Marie Kondo had been a Japanese organizational expert for years when her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, became a sensation in 2015. Now, thanks to her Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, her popularity is growing yet again.
Based on the sheer number of books, videos, and experts that promise to bring organization to your life, America has a problem with space and clutter. Part of the reason why Kondo has become so popular is because she simultaneously teaches people how to create an ideal living space that suits their needs and does it without shaming or judging clients.
Kondo’s process, which she has named the KonMari™ Method, is different than conventional clutter clearing. She also focuses on what makes you happy so unlike other organizational experts, she doesn’t insist that you purge your collections or precious belongings. She wants you to distinguish between what you really love and things you’re just keeping.
What is the KonMari™ Method?
KonMari™ Method is practical while also addressing both the psychological and emotional aspects of clutter. We hold onto items because of our connection. The KonMari™ Method process is:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
Too often attempts to clean up space are half-hearted or done out of guilt. Kondo’s first step is to truly commit to tidying up your life so you are sufficiently motivated.
- Imagine your improved lifestyle.
Fitness experts, Olympic coaches, success consultants, etc., all advocate the power of imagination to enhance results. Athletes who mentally practice winning in addition to physically practicing do better than ones who do only physical practice. Similarly, Kondo advises clients to imagine their ideal living space and lifestyle before they begin tidying as further motivation for getting it done. How would your life change if you were consistently neat and organized?
- Start by category, not location.
Most decluttering experts talk about working on the bedroom or kitchen, etc., whereas Kondo says to start with a given category of belongings, regardless of where it resides in your home. So you would begin with clothing and bring together all clothing whether it’s in your bedroom, coat closet, etc.
- Follow the right order.
Through years of practice Kondo found that it works best to handle categories of items that have the least emotional attachment first and work your way up to items with the most attachment. That way you have practice and have seen progress before getting to the really hard stuff.
- Discard before organizing.
In the KonMari Method™ you gather all items of one category, such as clothing, go through each item and decide whether to keep it or not. Only after reviewing each item do you begin to organize what is left.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Kondo is sometimes mocked for telling clients to hold items and ask if they “spark joy,” but it’s surprisingly useful. An old adage says that everything in our lives should either serve a purpose or make us happy. Kondo believes the two are not mutually exclusive. So maybe a kitchen utensil doesn’t excite you but another one that is difficult to operate might make you grumpy. If so, get rid of it. The main point is to eliminate items that make you feel guilty, annoy you, remind you of bad past experiences, are difficult to use, etc. Those items definitely do not spark joy.
The five categories of the KonMari™ Method are:
D. “Komono” (meaning miscellaneous items)
E. Sentimental items
Three Types Of Paper Should Not Be Discarded
A few things are essential to keep regardless of whether they spark joy or not, especially in the paper category. Kondo says three types of paper should not be discarded:
- Paper that needs attention, like bills to pay, forms to sign, etc.
- Paper necessary for short-term issues, like tax documents, current warranties, etc.
- Paper needed indefinitely, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, etc.
For other items, it’s about keeping the version that makes you happiest. So toilet paper may not “spark joy,” but it’s necessary so get your favorite kind within your budget constraints.
Store Easily with Box&Co
Until you can KonMari your belongings – or maybe you have items that spark joy that don’t fit your current living space – Box&Co can make things incredibly easy for you with our on demand storage. With our pickup and storage, all you have to do is ask for storage containers and we’ll deliver them. Whether it’s for your home or you’re in need of college storage boxes we can help with any process. You pack your items and when you’re ready, we’ll pick your stuff up and store them. We’ll return your items when they’re needed, and you can keep track of your stored items online. To learn more, contact us today.