An international bestseller. A hit TV show. An Emmy nomination. Legions of fans. And a squad of certified tidying Consultants ready to organize the world. Since the publication of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie’s rise has been meteoric.
Yet, through it all, the philosophy behind the KonMari Method™ has remained the same. Wherever you are in your tidying journey – whether you’ve read the books, binged the show or are discovering Marie’s work for the first time – a refresher on her unique tidying method can be helpful.
Tidying is a powerful tool, but it’s not the destination. The true goal of tidying is to clear away clutter so you can live the life you want. When you put your house in order using the KonMari Method™, you have no choice but to listen to your inner voice – because the question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. When you reassess your belongings and organize your home, you set the stage for a huge transformation. This is the magic of tidying!
Tidying Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
A key element of Marie’s philosophy is to tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little. Intermittent decluttering – donating old clothes every once in a while or cleaning out storage bins before a move – may result in brief moments of tranquility but the clutter will always come back.
A true, once-in-a-lifetime tidying festival can take several weeks, though it certainly doesn’t have to. Set aside space and time to do it properly; know that things may feel topsy-turvy in the process, but you’ll come out clearer on the other side.
Before You Begin
The first step in the KonMari Method™ is to imagine your ideal lifestyle. If you’re serious about tidying in a way that will change your life forever, this is the most important step – it cannot be skipped.
Clarify why you want to tidy and what sort of life you want to lead when you’re done: What will your day look like? Who will you surround yourself with? What are your emotional and mental states? These are the sorts of questions to ponder at the beginning of a tidying festival.
Tidy by Category and Follow the Right Order
Tidy by category – not by location. Going from room to room makes it hard to truly comprehend what you own – and will inevitably lead to a rebound.
The order in which you tidy is the secret sauce of Marie’s method. By starting with the easiest category, you hone your decision-making skills and clarify what sparks joy.
This is the order:
- Komono (Miscellaneous items)
- Sentimental items
Gather all of your clothes, for example, from throughout the house – the hall closet, storage bins, underbed organizers, trunks, etc. – and make a huge pile. Once you have every item of clothing you own in one place, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of tidying the KonMari way.
“When you’re choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you're choosing where to store something, ask your house!”
Focus on What to Keep
Marie’s tidying method is about choosing what to keep – not what to get rid of, and this is an important distinction from other techniques. Tidying is about looking forward, so devote your energy into choosing objects that spark joy for you. Here’s how:
- Pick up each item one at a time.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy – you should feel a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.
- If it does, keep it!
- If it doesn’t, let it go with gratitude.
Using the order outlined above, follow these steps – and your intuition – until you’ve gone through all of your possessions, one category at a time.
Discard With Gratitude
Marie believes that tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for things that will be departing from the house. There’s an opportunity to learn from all the things in your life, including the ones that you discard. If you’re letting go of something you’ve used extensively, thank it for its service and for enhancing your life. If you’re letting go of a belonging you never used, it taught that you have no purpose for something like this in your life. Thinking deeply about each item you discard will affect how you live and acquire new things moving forward. They also might spark joy for someone else now – win win!
Give Everything a Home
Clutter is caused by a failure to put things back where they belong. The trick to never reverting to clutter after a tidying festival is to designate a place for each thing – a home for every single one of your items. But remember: Before even thinking about storage, it’s imperative that you finish discarding first!
Store similar items close together and keep storage solutions simple. If you’re not sure where to put something, remember this advice: When you’re choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you’re choosing where to store something, ask your house!
People around the world have been drawn to Marie’s philosophy and the KonMari Method™ not only because they work, but also because of the importance placed on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking. Tidying is a powerful reset – your real life begins after putting your house in order.