The KonMari Method to decluttering

A messy room equals a messy mind.—M. Kondo

Who would have thought that cleaning could be such an emotional experience?

With her tiny frame and perpetual smile, Marie Kondo makes a difficult task fun. The Japanese professional organizer is known for her emotion-driven approach to sorting out clutter. She has published a bestseller book entitled, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”


Her technique of cleaning has charmed followers for its sentiment and simplicity. Aptly-named the KonMari Method, it basically teaches us to keep things that spark joy in our hearts, and to discard those that don’t.

It’s a pretty cute way of approaching cleaning. Though it does raise some eyebrows, many people insist it works.

With a new show on the popular streaming service Netflix, the techniques of Marie Kondo is beginning to spread through mass media.

For those of us who have no access to this service, however, Marie Kondo is still worth seeking out. From folding clothes to tidying the kitchen, the KonMari method is not just about cleaning, it’s a way of life. As summarized by Youtube personality Kristine Yu, here are some of Marie’s unique but effective tips in organizing a room.

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now.—M. Kondo

Decide what to keep and discard

When it comes to sorting out stuff, Kondo follows a delightful routine especially when it comes to clothes. She picks up the item, holds it close to her skin, and asks a single question: “does this spark joy?” According to her method, items that make you happy are worth keeping. Those that don’t should already be thrown away.

Designate a home for each item

Discarding an item doesn’t necessarily mean putting it in the garbage can. You can “re-gift” the item by donating or giving it away. Each object has a value and may still be reused by others.

(Not) knowing how to fold is a huge loss.—M. Kondo

Tidy by category, not location


Sort your possessions by type in this order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and lastly, sentimental items. Don’t clean by area as you’ll end up cleaning for a while sorting through assorted stuff.

Undecided? Use bins

If you’re having difficulty deciding items to keep or discard, use containers to save the decision for later. Yu recommends three kinds of bins: “keep,” “donation” and “I-don’t-know-yet” bins. You’ll be surprised how quicker deciding would be once you have gone through all your stuff.

Fold as much as possible

Of all the activities associated with tidying up, Kondo seems to regard folding as her favorite.

She says folding allows you to inspect each item and determine if it needs fixing. Hang clothes if you must, but the KonMari method prescribes folding and keeping them in a drawer. Kondo prescribes a special way of folding which compresses the article of clothing and allows it to stand on its own. For socks, she recommends rolling them up.

Marathon tidying produces a heap of garbage.—M. Kondo

Stack vertically

When you keep your folded clothes, Kondo asserts that you pile them side by side. Contrary to popular practice, do not stack them horizontally. This makes sense as you’ll be able to choose clothes without having to rummage through a stacked pile.

Clean in silence

Kondo recommends foregoing background music and organizing stuff in silence. According to her, this practice would allow you to think more clearly to determine items that spark joy. It also eliminates distraction.

While some would argue silence makes sorting items dull, this tip seems to work well when it comes to organizing your sentimental possessions.

Have gratitude for the things you are discarding.—M. Kondo

Say thank you

With every item you go through and discard, Kondo recommends saying a thank you to the object for its rendered service. While this might seem a funny practice, it actually encourages you to appreciate each object and remember good times with it. It makes cleaning a way of thanksgiving.

The KonMari method is quirky and has won both fans and critics. It’s probably safe to argue though that it’s one of the most cheerful approaches to organizing. Though she has registered the KonMari method as a trademark, Kondo doesn’t sell a product—she offers a philosophy. The technique works with other activities as well such as packing for travel and building a makeup kit.

With the KonMari method, organizing your stuff is no longer a chore. It makes decluttering a sacred experience.

Sources:; Krist Soup channel via;; Markus Spiske, Lina Kivaka, via;

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