Unless you've been living in a remote cabin in the woods for the past few years (in which case, you could still benefit from these teachings), you've likely heard of Marie Kondo. Her bestselling creed on organization and decluttering, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," sparked a revolution, inspiring millions to go through their possessions, discard what they didn't need and pursue a more mindful, organized home life.
If you've ever found yourself looking around your home (especially during quarantine when we're all stuck inside for days on end) and thinking “I need to get rid of some stuff but I don't know where to start," the Marie Kondo Method could very well be for you.
Starting with a brief rundown of the method and Marie Kondo's philosophy, we'll then share step-by-step instructions on how you can start decluttering your home, as well as offering a KonMari checklist so you can keep track of your progress.
In a nutshell, the KonMari Method teaches you to go through your home and organize and declutter it not room by room, but category by category. Marie Kondo recommends starting with clothes and then moving on to other categories like books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally sentimental objects.
In perhaps the best-known and most popular part of her philosophy, as you're going through your possessions, you're supposed to consider each item in turn and ask yourself if it sparks joy within you. Does it speak to the heart for you? Does it bring you happiness? If not, thank the item for its service to you, and discard it (many people choose to donate or give away their non-joyful items during these purges).
Not only does it help you tidy up your home in an organized manner, but it helps inspire “being mindful, introspective and forward-looking," according to Kondo.
Here's a step-by-step guide for how you can follow the Marie Kondo Method, as well as your very own KonMari checklist.
As with all journeys of self-improvement, the first step is to commit to it. Just as you'd commit to losing weight, working out or starting a new hobby, commit to tidying and organizing your home through and through right at the start.
Once you're mentally committed to embarking on this journey, you'll be better prepared to follow-through with it, especially if you encounter objects that you truly no longer need but find hard to let go of.
Then, create a picture in your mind of your ideal lifestyle. What does it look like, and how does organizing and decluttering the home fit into it? What is your motivation for tidying up your living space? How will it improve your lifestyle? How does decluttering help you move toward the optimal version of yourself and your lifestyle?
The answers can vary widely and are deeply personal. For example, a cluttered home can increase stress and anxiety, so having everything neat and organized will help with your mental health.
When organizing and tidying your home, it's easy to get sidetracked along the way. But the Marie Kondo Method calls for staying the course, starting with discarding objects as you go along. It's important to start with getting rid of what you need to discard first before embarking on fully realizing your new home. Think of it as a cathartic release: You can only fully create and realize your new space once everything you don't need is gone.
As you go through each category below and discard the items that don't serve you or spark joy, thank them for their service. Think back on how this object was of use or importance to you, express gratitude for that service and prepare to send it on to its new home and purpose.
If the object wasn't of use to you, think about why and how you can make better choices in the future that better match your lifestyle goals and needs. Not only does this help with the letting-go process, but you'll also have a better sense of what you'll need in the future, as well as how to better utilize what you do have.
One of the key differences of the Marie Kondo Method is that, instead of going through your home and tackling your decluttering project room by room, you to do it category by category. It will help you stay on track and have a better mental picture of how much you have and/or need of each item.
In tidying up category by category, Marie Kondo also stresses that you should follow a certain order:
The KonMari Method stresses that it's important to start with clothing. Gather all your clothes, hold each and think about your history with them. Did you use it often? If so, how? Does it spark joy? If it does, it goes in the “keep" pile. If not, thank it for its service to you and discard it.
Many of us love to assemble huge collections of books. Marie Kondo herself prefers to keep a small selection, but she understands that books are often an exception to the rule when it comes to decluttering and organizing a home, so she simply advises to follow the same advice as to the other categories: Hold each book, see if it sparks joy and act accordingly.
So many papers all scattered about: to-do lists, flyers, pamphlets … if you're the kind of person who can't find it in themselves to get rid of all the papers you have lying around, applying the KonMari Method can help you determine what's essential and important.
This step could take a while, as we all have tons of miscellaneous junk cluttering up our homes, but it's extremely important to sift through it and determine what you actually use, need and sparks joy within you.
This final category is the most difficult to work through. Maybe there's a figurine that your grandmother gave you. Perhaps it's a now-broken souvenir from a favorite trip.
With this step, be gentle with yourself while following the steps and truly listen to what your heart says. If the object in question still truly sparks joy for you, even if you never use it, give yourself the freedom to keep it.
We all have a ton of stuff in our homes. To help you stay on track while going through the KonMari Method and decluttering, we've created a KonMari checklist that you can download, print out and use during your tidying-up odyssey!
As you're going through the Marie Kondo Method, you must ask yourself the key question: Does it spark joy? Does it bring up a wonderful, happy memory? Is it a household item that makes your life easier and more efficient through its utility?
Whatever the reason, if it sparks joy within you, then you can decide to keep it.