- Questioning whether your items “spark joy” is one of Kondo’s biggest tidying up hacks.
- Feelings of gratitude toward your home, your family, and even your possessions can become stronger using Marie Kondo’s tips.
- Getting everyone in your household can help with tidying and may also lead to an overall better sense of communication and cooperation.
Tidying expert Marie Kondo has built a decluttering empire over time — first as a tidying consultant and then as an author of two bestselling books about her KonMari decluttering process. Her KonMari method is said to help you organize your belongings and change the way you regard yourself, your possessions, and the people you care about.
Now, Kondo has brought her brand of decluttering magic to Netflix and her series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” shows her full process in action. Whether you’re new to KonMari or you’ve read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy” from cover to cover, you might find that the show can inspire you with its organization and decluttering makeovers.
Here are some of the biggest organizing lessons and tips learned from “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
Stay committed to the process and know that there’s an end.
Because each household has individual concerns and collections of items, your process will look completely different from someone else’s. In “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” we see a number of different households from a newly single woman to young, first-time parents with toddlers.
All of these people have different concerns but in every case, they used the KonMari rules to wrangle their possessions and declutter successfully. It may take more than a month if you have a lot of items but the time spent can be worth it and having that end goal in sight is usually helpful for keeping you and your family on task.
Kondo suggests following the KonMari method without skipping steps.
Throughout her decluttering career, Marie Kondo has developed six basic rules for tidying. These simple items are the basis of her brand — but if you apply them to your household, you may just see results.
Marie Kondo’s six rules for tidying are:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category — not location.
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
At first, the idea of “sparking joy” may make you raise an eyebrow — but it makes a huge difference.
Think about the little things that truly give you a little zip of pleasure. Maybe it’s holding a puppy, or wearing your favorite outfit, or styling your hair a certain way. That’s the feeling Marie Kondo encourages everyone to look for when they’re sorting through their belongings.
Touch is a big part of it. If you hold a piece of clothing in your hands and you feel that joy because you remember how good it looks on you, you should keep it. But if it never fit right in the first place, or is the wrong color for your skin tone, it’s probably better off finding a new home. This idea applies to toys, DVDs, kitchen utensils, tools and almost anything else in your home.
Walk through your entire home and pay attention to everything so you’ll know how you want to categorize your items for sorting.
Marie Kondo advises starting with your clothing then working your way through miscellaneous items, documents, and books. She suggests finishing the process with sentimental items so by the time you’re ready to tackle sentimental items, you’ll be more in tune with what truly sparks joy in your heart and how you want to treasure it and give it a proper home of its own within your home.
What “tidying by category” looks like is very different from “tidying by location.”
Instead of going room by room, with Marie Kondo’s rule of tidying by category, you first start with clothes. Have each person in the house gather all of their clothes and put them all into a single pile so you can see everything you have. In many cases, you might be surprised to see just how much clothing you own.
After you see the full scope of everything you have, Kondo suggests deciding what you want to keep, what you want to donate, and what you want to throw away.
Folding is the key to the KonMari method and it can make a huge difference in your wardrobe.
KonMari folding is all about rectangles and folding things into thirds so the item is compact, but the fabric isn’t stressed or stretched out. When clothing is folded this way, the rectangles can stand up by themselves. This makes keeping your drawers organized a cinch.
Plus, the result is pleasant to look at and you can instantly identify where all the items in that drawer are or whether they’re currently in the laundry because they’re not in their correct spot.
If you live in a multi-member household, turn folding clothes together into a habit.
That way, everyone respects their clothes a little more and also, everyone knows where their stuff is. The mental housework burden can be extremely hard on a family’s primary caregiver and working together as a group in this way can go a long way toward creating a less stressed out group that’s happier and more relaxed.
Don’t be discouraged if your home temporarily looks worse while you’re in the process of tidying.
You have to take everything out and examine it to know what you want to keep and what you want to toss. As long as you follow all the steps in the process, Kondo says you can reach the end and your home will be tidier.
Promise yourself a realistic end point — for example, one family on an episode of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” had been in their home for over 50 years. That family will likely have more possessions to sort through than a young couple who just moved into their first home.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t do everything in one day — most people can’t. It might even take over a month, but with a commitment to hard work and an end goal in mind, Kondo says you can do it.
Keep like items together by size in drawers.
In your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, using smaller boxes inside your drawers to corral like items together can make staying tidy a lot easier.
Store things in a way that you can see them.
If you’re putting your items into closed boxes on shelves, try to use clear boxes so you can see what’s inside. This will help you avoid buying multiples of the same thing because you don’t remember that you already have it.
Make sure everything in your home has its own home to return to.
When you walk in the door, having a place to hang up your coat, store your shoes, and place your bag can make a big difference. So Kondo suggests trying to find a certain home for everything within your home.
Don’t store anything you want to keep in big, plastic bags.
Doing so can make it hard to see and appreciate what you have and it can make your belongings feel less valuable. Instead, use clear boxes for everything that will be stored on shelves so that you can see what you have. According to Kondo, small opaque boxes are fine to help organize things that will be stored inside drawers since you will be viewing their contents from the top.
Store things you use more frequently in easier to reach places and things you only use once in a while in harder to reach places.
For example, store your everyday dishes on the eye-level shelves of your kitchen cabinets and store any special or seasonal dishes up high or down low in those more difficult-to-reach locations. That way, you can utilize all your storage space in a sensible, livable way.
When possible, store things vertically.
Kitchen utensils, straws, and other long items can be stored in containers that make them stand upright so they’re easy to see, access, and use.
When you find items that are precious to you in the “sentimental items” category, it’s important to find good ways to store them.
Photos can go in an album or a box, but Kondo says you want to avoid shoving them somewhere and assuming you’ll revisit them later. By confronting all of your possessions head on and finding a permanent home for them, Kondo says you can find the joy of completing your organizing.
Tidying via the KonMari method can help change the way you view your possessions and, by extension, the rest of your life.
You’ll see this time and time again if you watch the series. No matter who’s doing the tidying, it isn’t just about the items you’re rearranging. Each episode of Kondo’s show seems to show just how much tidying your home can improve your quality of life.