For those affectionately nicknamed “Konverts” who have faithfully adapted her methods, Marie Kondo (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) really is a life-changing influence. “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has become enormously popular, and her tips from the show and “The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” can help even the messiest, least-organized people find joy once again in their homes. Here are some of her top tips for getting and staying organized:
1. Make a mess.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but Kondo recommends making a mess before cleaning it. She asks Konverts to empty their wardrobes of every ounce of clothing and tossing them into one big pile on the floor. From there, the clothes can be sorted through and organized, but nothing will go back in the wardrobe without careful consideration.
2. Keep items that spark joy.
If an item doesn’t bring joy, it is time to let it go. If an item doesn’t spark joy, say “thank you” to it for enriching your life at one point, then toss it with no regret.
3. Work in order.
One of the foundations of the Konmari method is a specific order for tidying up and decluttering. Start with clothes, then move on to books, documents, other miscellaneous items and finally mementos.
4. Store clothes side-by-side.
Most people stack their drawers with socks, shirts and pants one on top of the other. The Konmari method instead recommends storing your clothing side-by-side, a method that better utilizes spaces and ensures articles of clothing aren’t forgotten about at the bottom of a pile. The method of folding recommended by Marie Kondo definitely saves room.
5. Practice gratitude.
Kondo’s methods aren’t just for getting rid of clutter; they are also for fostering a positive, grateful mindset. Before discarding any item, she thanks it for being something needed at some point in time.
6. Work together.
Everyone in a household should participate in the cleaning and organization process. Folding clothes together, for example, is an effective way for every household member to take ownership of the process and reduce stress by carrying part of the tidying up burden.
7. Don’t get discouraged.
Staying committed to the steps can be difficult and overwhelming at times, but Kondo (also authored Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up) stresses the importance of staying the course and making time to tidy every day.
8. Corral items.
Small items can quickly become disorganized in spaces like kitchen and bathroom drawers. Keep items together by corralling them in boxes within the drawers.
9. Keep items visible.
Clear boxes are preferred over solid ones because the items inside can be easily seen instead of forgotten. Being able to see what is stored in a box may prevent buying duplicate items in the future.
10. Give everything a home.
According to the Konmari technique, every item in a home should have a place of its own. This makes cleaning and organizing simple and practically mindless.
11. Utilize storage space wisely.
Everyday dishes should be in easy-to-reach spaces in the kitchen, but seasonal items or rarely-used cooking appliances may be stowed away in the back of cupboards or in higher cabinets. If something is used often, it should be in a place where it can be easily accessed.
12. Keep sentimental items that bring joy.
Find a permanent home for sentimental possessions instead of just shoving them into a box where they will be forgotten. If something is worth saving, it is worth having a special place in the home.
13. Respect belongings.
Kondo may sound silly when talking about the feelings clothes have, but she believes that personifying items makes it easier to respect them. If an item brings joy and is worth keeping, it should be respected, not scuffed, stained or wrinkled. Hang it in your closet with pride.
14. Ditch paperwork.
One tenant of the Konmari technique is sorting paperwork into two piles: one to deal with and one to save. Birth certificates and other vital documents are for saving, and recent bills are for dealing with as soon as possible.
15. Separate memories and mementos.
Memories will always be there, even if the mementos associated with them disappear. To Kondo, the memory is the most important part, and holding on to those should not be dependent on keeping scraps of paper, souvenirs or boxes full of possessions.
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