Why Tidying Up star Marie Kondo is upsetting book lovers around the world

Her 30-book limit is far from sparking joy for some!

Marie Kondo – and if you don't know you need to know – is the tidying guru making us rethink how we live with 'stuff'. In her own words, Marie's mission is to 'spark joy in the world through tidying'.

Her insightful books have said to have sold over 11 million copies worldwide, and with a new Netflix show her cleaning fan base is growing ever bigger. Or is it?

Related: A day in the life of Marie Kondo; the tidiest person on Earth

It's become apparent through the world of social media that her ideology on de-cluttering books is far from sparking joy with some book lovers.

The Marie Kondo book debate

The debut 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo' episode aired earlier this month, leaving viewers outraged by Marie's book-culling suggestions.

In one scene she asks the homeowners, 'Will these books be beneficial to your life moving forward?', before aiding the removal of generous piles of literature.

It's this very question that has sparked a backlash among book hoarders.

white book shelf with books and toys

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jody Stewart)

Marie Kondo's book policy appears to be that we should have no more than 30 books stored in the home.

Some book fans have reacted with a less than joyful response...

Despite the raging debate, at no point does Marie suggest burning unwanted books. Which some have lent a little humour to...

There were cries of outrage online, the world over. All sparking the debate that most hadn't really understood the premise.

It's not all bad, there are those that thoughtfully took Marie's advice on board!

book shelf with armchair and cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

As the debate rages on, we say 'each to their own'. If you want to streamline your life, only keep 30 books you treasure. If you love books, keep as many as you like – just make sure they're stored beautifully.

Having a clear out? Read: Are you sitting on a fortune? Sell these household items second hand and make a tidy profit

That way, everyone's happy and filled with joy – just as Marie Kondo would wish.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.