Spring Cleaning: Decluttering Tips from Marie Kondo

Spring is here and that means it is the perfect season to declutter your home and freshen up your space. In recent years, decluttering has been elevated to nearly an art form, with one of the leading perspectives in organization being the best-selling author, Marie Kondo.

Kondo has written two best-selling titles that were spawned by her work as a professional organizer in Japan, and she’s starred in her own hit show on Netflix. Fans of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” advocate for the thoroughness and rigor to find and organize the objects that are most important to a person’s life. Her “KonMari” method of tidying and sorting has swept the world with its simplicity and effectiveness.

Thank Your Belongings

Kondo’s methods take dedication, but they also have a gentle side.  Over the course of getting organized, Kondo asks people to take stock of every single item they own, see if it has a functional purpose and even more so, if it “sparks joy”. Sparking joy means that the item is part of what you enjoy about your home and the way you live. If an object does spark joy, Kondo encourages you to keep it in your life and find a good place for it in your home. However, if the item isn’t serving your life and making it better, you’re going to have to part ways with it.

Kondo’s approach to getting rid of possessions is empathetic. She asks people to think about why and how an object came into their lives.  If they are getting rid of an object, she asks them to thank it for the role it played in their life before letting it go. Although this may sound a bit far out, it has its basis in Kondo’s practice of Shintoism and is practical for dealing with the emotional attachments we make with objects. Thanking items helps people who have trouble downsizing things that they see as still useful and lets people honor objects that they don’t need but which they associate with a memory or feeling.

Don’t Hide Your Possessions

Kondo is also adamant about organizing the items you own in a way that doesn’t hide things from view. From your junk drawer to your closet, Kondo encourages organizing your possessions so everything is given plenty of space and can be easily located. Kondo’s methods include special clothing folds that favor items lined up rather than stacked.

If something sparks joy in your life, Marie Kondo’s method wants you to make sure that you utilize the things that are important to you. Things like family photos should be displayed or kept in an inviting album or easy-to-access box, not hidden away in the back of a closet or disorganized in various envelopes and folders.

In the KonMari method, clothing should be arranged so everything is visible. Arranging items by color also makes things easier to find and use. Kondo’s approach runs along the lines of “a place for everything and everything in its place”. By taking the time to assess your belongings and finding an appropriate space for them in your home, it also makes things easier to maintain and keep organized.

Go Through Everything

A daunting part of Kondo’s prescription for decluttering is her requirement that you take the time to go through all your possessions, assessing each, one by one. In “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Kondo divides the task of sorting through belongings into major categories. She suggests that you gather every single item in the category together and methodically go through them, like books or clothes. Nothing should be hidden from sorting, or left in storage, so all items can be organized.

Kondo’s technique isn’t for those who are short on time. Thoroughly tidying a house and going through all your things can take a long time. However, the end result can definitely pay off. Sorting with the rigor of the KonMari method helps you understand the things you value in your life and shapes your home around them. Sorting every possession allows you to let go of aspirational, nostalgic or just plain useless things that don’t add much to your life and may weigh you down. The organizing also leaves you with a house where things are easier to find, keep clean and maintain.

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