Natural health, beauty and fashion

PART 2: Using KonMari to Declutter and Spring-Clean

How to use the KonMari method in your home

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You don’t need to feel guilty if your reality of using the method doesn’t match Marie’s exacting plans. Most people for whom the method is a success story do it their own way, and as with most lifestyle guides to pretty much anything, the instructions are a scaffold for you to build on according to your instincts. If your result is the same as intended, don’t get hung up on the fact that you did books after mementos, or some other KonMari sin.

 

“People are drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective, and optimistic.”
konmari.com

 

Exactly how to do it

 

feminine modern desk top

 

From the official KonMari website (her words are in bold), we bring you the outline of the method.

1. Commit yourself to tidying up. Book the day off (or more than one day if you have a large house or are a master hoarder) and mark it in a bold marker on your calendar – don’t allow yourself to forget. You can’t be distracted constantly throughout the day. Make this project your one commitment.

2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. What does your perfect space look like? What will change when you have an organised living space? Will you have room in your life for friends, hobbies, dinner parties, relaxation?

3. Finish discarding first. Don’t waste time with the next three steps by paying attention to trash. If it’s immediately obvious that something should already be in a trash bag, get rid of it now. It will make the rest easier. So empty all the bins in your house, including the recycling boxes, and pick up all the tissues, food wrappers and clothes tags strewed around your house like flotsam on a beach.

4. Tidy by category; not by location. As mentioned in part 1 of this series, Marie recommends that your clutter-purging process follows categories of object, rather than moving from place to place in your house, and for this, you need to…

5. Follow the right order. The order for this, once again, is: clothes, books, papers/documents, miscellaneous (such as makeup and hobby equipment), and mementoes. Hunt each down and pile in the middle of the room before focusing on each item one by one.

6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. This is the core concept and, for some people, the most spuriously new age-y, as it involves holding an item, closing your eyes, and paying close attention to how the object makes you feel. The ones that make you happy, that you can’t do without, that carry genuine meaning, you keep, and the things that leave you cold go straight in the bin. This, of course, does not include essentials, like your toothbrush, dish soap and kettle, unless you’ve got more than one of each for no good reason.

Then there’s the issue of those items you keep out of guilt. Maybe you should have already been using them, or they were a gift, or expensive, or one day you will get around to it; these are all hard to let go of. But Marie insists that these are the things that hold you back. If you feel guilt about a possession, it’s not fulfilling its purpose, and you should be grateful for having had it, and then let it go.

 

 

For mothers of young children:

 

young child and mother reading a fabric book

There are quite a few articles out there complaining that Marie Kondo is out of her mind to suggest that it’s possible to have an organised home and keep your children healthy and happy – that the latter takes priority and the former just never gets done. But these people are overlooking an important part of her ideas. ‘Mess’ is temporary, it’s the bed that needs making, the pots that need doing, etc. That’s all day-to-day management and is a constant source of stress for most people with kids. But her method isn’t about that – it’s about the core of your clutter, the thousands of items you shouldn’t really own in the first place. She’s saying that once this is all gone, the rest becomes easier.

You’ll never have a perfect house and perfect kids, but you can make your life more peaceful by having less possessions that generate the mess and stress in the first place.

Parents, try and get a day free where you can focus on this task. Ask your partner, friend, family member or babysitter to take your kids for at least the greater part of the day, do your research beforehand, make a list of what to do, buy a new roll of bin bags and get to work. If everything has a place, once they pull it out you’ll know where and how to put it back. And again, the less you have, the fewer recipes for mess there will be.

 

 

For your first apartment

 

Colourful bright living room
KonMari doesn’t have to be cold and white

If you are about to move into your first apartment or just have, you’ve got a great opportunity to pave the way for your future lifestyle. One problem you may face is that initial influx of possessions. You scavenge your parents’ house for anything they’ll let you have, you hoard your childhood/college paraphernalia, friends and relatives give you gifts and their second-hand spares of everything, and you’re left with a huge pile of boxes. Your initial instinct will be to keep it all, I know, because you don’t want to feel like a pauper, and somehow those boxes of toddler-age art projects make you feel less worried about the fact that you only own one wastebasket and have to use a plate as a chopping board.

But if you can quiet that initial instinct and listen to the voice of reason, you can sift through it all and use good judgement to create a beautiful first home. Hoarding junk does not save you from lacking necessities in any sense, and once you get rid of the junk you’ll be able to see that clearly. Get yourself sorted now and you’ll be able to focus on throwing yourself into your new life. You’ll have time on the weekends to shop for clever and beautiful items, instead of wasting the day despairing over the never-ending mess. Roll up your sleeves, put on some motivational music and get started. In this situation, it may even help to have a friend with better judgement, who can clearly see that you no longer need that half-finished football team sticker collection orthirty scarves. Seize the day!

 

Tips for making it work with a partner

young man and woman drinking tea

Don’t discount the whole thing if you have a partner, organisation is not just for single people! Though Marie’s books don’t go into detail about it, couples can easily make it work.

 

 

 

Here are some things to keep in mind while you work:

  • Do the ‘purge’ together. If it’s a joint effort you’ll both take it just as seriously.
  • Decide together where and how things should be put away. This will cut down on arguments later; you’ll both be aware of what state the house should be in.
  • Be honest about how things are going to be. If one of you just can’t see vertically-stacked t-shirts becoming a reality, don’t insist on it. You want a realistic level of organisation to allow harmony.


Organisation shouldn’t become a tyranny – that’s sure to drive you apart, and it’s just not worth it. Tidy your home for the joy of the result, never out of desperation or spite.

 

  • Focus on your own items first, and don’t get too involved in their decisions about their own.
  • Don’t say negative things about what they want to throw out if you can help it.
  • Keep all practical items except in the case of redundant duplicates; then you’ll have to decide together which is the best.

 

 

What to do next

 

  • Why not spend a few hours preparing with the official KonMari course by Marie Kondo herself? Search her name on Udemy.com
  • If it’s all too much information or becoming clutter free is too big of a job to tackle by yourself, you can actually hire an official consultant trained by Marie herself. Find out more on konmari.com
  • After you’ve read the books below and completed the process yourself, you might still find yourself preoccupied with the concept. If your fascination sticks, why not complete the process to become a KonMari consultant and have a change in career? Find out how to do it search for seminars on konmari.com

 

Further Reading


young woman reading sitting on a yellow blanket, with tea

Marie Kondo has now published a few books which all discuss the same material, but in different ways.

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever. 
  • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying.
  • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story. 
  • Life-Changing Magic: A Journal: Spark Joy Every Day. 

 

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