‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’: What is the KonMari Folding Method?

Have you heard of Marie Kondo’s life-changing KonMari folding method?

With her New York Time’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and a new hit show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the organizing guru has managed to inspire millions to finally clean out their closets and fold their garments in a way that sparks joy every time they open their dresser.

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo’s KonMari folding method keeds clothes organized. | Marie Kondo via Instagram

We know, we know — what does folding your clothes have to do with creating joy? And, trust us, we thought the same. But, as it turns out, the KonMari folding method is not just about putting your laundry away.

What is the KonMari folding method? Find out, plus more on Marie Kondo’s organizing movement.

What is the KonMari method?

Before getting to the KonMari folding method, it’s important to understand the KonMari method itself. The KonMari method consists of a set of principles to follow, as well as a checklist — so you don’t miss a corner of your house. In short, it is a minimalistic, thoughtful way of approaching your belongings. It’s not just about getting rid of stuff, it’s about acknowledging why the stuff is there, thanking it for serving its purpose, and moving on to a less cluttered life.

Sounds easy enough, right? But, here’s the catch: If you tend to project your emotions onto random objects (don’t we all), the process can feel like a roller coaster. Clearing out items that aren’t all that sentimental, but feel sentimental in the process, is half the battle. However, if you can overcome your need to hold on, you can really turn your space around and experience the life-changing magic of tidying up.

Here are the tips Marie Kondo swears by when decluttering, plus her infamous KonMari checklist.

Commit to a more organized life:

Making the commitment is a big step. But, Marie Kondo doesn’t just ask that you commit to clearing out clutter, she asks that you commit to continuing to live a KonMari-approved life. Because, what’s worse than having to go through and organize every. single. belonging. once? Doing it all over again.

Think about how being a ‘neat’ person will change your life:

For those that don’t mind clutter — think about how it might change your life if you did. You might not realize it, but getting rid of stuff and living in a more organized environment might make a huge difference in your life (even if you don’t choose to see it now). After you’ve committed to the process, consider the positive changes that come with. That will only motivate you to keep going when you’re knee deep in old clothes.

Get rid of things first:

Before you can organize, you must declutter — aka, get rid of the stuff. Following the KonMari checklist (below), work through each item by first getting rid of things that don’t bring your joy and then organizing what’s leftover.

It’s all about the category, not the location:

In KonMari, it’s not about cleaning out a specific closet and then moving onto the next. It’s about cleaning out a specific category. So, if you have clothes in various closets, go through them all at once, then organize at once too.

Follow the checklist in order:

The checklist isn’t just a list of categories to cover, it’s a game plan for what you should cover first, last, and in between. To stay on top of your tidying up and ensure success, follow the order.

Find joy:

Finding happiness from your items is a big part of the KonMari method. If an item doesn’t bring you joy, hold it in your hands and thank it for serving its purpose. Then, keep only the items that make you smile.

KonMari checklist

Need help getting started? There’s a checklist for that. The KonMari checklist consists of five categories, designed to help you get through the thick of all your belongings. Here are the categories and the order in which you should follow.

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Kimono (miscellaneous items)
  5. Sentimental

What is the KonMari folding method?

Once you’ve decluttered your clothing, it’s time to put everything away. Marie Kondo is not against hanging items in a closet, but she believes that clothing is much happier folded neatly in a drawer — and has a special KonMari folding method to make the art of putting away laundry (and creating an outfit) much easier. Here’s how to fold your garments the KonMari way.

Socks

Instead of folding socks over each other and tossing them into a crumpled ball in your drawer, fold them neatly to maximize space and know what you’re working with. Here’s the KonMari socks folding method:

  1. Place socks on top of each other
  2. Fold the toe upwards, about an inch or two under the ankle
  3. Fold in half, then in half again so that it stands up

Underwear

There’s no reason for your underwear drawer to look like a bomb went off. To keep everything neat, Marie Kondo recommends folding underwear with her special KonMari folding method.

  1. Lay your underwear flat
  2. Pull the crotch to the waistband (lengthwise)
  3. Fold the sides in so it creates a square
  4. Fold the crotch to the waistband once more so that it stands up

T-shirts

Folding T-shirts the KonMari way makes it easier to see what you own and not “lose” items in your drawer. Here’s the life-changing magic of folding tees.

  1. Lay your T-shirt down flat
  2. Fold the right side inward
  3. Fold the right sleeve back halfway
  4. Repeat with the left side
  5. Fold the neckline down towards the hemline with an inch of space between each
  6. Fold in half, then in half again so that it stands

Sweaters

Folding T-shirts might seem easy, but folding long sleeves and sweaters can feel a bit confusing. Here’s how to get your sweaters to consolidate and stand up.

  1. Lay your sweater flat with the sleeves spread outwards
  2. Fold the right side inward with the sleeve spread out towards the left
  3. Fold the sleeve towards the right and downward in the shape of a triangle
  4. Do the same on the left side
  5. Once you have a rectangle, start folding down from the top (kind of like a roll) until it stands

Pants

There is a special way to fold your pants and jeans, too! Here’s how Marie Kondo prefers to fold pants in a dresser.

  1. Lay your jeans down flat with the buttons facing up
  2. Fold the left leg on top of the right
  3. Fold the crotch in
  4. At the ankles, fold inward once, stopping at the crotch
  5. Fold inward from the bottom (in that same “rolling” notion) until it stands

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