How to Declutter with Marie Kondo
It seems like everyone is talking about Marie Kondo and binge watching her Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, right now! For those who haven’t heard, Kondo with her bestselling books The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Upand Spark Joy, has been spreading Japanese philosophy and helping hapless hoarders and households clogged with clutter to clean up their homes by following her trademark KonMari method. For those looking ahead to a bit of spring cleaning, here are some tips inspired by Marie and her KonMari method.
Tidy by category, not room to room
Previously you may have tackled the tidying up by moving room to room, cleaning one area and moving to the next. According to the KonMari method, it might be more helpful to organise your entire home into five distinct categories, namely:
- Komono (or miscellaneous items)
- Sentimental items
It’s also important to follow this set order, as your ruthlessness will be honed by the time you reach the hardest category, sentimental items – things that you may have held onto for years and struggle the most to let go of. Another important step is to pull out everything you have in each category – all clothes from wardrobes, all papers from office spaces and drawers – and make a big pile, before sorting through, item by item. This is to clearly demonstrate just how much you have, encouraging you to keep a much smaller amount and only the things you really need, enjoy or which are the most meaningful to you.
Only keep items that ‘spark joy’
Although you will naturally tidy up whilst following the KonMari method, the main philosophy behind it is identifying the possessions you own that truly ‘spark joy’ for you, and then discarding the ones that don’t. It’s a methodical approach, and one that Kondo herself admits might seem strange to a western perspective, but holding individual items and tuning into how we feel about them will help create a home full of items we love/need, with the effect of creating more joy throughout your home and, ultimately, your life! As mentioned above, the skill for tuning into what sparks joy for you will be honed slowly as you make your way through all the categories. Don’t forget to thank any items you discard too!
Sort out storage
Kondo has very specific methods of storing items, particularly when it comes to folding things like clothes and sheets – it’s worth looking up videos or tuning into her series to see how she demonstrates this. Storing away clothes in drawers and wardrobes is also key to keeping on top of the organisation. She suggests keeping things visible and within easy reach by standing clothing items upright alongside each other in drawers instead of stacked on top of each other. In kitchen cupboards, garages and when storing smaller miscellaneous items, sort by similar size and use, and use small boxes within drawers and cupboards to keep items organised and separate.
Visualise the life you want
As you tidy, Kondo encourages you to visualise the home, and more importantly, the life that you want to live. What’s clear from her TV series is that a disorganised, cluttered home can have a bigger impact than you might imagine on your quality of life, stress levels and on your relationships with those whom you share your home. Those who she visits often report major improvements to their mood and how harmonious their lives and relationships are after taking time to declutter, as well as how determined and successful they are at keeping their home this way.
Why not give it a go and spark joy with your own spring cleaning this year – good luck!
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