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Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method: Tips on Tidying Up

Marie Kondo method The KonMari method to decluttering your home like a pro
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Norbert Levajsics

Marie Kondo’s influential best-seller revealed a subtle truth to being happy: Possessions aren’t the key. Her KonMari method helps to downsize your possessions and declutter your home like a pro. Nowadays, Marie Kondo is busy making her method work for even more people on her own Netflix series hit “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

The process of tidying up isn’t generally the highlight of anybody’s weekend. Yet, the feeling of relief after having your home clean and tidy again makes it all worth it. But anybody knows our homes don’t often stay clean for long. Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo has developed a method to cleaning that will change all that.

Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method: Sort First.

Marie Kondo KonMari method step 1 sort your belongings
When it comes to decluttering your home using the KonMari method, the first step is to figure out what to keep and what can go. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Dorweiler)

In her best-selling book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” Marie Kondo presents a method to making lasting positive lifestyle changes through thorough decluttering. Her KonMari method – the name is a clever combination of her first and last names – is relatively simple.

The first step to the KonMari method is sorting things out – and Marie Kondo means getting rid of them for good. Only once you’re through with this first step can you move on to Step 2: Find a place to keep the possessions you want to keep.

Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”

Marie Kondo’s method: First things first, sort your belongings. Whatever’s left after deserves a permanent place in your home.

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Marie Kondo’s Method: The Key to Decluttering

So how do you best apply the KonMari method when deciding what goes? According to Marie Kondo’s method, it’s time to toss anything that’s broken, belongs to a set of items that is no longer complete, things you’re no longer fond of or objects leftover from passed occasions that are of no further use.

Marie Kondo’s method to organizational bliss takes decluttering one step further: The KonMari method states that we can only really be happy when we surround ourselves with possessions that make us happy. Makes sense, right?

In her best-selling book on the art of decluttering, Kondo highlights one significant factor that should guide our decision whether to keep or toss a particular item: Its ability to spark joy in us.

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

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KonMari Method Tips: Sort in Categories Instead of Rooms

KonMari Method sort by categories and not by rooms
When you sort your possessions by category, you get a better idea of how much of one (or similar things) you already have! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Hutomo Abrianto)

When we set out to tidy up our homes, we usually begin in one room and slowly make our way to the next. Marie Kondo’s method to tidiness takes a different approach: With the KonMari method, you sort objects into categories all at once. This provides a more adequate overview of your belongings and makes it easier to decide what goes and what stays.

Marie Kondo’s KonMari method suggests gathering all of your belongings together from all corners of the house, sorting these into categories – such as clothes, shoes, etc. – and piling them up in one place. The next step involves sorting out the items that “spark joy”.

According to Marie Kondo, you only really realize the sheer amount of what you own the moment it’s sitting right in front of you. The “shock” this realization leaves you with has it’s own healing properties.

The KonMari Method: Step-by-Step

In order to stay on target with Marie Kondo’s approach, the KonMari method works in stages: First come kitchen utensils and the like, then clothes, then the books, writing utensils, small items and then keepsakes or items with sentimental value.

In the first round of sorting using the KonMari method, you begin with the categories of items which are the easiest to get rid of. Gradually, you build momentum up towards the more difficult categories. When it comes to decluttering with Marie Kondo’s approach, practice makes perfect.

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Declutter Like a Pro: All Things Have Their Place

Declutter with the Marie Kondo method KonMari method everything has its place
Once you’ve decluttered using Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, everything in your home will find its place. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - tu tu)

When it comes to tidying up and organizing your room, Marie Kondo says we should only have to take time out to do it right once. Successful decluttering means you’ll never have to spend more than a couple minutes at a time tidying up again. The trick is simple: Everything in our home has its place.

“Just as we like to come home and relax after a day’s work, our things breathe a sigh of relief when they return to where they belong.”

In other words, being and staying tidy is repetitive routine that should get easier and easier as time goes on – the KonMari method is just the first step.

Material Mindfulness

KonMari method practice material mindfulness
Practice mindfulness through your daily life and you’ll come to realize the absolute essential role your possessions play. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Amanda Vick)

In order to maintain that rewarding feeling of coming home to a clean and tidy home, Marie Kondo’s methods reminds us to practice mindfulness when it comes to our material possessions. The KonMari method values gratitude for each item we choose to keep close throughout our daily lives.

“It is very natural for me to say thank you to the goods that support us.”

This may take a bit of getting used to. Remind yourself daily of the benefit you reap from the items you own and you’ll automatically treat these items with greater care, thus making them last longer. And in turn, this prevents us from consuming more in the future.

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The KonMari Method: Declutter Your Life

In her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” Marie Kondo provides numerous insightful tips on decluttering your home – a crucial step towards minimalist living. The KonMari method also shows how mindfulness and minimalism go hand in hand.

“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

You can find Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” on the KonMari method and additional tidy-tips to live by at your local bookstore or on Amazon**.

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Netflix Series: “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo Netflix Series KonMari method at work
See for yourself what Marie Kondo’s KonMari method looks like in practice in “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” on Netflix. (Photo: Screenshot "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" Netflix Trailer)

Marie Kondo’s book on her KonMari method to decluttering and home organization has sold an impressive 10 million copies worldwide. Kondo has since moved to California where she is now working as a organizational consultant.

Her U.S. career began advising tech companies. Now Netflix is on board with an eight episode series: Watch Marie Kondo help American families from all over the country put the KonMari method to work and improve their lives in “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo“.

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This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Magic Cleaning: Richtig aufräumen mit der Methode von Marie Kondo.

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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