‘Tidying Up’: The Easiest Way to Do the KonMari Method at Home

Do you even KonMari?

It seems like these days, all anyone can talk about is how Marie Kondo and her unique decluttering methods will change your life. That may be well and good for some people – but can everyone benefit from tidying up, Kondo style?

The phenomenon began years ago when Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing started achieving worldwide success. First published in the United States in 2014, it quickly became a New York Times best-seller and made Kondo a household name. In 2015, Time named her one of the “100 Most Influential People.”

Now people are obsessed with Kondo all over again thanks to her new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Still, it seems like the strict rules Kondo lives by only apply to some people. Right?

What is the KonMari method?

You don’t have to buy the book to figure out the steps Marie Kondo uses – though it’s certainly helpful if you’re planning to truly adhere to the KonMari method in your life. In it, you’ll find specific tips for organizing every area of your home and instructions for specific tasks, like how to properly fold your shirts.

But even if you haven’t purchased the book, there’s still hope for getting an “A” in the school of Kondo. The KonMari method is wonderfully simple in approach. First, you must evaluate all the items you own. This process could take three hours or it could take six months – your personal journey just depends on how many things you own. The important thing is that you will keep any items that “spark joy,” get rid of any items that don’t (after thanking them for serving you), and then find a place for those things you keep.

It sounds so simple. Even though it’s not.

Who can do the KonMari method?

The first season of Tidying Up on Netflix only has eight episodes, but each is so unique. In one, a young family has too many toys. Another features empty nesters who collect Christmas decorations. Then there’s the woman who has a hard time letting go of her recently-deceased husband’s shirts. Marie Kondo brings peace and healing to each of her clients, proving that literally anyone can use the KonMari method to bring order to their homes.

What are the KonMari steps?

Tackling a house filled with items sounds like a daunting task – especially in that moment that you realize yes, she expects you to dig deep into your closet, garage, and attic, too. Marie Kondo makes the whole thing easier by laying out specific steps to follow while you’re on your decluttering journey.

First, you’ll have to adjust to sorting by category, not by room. So when you start decluttering clothing, you gather every article of clothing you own into a big pile and go through each item one by one. If the piece sparks joy – or gives you a happy feeling – you keep it. If not? Thank it for its service, then donate or discard it.

The order for processing items goes like this: Clothing, books, documents, komono (miscellaneous), sentimental items. It’s important to follow this order because most people have an easier time parting with old ripped sweaters than they do with elementary school art projects. The idea is that once you get to your sentimental items, you’ll have an easier time letting go.

Don’t ever make this KonMari mistake

The one thing Kondo never does? Rush her clients or make them feel badly about how long they’re spending on decluttering. According to Marie Kondo, the full-scale KonMari approach only needs to happen once. After that, her clients have an easier time keeping up with clutter and not allowing things to get out of control.

If you are planning to try the KonMari method at home, it’s important to have patience with yourself. Remember, you spent a lifetime collecting things. It’s unrealistic to believe you’ll be able to clear them out in a day. But with perseverance and persistence, plus a huge dose of Marie Kondo’s inspiration, you can create the calm home you crave using the KonMari method.