Does this spark joy?
Spring cleaning. While some may look forward to dedicating an entire weekend to cleaning out their homes (shedding those winter layers, both metaphorically and literally), most of us dread this day. The prospect of rifling through items, figuring out what to keep/discard/donate, and trying to create storage for all of your stuff isn’t always enticing. If you’re anything like me, you have a complicated relationship with your possessions and will even just give up half-way through the entire endeavor.
But what if there was a way you could clean once and never have to do it again? Sounds like a bold claim, right? Organizing guru, Marie Kondo and her revolutionary cleaning method, “KonMari,” will make the dreaded spring cleaning a thing of the past. We’re breaking down the KonMari method here and now.
The Béyonce of Organizing
Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up, launched her international career and the book itself became a bestseller in Japan, Germany, the UK, and the US. To date, she has released two other books, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tiding Up and A Life-Changing Magic: A Journal, created an app which will launch later this year, built a media company, and a made-for-TV movie about her life has aired in her native Japan. To cap it all off, there is a three-month waiting list for Kondo’s magical decluttering services.
What is the KonMari method?
Kondo states in her book, Spark Joy, that there are two skills needed to keep your house in order:
- The ability to keep what sparks joy in you and to discard the rest.
- The ability to keep each item in a particular place and to always put it back.
While these rules might seem simple, it’s her method of deciding what to keep and finding a place for it that gets a little tricky.
When cleaning, Kondo suggests doing it in one fell swoop. Instead of doing it over time, which can lead to thinking you’ve fallen back in love with items or delaying the inevitable, cleaning at one time is like a reset button for your life. When deciding what to keep, remember Marie’s motto: does it spark joy? Traditionally, when we start cleaning, we often think about what we want to keep vs. what we want to give away, but that can lead to us keeping a sweater that we haven’t worn but keep just in case or holding onto a gift someone got you because you feel obligated. To truly know if an item brings you joy and makes you happy, she suggests that we touch each and every item and ask ourselves those questions. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to chuck it.
Putting the KonMari method into action.
Start by discarding all of your items at once and do not start putting items away until you have finished purging. Kondo reasons that by putting things away while organizing you’ll become distracted and that only after you’ve decided what items you want to keep can you decide on how to store them. When choosing which items to discard, do it by category, i.e. pants, shoes, face washes, not by room. Kondo recommends starting with clothes, then books, paper, miscellaneous, and lastly, personal mementos.
Now that you’ve found the items that bring you joy and that you want to keep, that means it’s time to store them, right? Not exactly. After deciding which things you want to keep, Kondo notes that it’s also important to to focus on how you discard the others. If you’re like me, you’ll just put those items you don’t want in a plastic bin from the Container Store and say, “there, I’m done.” To discard an item you must either drop off the item for donation, sell it at your favorite resale/consignment shop, give it away to the friend who has always coveted it, or simply trash it. Either way, the item has to be out of your home before you can move on.
After removing those items from your house, most organizers will set you up with a system based off of a flow pattern or frequency use. Kondo doesn’t believe in these practices and, instead, teaches her clients one thing: return items back to their original place. In her book, she writes, “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 to get them out.”
By using the KonMari method you’ll be able to keep your home and life organized. If you still need a little help, take a look at this fun checklist.