Unless you’ve had no contact with the outside world for the last 5 years, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method™ of organization. She has shaken up the world of home organization (asking questions like “Do your socks spark joy?”), creating an empire (well-organized, I’m sure) that includes books, a Netflix series, certified consultants, and advice on topics ranging from your email inbox to your ideal lifestyle. Marie Kondo is more than a person or a company, she’s an international phenomenon based on the simple but powerful idea that if you live in a tidy space with only those items that spark joy, you will transform your life for the better.
What’s The Difference? It doesn’t matter how you organize and de-clutter as long as you get rid of stuff you don’t need, right? Maybe not. Traditional organization strategies take a room-by-room or space-by-space (think hall table or kitchen counter) approach. Kondo’s method focuses on categories, starting with clothes, and moving through books, papers, and komono (miscellaneous items), before finally dealing with items of sentimental value. The theory is that you deal with each category throughout your home, and avoid the frustration of de-cluttering one area, only to have it fill up again. The second key part of her method is being mindful as you decide what to keep and what to let go. She uses the concept of sparking joy to describe the way you should feel about items you decide to keep. More on this later.
Getting Started. There are six basic rules to follow when you decide to tidy your home the KonMari way. 1. Commit yourself to tidying. 2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. 3. Finish discarding first. 4. Tidy by category, not by location. 5. Follow the right order. 6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. Once you’ve truly made the commitment, and have a vision of your tidy life, you can start on the mechanics of de-cluttering and organization.
Does It Spark Joy? This may be the one concept that has raised the most questions. As you decide what to keep and what to let go, you are supposed to touch or hold each item to see if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, you thank it for its service and decide what happens to it (donate, trash, sell) when it leaves your home. I’ll confess now. I have not followed through on tidying my own home, but I do understand that some of my belongings speak to me, whiles others simply exist. I’m not sure I could ever get to the stage where everything in my home sparks joy. I like the toaster. It does what it’s supposed to do. I’m not going to get rid of it because it doesn’t make me happy. However, it does add value to my life by making toast, so maybe that’s enough joy.
I Can’t Even. You want to do it. You can see what your home would look like without half of the contents. You can envision the serenity of your new life. But you can’t face the actual work. There’s an answer for that. A certified KonMari consultant will bring the process to you. On the other hand, maybe you’re simply skeptical. You may want to dig deeper by reading the books and/or watching the series to see if you are inspired to try the approach. If it still doesn’t appeal but you want to cut the clutter and get organized, here are more options.
But Wait, There’s More. Once you’ve successfully followed the program, Kondo has suggestions for organizing what you’ve kept, including ways of folding your clothing, organizing bags, packing your suitcase, dealing with your junk drawer, and just about anything else you can think of. (I definitely need the tutorial on tidying my desk.) Are you ready to KonMari your home? Let me know how it goes with your socks.