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Spring Cleaning the KonMari Way!


Can tidying up be magical? According to Marie Kondo, yes it can! Magical in a life changing way. In her bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, she goes into detail about a cleaning system she developed called “The KonMari Method” (a combination of her first and last name). Inspired by home and lifestyle magazines from the age of 5, she decided at the age of 15 to throw herself into the study of tidying. From this obsession developed a tried and true system of not only decluttering and organizing, but keeping it that way. Her system is so successful that there is a 3+ month waitlist for her consulting services and incredibly not one of her clients has rebounded. Luckily, her book is translated into English, so although you may not be able to hire her all the way from Tokyo, you can buy her book.

“Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.”

How many times have you organized your bedroom and living room, cleaned your kitchen, only to have to repeat the same chore a day or two later? It seems no matter how many times you tidy, the house/office/space always gets messy and has to be tidied again. It’s never ending. According to Marie Kondo you only have to properly simplify (declutter) and organize your home once and you’ll never have to do it again. Seems to good to be true, but as I read through the book I begin to see that perhaps, it is possible.

Zen Approach to Decluttering
According to her website, “The KonMari Method” is widely regarded as a new approach to decluttering based on Japanese values, which includes the spirit of Zen.” Who doesn’t need a bit more Zen? With our hectic lives, it’s important to be able to come home, relax and feel at ease in your living space. An uncluttered, tidy space encourages rest and a peaceful mind. An organized work space encourages efficiency, rather than adding stress to stress. Decluttering and organizing not only changes and lifts your physical surroundings, it also lifts the mind and spirit. Marie Kondo says don’t be surprised if your life is transformed from decluttering and organizing, as it is guaranteed to have a positive effect on you, your work, life, friends and family.

Focus on what “Sparks Joy”
Usually when cleaning and organizing, we focus on what to get rid of. Marie Kondo says to focus on what to keep and only keep the things that are necessary and spark joy. Creating a space “where we appreciate all the things that support us … a place where there are no unnecessary things and our thoughts become clear.”

Once the difficult challenge of discarding and only keeping those things that bring you joy is complete, the next step is to organize and find a place for everything. Even down to the contents of what you carry around in your purse. Organize everything so that there is a specific place in cupboards and drawers, arranged in a way that everything can be seen at a glance.

Category by Category
Most of us organize our homes room by room, the KonMari Method organizes by category, and in a specific order. Clothing, books, papers, dishes, etc. She takes you through each category and offers step-by-step advice. Some large categories, like clothing, she breaks down into subcategories (handbags and shoes are included in this category):

-Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.)
-Bottoms (pants, skirts, etc.)
-Clothes should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
-Bags (handbags, messenger bags, etc.)
-Accessories (scarves belts, hats, etc.)
-Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, kimonos, uniforms, etc.)

Courtesy of bucktoothmama.com

The next step is to start with one subcategory, lay it ALL out in one place so you can see everything. Handle each and every item with your hands and ask yourself “does this bring joy into my life?”. Once you’ve discarded all those things that don’t truly bring you happiness (like that shirt you don’t really like and will never wear, but can’t get rid of because your sister gave it to you/you paid so much for it/will fit into again one day), she then gets down to the nitty gritty of how to store things, down to what should be hung and what should be folded, even a specific (some say revolutionary) way to fold your clothes and how to stack them vertically (side by side, rather than piled). And then you move on to the next subcategory.

Change Your Life
In her own words: “My clients never go back to [being] messy, because they have been transformed to an organized person.” (Check out her talk on google: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1-HMMX_NR8)

If you’re tired of organizing and reorganizing and would like to try a new method, I  recommend reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. Put your “cleaning duties” on hold for the moment and take some time to read through the book. Once you’re armed with her arsenal of tidying tips, set your mind to it and take your spring cleaning to a whole new level!

I’ll leave you with some words Marie Kondo posted recently on her Instagram account: “Once you #tidyup for good, you can devote your time and energy to true passions and live the life you’ve dreamed of. What would you do if you had more free time each day?”

Food for thought.

Official website: http://konmari.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/konmari/

Spring-Cleaning-BlogPS: I just saw her second book “Spark Joy” for sale at Wholefoods. From what I’ve read online this second book is an  “in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections.”


Here’s a little infographic summary of the KonMari Method. Courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/57702438953148078/