Declutter Your Home the KonMari Way

Updated on December 26, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Sell or give away books you have outgrown or never read.
Sell or give away books you have outgrown or never read. | Source

Decluttering Means Making Effective Choices

Most of us acquire material things as we go through life. They can be useful, like the set of pans your mom gave you when you first left home. They may be forgotten fashion items, like your favorite mini-skirt and platform shoes from the 1970s. Or they could be items that pull at your heart-strings when you look at them; the old photos of your grandparents and the simple drawings you did as a kid. You’ve hoarded all this paraphernalia over the years. Each time you move, you hide them in the attic or in a spare closet. And you never get around to unpacking them until the next time you need to move house.

If this sounds like you, then decluttering can give you extra space. This is where the KonMari Method is useful. It can help you can find not just more room in your cupboards, but could also be the catalyst to help you declutter some painful or uncomfortable life-memories.

Old photographs bring back treasured memories.
Old photographs bring back treasured memories. | Source

What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari method was devised by Japanese lifestyle consultant Marie Kondo. Her job involved visiting client’s homes and advising them on how to clean and declutter their homes. She believes that her method of house cleaning and tidiness leads to an inner calm that will enable you to also reorder and change your life. Decluttering your home using the KonMarie way has a spiritual quality and the method has gained millions of followers.

I was intrigued by the popularity of the KonMari method and the almost religious fervor of its followers. So, I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” to see for myself what the buzz is all about. It contains many practical ideas as well as some more esoteric philosophy (more of which later). The book is an international publishing phenomenon. It’s remained in best seller lists around the world since it was published in 2011. It’s sparked thousands of articles about self-help and has helped millions of people make changes to their lives.

The KonMari Method will not just transform your space. Once you have your house in order you will find that your whole life will change. You can feel more confident, you can become more successful, and you can have the energy and motivation to create the life you want. You will also have the courage to move on from the negative aspects of your life: you can recognise and finish a bad relationship; you can stop feeling anxious; you can finally lose weight.

— Ebury Publishing

Marie Kondo Wants the World to Feel Joy

There comes a moment in all our lives when we find we have accumulated far too much stuff. Your closets are overfilled and untidy or the furniture seems bulky and makes your rooms feel small. Whatever the reason, you resolve to embark on a sorting out of clutter and to only keep items essential to your lifestyle.

Suddenly you find it’s impossible to decide to discard anything. Stored objects that you haven’t used for years have been kept because they have sentimental value; they spark happy or sad memories of a life well lived. Then there are the objects that you are keeping “just in case” they may be useful one day. Decluttering is not as easy as it sounds, unless that is, you use the KonMarie method.

In many western societies people are finding that although they have plenty of material possessions, they lack personal fulfillment and happiness. The KonMarie philosophy encourages them to focus on calming, centering and simplifying all aspects of their lives.

Marie Kondo introduces her readers to the concept of feeling joy from objects that surround them. If you enjoy your living space, she says, you will become more joyful and at peace with yourself. Her ideas have proved very popular especially in the US. She has tuned into the zeitgeist of the 21st century.

The video below shows her as she helps TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones make her day easier. She starts by helping her declutter her purse. Kondo also addresses overfilled closets, the proper way to fold, and how to decide what to remove.

Marie Kondo Reveals Simple Ways to Get Organized at Home

Decluttering and Organizing Tips from KonMarie
1. Tidy not room by room, but by category.
2. Start with things that are easy to tidy and work up to the more difficult ones in the following order; clothes, books, papers, general stuff, sentimental items.
3. Begin by gathering every item from a particular category and put it into a big pile.
4. Hold each item and feel your reaction to it. Only keep items that spark joy; does the item make you feel glad?
5. Lead by example. As you use the KonMarie method you will shine more brightly and contagion occurs. Other family members will follow your habits and the whole house will become tidier.

Basic Folding Method

The philosophy of the KonMari system has something in common with that of mindfulness. The program relies on concentrating on being in the moment. Marie Kondo promotes a basic folding method which she describes in the video below. 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. It is almost a secondary effect that by folding clothes neatly you can save space and store them compactly.

The Proper Way to Fold Clothes

Are you a fan of Marie Kondo and her Method?

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Marie Kondo is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also a best seller in Japan, Germany, and the UK) and was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2015.

— Amazon

My Experience of Decluttering with the KonMari Method

On balance, I found many of Marie Kondo’s tips useful. 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 find the spiritual aspect of her system less inspiring.

She talks about deciding whether items spark joy or not and this may be helpful for some people, but I prefer to use common sense. I know which items of clothing I feel good in and which books I enjoy reading. I don’t need to make that decision based on a “feeling”. Reading her book has motivated me to have a good clear out, a kind of spring-clean out of season. It is a different way of approaching domesticity and cleaning, but I didn’t find that reading the book changed my life.


Submit a Comment

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 11 months ago from SW England

    I'm in the process of moving house so this caught my eye! I do find that I'm a hoarder and the sentimental things are the most difficult. However, I've already taken a pile of books and knick-knacks to the charity shop and I'm in the process of sorting my clothes; slightly more difficult but many went last year so I have to be more brutal this time. I'm guilty of the 'I might need that one day' syndrome!

    Great review of the method. You've spurred me on today as I was flagging a bit!


  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 13 months ago from The Caribbean

    Thank you for this objective evaluation of the KonMarie cleaning system. Sounds interesting, and thanks to you, we now know that the claims may or may not prove true.