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

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? These days, it’s hard to escape her influence. Between her New York Times best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and her new hit show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, it seems like the guru of cleaning is on top of the world. Somehow, she doesn’t even have an ego about it.

Marie Kondo seems genuinely happy to make the world a tidier place. Her joy and enthusiasm are contagious, and her lack of malice probably helps her clients feel more at ease. Kondo’s new series isn’t your typical home makeover show… rather than ripping apart people’s homes, she gently guides them down a path to a more organized space. The whole process is therapeutic.

Who is Marie Kondo?

The Japanese native got her start with cleaning at a young age. Even in elementary school, Kondo was interested in cleaning and would clean out the closets in her family home and straighten the bookshelves in her classroom rather than going to recess. When she turned 19, Marie Kondo launched her home organizing business despite not having any professional training. She was an instant success.

Kondo’s book has sold more than 8 million copies and been translated into 40 languages. She was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2015, one year after it was published in the United States.

What is the KonMari method?

You may have noticed your social media feed has become filled with tidy drawers and closets thanks to Marie Kondo’s inspiration. But what is the KonMari method, and how can the average person use it to make their house cleaner?

The overarching theme of the KonMari method is that you should do an epic clean sweep of your home in a span of three hours to six months (depending on how much stuff you have, of course). The goal of this exercise is to keep those items that ‘spark joy,’ discard anything that doesn’t, and make sure everything you keep has a place.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done.

What are the steps of the KonMari method?

The unique thing about Marie Kondo’s organizing tactic is that she advocates organizing by category, not by room. The first thing she has clients do is gather everything into a big pile and then sort each item one by one. The client much touch every single thing to determine if it “sparks joy.” Anything that doesn’t offer a feeling of enthusiasm should be thanked for its service, then donated or discarded.

Kondo has a specific order that items should be tied, too. Her clients must begin by sorting clothing, followed by books, documents, komono (miscellaneous), and then sentimental items.

Why does the KonMari method work?

According to Marie Kondo, you only need to do the KonMari decluttering session once to enjoy a lifetime of tidiness. That’s because at its core, it changes your relationship with stuff and you’ll be less likely to purchase items you don’t need anymore. Bonus: this could even save you money in the future.

The reality is that saving things for future use is useless because for 90% of that stuff, someday won’t ever happen. Making space for the things you need daily means you’ll have less stress, less clutter, and more time to enjoy what you really love in life. And isn’t that what we all want?