World-renowned Japanese organisation consultant, New York Times best-selling author, and one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in 2015,” Marie Kondo has single-handedly transformed the way millions view the act of tidying up their spaces. Her “KonMari” method of decluttering has become a global sensation, consisting of gathering all your belongings, one category at a time, keeping only the things that “spark joy,” and finally storing them properly for easy, organised access. With her tips and tricks, organising any space will be a breeze.
1. Spark joy
The title of her second book and the central component of her KonMari method, sparking joy is the sole deciding factor of which items you should keep or throw away. “It’s important to touch the item and hold it in your hands. When you touch something that sparks joy, your body kind of lightens up a little bit,” she says. As you sift through your belongings, make sure you hold each item for a few seconds and ask yourself if it sparks joy to you.
2. Thank your unwanted items
For those items that do not spark joy, Kondo states that you can discard them with confidence. But while you have most probably weeded through your belongings a few times before, you likely have not thanked your unwanted goods before throwing them away. She emphasises the importance of showing gratitude and respect towards these items for their support and service to you through the years - an appropriate dismissal.
3. Discard first, tidy later
Kondo wants to “not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.” Force your mind to solely focus on the discarding process first instead of figuring out where to put each item you’ve decided to keep. When you do the latter, the former is interrupted and might not even be continued.
4. Organise by category, not location
While most people organise from room to room i.e. “I’ll clean the living room, then the kitchen, then the bedrooms”, Kondo says to do so by category instead. In other words, for example, gather all the books from each room of your house and sort them out as its own category. By organising the way you organise, tidying up does not seem as big of a task. She says that the most efficient order of tidying is as follows: clothes, books, papers, and then miscellaneous items.
5. Folding clothes
Videos of Kondo folding pieces of clothing have garnered millions of views on YouTube. “Folding your clothes is a really good time to talk to your clothes. By touching and feeling them, you can see if they’re getting older or need to be fixed. It’s important to communicate with your clothes,” she says.
To fold a T-shirt, start by smoothing it on a flat surface, communicating your affection through your palms. Gently fold one side of the shirt inwards lengthwise, and fold the sleeve flap outwards. Repeat for the other side. At this point, your shirt should form a long rectangle. Fold the top end of the shirt a few inches below the bottom end. Then, fold into half, and into a third. When an article of clothing is folded correctly, it will be able to stand up on its own.
6. Store things upright
An overstuffed closet makes getting dressed in the morning a big chore, souring the start of your day. So, after your clothes have been folded, do not place them in your storage furniture laying down, but standing up right. This way, you will be able to easily view every article of clothing in your drawers without having to rummage through to find your favourite shirt at the bottom.
7. Tidy in one go
Because things get messy very quickly, tidying in little spritz each day is unproductive. Rather, Kondo says to do it all at once, “I think of tidying as a once in a lifetime festival,” she says. With her mindset, you will be motivated to do as much as you can at one go, viewing organising as an activity to look forward to instead of a heavy chore.
When your living space is organised, your life follows suit. Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, states that, “When people organise and tidy, they feel more powerful. And so if you build that into your life, you feel more confident and in control.”
Furthermore, it’s a special feeling walking into your home knowing everything in it is something you love - or rather, sparks joy to you. So, get ready to have not only your house, but your world, changed with the KonMari method of organisation!