If you have access to the internet or binge-watch Netflix (who doesn’t), chances are you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, the empress of tidying up. This tiny powerhouse, measuring in at just under five feet tall, first exploded in 2011 with her New York Times bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is currently sold out just about everywhere.
Expanding her empire, Marie trademarked her signature KonMari method, published three more books, was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2015 and now stars in the Netflix hit show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” in which she helps American families learn what “sparks joy” so they can declutter their homes and in turn, their lives.
The KonMari Method
Inspired by Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, KonMari is a tidying method in which organization and cleaning is viewed as spiritual practice. The method teaches tidying by category, beginning with clothes, then books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally, sentimental items. The main idea is to keep items that speak to the heart and “spark joy” and toss everything else.
This category is a doozy and requires you to round up all of your clothing (and yes, I mean all) and put it into one giant pile. All those clothes you bought on an impulse thinking you would surely wear add up, don’t they? Most people have no idea just how much stuff they’ve accumulated over the years until staring at it in one giant pile on the floor, much less picking up each individual item to determine its “spark” value. I don’t know about you, but I was surprised by how many clothes didn’t spark joy.
So, how do you keep the clothes from piling up? Folding is serious business in KonMari, and Marie suggests the rectangular folding method so clothes face up and you can see everything in the drawer at a glance. Seeing everything this way really does help! We all have those moments where we literally handtoss an entire stack of tanks one by one looking for the right one, only to find what we were hunting for at the bottom of the pile. Well, no more because now you can see them all!
The Books, Paper, and Sentimental categories aren’t as labor intensive, but the Komono category is another doozy because if you’re anything like me, most everything in your home falls into this category: kitchen wares, household items, electronics, valuables, bathroom items (you won’t believe how many concealers definitely did not bring me joy), and more.
Much like the clothing category, tidying up these items has a lot to do with how they’re stored: storing like-sized items together, standing things up so they’re visible, and using compartments within drawers to store like items. And remember: if that coffee mug you bought on a whim doesn’t give you joy, say goodbye!
A word of advice
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t worry, you’re in good company. The process doesn’t happen overnight. Even on the show, the process usually lasts a month or so. Is it for everyone? Who knows. But it’s a new year and a new you, so give KonMari a shot and don’t get too discouraged. There’s a lot to take away from Marie’s outlook on tidying up your home and as a result, your life.
Originally featured on My Red Glasses
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