneous and 5. sentimental items. 

"Books are the reflection of our thoughts and values, so by tidying books, it will show you what kind of information is important to you at this moment," she says on the show. Kondo also suggested that her clients use the same method used for other items, which is bring all of your books into one pile and then, one by one, determine if each books sparks joy and if it's one you want to "take into the future." If it does, great. If it doesn't, thank you and goodbye. 


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However, some took Kondo's advice to the extreme and worried that they would have to part ways with their entire book collections or that Kondo was advocating for a life with significantly less books. 

Needless to say, the Twittersphere got a bit ahead of itself and the tidying master has since clarified and simultaneously settled some fears. 

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In an interview with IndieWire, Kondo explained that, while she prefers to keep around 30 books personally, tidying books—or any of your items—is not about what she thinks. 

"The most important part of this process of tidying is to always think about what you have and about the discovery of your sense of value, what you value that is important," she told the website through her interpreter Marie Iida. "So it's not so much what I personally think about books. The question you should be asking is what do you think about books. If the image of someone getting rid of books or having only a few books makes you angry, that should tell you how passionate you are about books, what's clearly so important in your life. If that riles you up, that tells you something you about that. That in itself is a very important benefit of this process."


During the interview, she noted that in her native Japan, it is humid, so the moisture in the air causes damage to books, an obvious difference from parts of the United States. She also does not advocate any extreme methods for getting rid of said books. 

"I do think there is a misunderstanding of the process, that I'm recommending that we throw away books in the trash or burn them or something," she told IndieWire. "I always recommend donating them, so if that's part of the misunderstanding, then that's certainly being mixed up."