Cleaning, Organizing, and Decluttering the KonMari Way

Updated on June 27, 2020
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Scientist and author, Beth enjoys living life in the slow lane. She takes time to enjoy the little things in life.

Marie Kondo says you should only keep possessions that give you joy.
Marie Kondo says you should only keep possessions that give you joy. | Source

What is the KonMarie Method?

The KonMarie way is named after Japanese lifestyle influencer Marie Kondo. She advises clients on the best way to clean and declutter. She believes that a clean and tidy house leads to an inner tranquility.

Her teachings are akin to mindfulness, and result in a kind of spiritual renewal that enable you to reorder and change your life. Whether or not you agree with her, there's no doubt that Marie Kondo’s method has touched a nerve for millions of people around the world.

Marie Kondo’s Tips For Tidying-Up

  1. Tidy by category not location. Think big, not room by room.
  2. Easy things first then more difficult. Tidy-up in the following order; clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous stuff, and finally, sentimental items.
  3. Be organized. Collect every item from a particular category and put it into a big pile.
  4. Feel the joy. Hold each item and feel your reaction to it. Only keep items that spark joy; does the item make you feel happy?
  5. Be thankful. Before discarding anything, thank it for being a part of your life.

Marie Kondo's bestseller "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" has sold more than 9 million copies world-wide.
Marie Kondo's bestseller "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" has sold more than 9 million copies world-wide. | Source

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up

Successful author and enterpreneur Marie Kondo has written several books about tidying and cleaning. The best one is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. This was her first book and achieved immediate success, racing up the bestseller lists right around the world.

Her books embrace a Zen-like philosophy; tidy your closets and your life will also become more ordered. Her advice is full of practical ideas as well as some more esoteric philosophy. She has an almost religious following from many of her fans.

The book about decluttering and organizing is an international publishing phenomenon. It remains in bestseller lists even though it is now several years since the original publication date. It’s sparked thousands of articles about self-help and millions claim it has helped them make big changes to their lives.

Before and After Extreme Decluttering

My Experience of Decluttering with the KonMari Method

I found many of Marie Kondo’s tips useful. I didn’t expect to be touched by her magic, but I was. Her way of sorting possessions category by category, makes a daunting task more manageable. She has some good ideas about how to make the most of limited storage space. And I like the way she focuses on creating a calm home environment.

However, I found the spiritual aspect of her system less captivating. She talks about deciding whether items spark joy and thanking discarded items for their contribution to the household. This may be helpful for some people, but I find the concept of treating items as if they had a soul slightly spooky. I prefer to use my common sense when deciding what to keep and what to give away. I know which items of clothing I feel good in and which books I enjoy reading. I don’t need to make those decisions based on sensing joy.

On the plus side, reading this book has motivated me to have a good clear out, a kind of Spring-clean out of season. It’s a novel way of approaching domesticity and cleaning, but in all honestly, reading the book has not changed my life. However, there were many gold nuggets of useful information hidden within its pages and I found it a good read.

Top 20 Marie Kondo Tips for Tidying Up and Decluttering

Mindfulness and the Art of Folding

The philosophy of the KonMari system has something in common with that of mindfulness. The program relies on concentrating on being in the moment. She says you need to be aware of the feel of the fabric as you fold the clothes.

She believes the action of folding is a way of demonstrating your love for the clothes and the protection and happiness they bring you. In her view it is almost a secondary effect that by folding clothes neatly you can save space and store them compactly.

What is the KonMari Checklist?

A decluttering and tidying checklist; the KonMari way of getting organized.
A decluttering and tidying checklist; the KonMari way of getting organized. | Source

Marie Kondo Wants the World to Feel Joy

You’ve hoarded surplus stuff for years. Each time you move, you hide it in the attic or in a spare closet. And you never get around to unpacking all these things until the next time you move home. Marie Kondo’s philosophy encourages you to tidy your life and living space by only keeping the things that you need and give you pleasure.

She introduces the concept of your feeling joy from your possessions. If you enjoy your surroundings, she says, you will become more joyful and at peace with yourself. As well as writing further books about decluttering, Marie Kondo now tours the world giving lectures about her life-changing philosophy.

A Good Choice For Book Clubs

I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up because I kept seeing items about it online and in magazines. I'm a member of a reading group and each month we take it in turns to choose the next month’s book. It’s a great way to meet old friends and make new ones. Discussing a book you’ve all read makes even the shyest person come out of their shell. I enjoy being introduced to novels and non-fiction that I would not otherwise have read.

In order to keep the group's conversation going, it’s useful to have a few questions prepared ahead of the meeting. I give a few suggestions below and I’m sure you can think of some more for your own discussion.

Does the KonMari Method Work? Reading Group Questions

Good questions provoke lots of discussion and differing views. Be prepared to have your views challenged, and think about how you will explain your opinion of the book. There are no right or wrong answers and you may be surprised at how varied the views of this book are within your reading group.

  1. Did you enjoy reading this book? Explain why or why not.
  2. Is this a book about cleaning or is it about a lifestyle philosophy?
  3. Did the book encourage you to review your own life goals? If so, what will you change?
  4. Would you recommend the book to others?
  5. Do you think the KonMari method really works? Why or why not?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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