Marie Kondo addresses the “misconception” about only keeping 30 books in your house

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Susan Devaney

It’s OK, you can put your books back on the shelf now. 

Even if you’ve yet to watch an episode of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, you’ll surely have read/heard/tweeted about her joyful decluttering KonMari method.

While she’s helped us all declutter (and destress) our lives throughout the month of January, there has been one practice that has left us feeling anything but joy: we’re only allowed to keep 30 books in our possession at any one given time. 

Kondo uttered the controversial sentence during episode five of season one. In the episode, Kondo visits Los Angeles to meet Matt and Frank, two writers who need her help in tackling their stacks and stacks of books.

While helping the couple to decide whether keeping the books will be “beneficial” to their lives going forward, Kondo states that we should “ideally keep fewer than 30 books”, a practice she follows herself.

Enter: the biggest backlash of 2019 (so far).

An image of Kondo saying that people should ideally own no more than 30 books began to be widely circulated, and people on social media warned her to stay away from their delightful book piles. 

However, according to Kondo, it was all a “misconception”. During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which sees the cleaning guru apply her KonMari method to Kimmel’s home, she took the time to explain things.

“I read that you said that you should only have thirty books,” Kimmel says as they tackle his book pile.

But Kondo quickly dispels his comment. “I don’t know where that rumour came from,” she says via her translator. “That’s a complete misconception.”

“I’m very surprised that there’s a rumour going around that you should only keep thirty books,” she tells Kimmel, who offers to “find out who spread it around.”

“I mean we could have them killed. We’ll do whatever we need to do,” he deadpans.

Kondo with Matt and Frank in Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

Kondo’s right to address the “misconception”. First of all, she said “ideally keep fewer than 30 books” so she was giving viewers a ballpark figure. Secondly, don’t focus on the number, focus on successfully reevaluating the way you measure your stuff. In short: is it just stuff or does it serve a purpose in your life (no matter how big or small). That’s REALLY what Kondo is asking you to do in 2019. 

You can read more about Kondo’s KonMari method here.

Images: Netflix 


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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