Here’s How to Declutter the Marie Kondo Way

Marie Kondo is a celebrity of tidying, and yes, it turns out that is a thing.

Her “KonMari” method of simplifying and organizing the home led to the runaway bestseller –The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This article discusses her KonMari method and how to declutter the Marie Kondo way!

What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari Method is Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room. There are six basic rules to get started:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.

And five categories to tackle:

  1. Clothes
  2. Bookes
  3. Papers
  4. Komomo (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items

While many people associate her method with tidying, it’s really about discarding items that lack value. To determine what makes the cut, Kondo has you start by removing everything out of your closets and drawers (category one), all the books off your shelves (category two), all the paperwork out of your desk and bins (you get the idea). Once you have a big pile, you’re to go item-by-item and consider if it sparks joy.

While Kondo admits that this can feel awkward or unnatural at first, she assures readers and viewers that you’ll get better at recognizing what sparks joy as you go. Once you’ve tossed items in every category, you should have a much smaller set of remaining items that you can return to various closets, drawers, shelves, and boxes. Note that you’re to finish one category before moving onto the next one.

Because you’re actively choosing items that spark joy, and discarding what doesn’t, the intention of the KonMari method is to end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity to your life. While tidying, she encourages you to visualize the life you want to live — to be less stressed, for example — and what you need to get there. Anything that won’t help on that journey isn’t deserving of your space or you, she says.

Does “KonMari” mean something?

There’s no deeper meaning here: KonMari is simply the combination of Marie Kondo’s first and last and first name. Kondo trademarked the term because, well, it’s her name (and genius idea!).

What is the KonMari folding method?

Kondo has very specific guidelines for how to properly fold clothes. Watch this video to learn how to fold clothes the KonMari way.

It’s actually the way you store clothes that makes a difference. Leaving clothes in a stacked pile — no matter how neat — makes them hard to reach and even harder to see. Instead, stand clothes upright to help you stay true to Kondo’s idea of appreciating items through touch and use.

This helpful video by Lavendaire gives you a step-by-step guide for folding trickier items like bulky sweaters and hoodies:

What is the KonMari checklist, and do I need it?

In Kondo’s book Spark Joy, you’ll find a guide that’ll help you decide what to keep and what to toss across a comprehensive list of categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, and even digital photos. So if you think of yourself as generally indecisive, then yes, this checklist will make your process of tidying up go much faster. It also covers how to fold just about everything, from dress shirts to socks.

Happy Organizing!