A wave of spring cleaning and tidying up has erupted after the release of the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It seems everyone is into The KonMari method of organising their lives.
It seems everyone is into The KonMari method of organising their lives. Because who wouldn’t want a house that looks like this?
Instagram feeds are littered with pics of neatly organised cupboards and strangely folded socks and Twitter has been providing all the relevant memes.
And second-hand stores have been benefitting from the purge of pre-loved, unused items of clothing, books and general household items as people begin cleaning out their homes.
Who is Marie Kondo?
Marie Kondo is a professional tidier. She began her career in Tokyo, Japan at 19 years old. Not long after starting her business, her expertise became so sought after that she was often booked out for consultations months in advance.
Her celebrity status grew in Japan and she wrote her first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book was picked up and reviewed by The New York Times in 2014 which helped kicked off her success in America.
Now the Netflix show “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” has brought the KonMari Method back into the spotlight with thousands of people thanking their underwear, cleaning out their garages and finding joy in socks.
What is the KonMarie Method?
The KonMari Method begins with discarding followed by sorting. Here are the six basic rules:
- Commit yourself to tidy up (depending on your clutter this can take up to six months)
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category, not by location.
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
You will be tidying by category as opposed to working room by room.
Most tidying methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.
The five categories you will be sorting through (in this order) are:
- Komono (miscellaneous items)
- Sentimental items
Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
Clothes are first because you have the weakest emotional link to them compared to your sentimental items.
I also believe that by the time you reach your sentimental items, you are so sick of thanking your things and looking for the joy that you just want to be done with it all.
Tidy up time: discarding
Before beginning, Marie has her clients thank the house for keeping them safe and communicate to it that they are about to begin a tidying up process.
It is as awkward as it sounds.
The first step is to remove everything from your closets, drawers, bookshelf or desk. Once you have created a huge overwhelming pile and realised how much unnecessary crap you have, you go through each item one by one and assess whether it sparks joy.
You have to touch the item. You should feel the same kind go elation that you would if you were touching a puppy however if you don’t know what that feels like don’t worry your sensitivity to joy will be honed and refined as you go through the tidying process.
The lacklustre items must be thanked for their contribution to your life and discarded. This is done to show respect to your belongings.
Try and not to get sucked into the rabbit hole which nostalgia can create. This will cloud your judgement and you will still be sitting with a shoe box filled with all your birthday cards and movie tickets when you are 86 years old.
You know you never look at them unless it is during a tidy up session like this one. You also do not need to save any old t-shirts in case you have to paint the house one day.
Tidy up time: organising
Now you need to put away your remaining possessions. This, like the discarding ritual, needs to be mindful as well.
“Every piece of clothing has its own ‘sweet spot’ where it feels just right–a folded state that best suits that item.” Marie Kondo
Folding is a key element in this system. It is basically origami for clothes and according to Marie, your clothes will be a lot happier for it.
Watch: Marie Kondo Basic Folding Method
Once folded using her method, clothes can then be stacked vertically in your closet. You will be able to fit a lot more clothes in this way.
You will also be able to see your clothes easier and it looks far more aesthetically pleasing.
When hanging your clothes, attempt to line them up from longest to shortest thus creating an upward diagonal line from the hemlines. This will bring you joy.
Clothes that are the same category need to be hung up side by side moving from light fabric toward heavy fabric.
You need to ditch your filing cabinets and digitise your paperwork so scan your documents and then shred them.
Also, get rid of fancy storage boxes and systems as these usually house unnecessary trinkets and items that we do not need. If we have them, we automatically will strive to fill them.
Why the hype?
I started watching the series with immense cynicism and scoffed at the idea of thanking my bra and holding my gym shoes fondly whilst searching for a spark of joy.
There was also no way that this woman was going to get me to lovingly donate my books.
Just 16:32 minutes into the first episode and I had already envisioned my new minimalist lifestyle. I thanked my house and apologized to it for being slovenly and lazy.
By the end of the episode, I had mentally ran through my closets and identified the items I knew hadn’t sparked joy. I was excited to wake up in the morning and bring my family happiness through tidying.
I had already donated my vegetable steamer that was gathering dust. My office had a complete makeover.
I wanted the serenity that Marie Kondo has. Marie is surrounded by a halo of calmness. She is unruffled. Her white clothing does not have a single wrinkle, cat hair or piece of dust.
The families she helped were having epiphanies, reconnecting with each other and taking control of their lives.
Just by living a tidy, minimalist, fuss-free lifestyle. Her methods are mindful introspective and forward-looking – turning simple decluttering into a therapeutic timeout for oneself.
The KondoMari method sells you on the concept of control. There aren’t a lot of things in this world that you have control over but you do have a say over your immediate environment.
This is a very powerful tool to be given.