Thanks, Netflix. Before the New Year confetti had even fallen, a tempting new show appeared before our eyes just in time for resolution season. If you’ve watched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, you may feel the urge to throw away your entire home using the famous KonMari Method.
But, for those of you who have not spent your life binging Netflix’s latest and greatest (BTW, so worth it), this is no ordinary decluttering home transformation show.
The KonMari Method is riveting, captivating and unique. Why? Let’s dive in and I’ll show you exactly why Mari Kondo’s KonMari Method is sweeping the nation. More importantly, we’ll show you the exact KonMari steps to EASILY declutter your home space and your life.
Decluttering Ideas & The KonMari Method | Transform Your Home
Included below is the absolute BEST, free printable decluttering checklist for Mari Kondo’s AH-mazing KonMari method and everything you need to successfully spark joy not only in your home but your life.
Related: Be sure to check out 10 Actionable Steps To Declutter Your Home When Completely Overwhelmed. This is a SOLID way to start if you feel in over your head and don’t know where to start.
What exactly IS the KonMari Method?
You may live under a rock if you’ve never heard of the KonMari Method. Or maybe you have more of your life to live than those who binge-watched all the episodes of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix. #nojudgement
Either way, you may not know that the KonMari Method is a combination of Marie Kondo’s name, the creator of the method and the author of the EXTREMELY popular decluttering book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Now, let’s dive into the precise way you NEED to go about implementing the KonMari Method in your home. These are key points straight from Marie Kondo’s book and her talk on ‘the 3 steps to her “KonMari Method” for a tidier, happier life’.
1. First, set a goal
It’s important to tidy in one shot, as quickly, and completely as possible. Tidying shouldn’t be a gradual thing that happens over time.
To really do the tidying process justice, it needs to be done in a BIG way. Set a deadline and then work hard until that deadline, set goals and get everything done.
So, how you reach that deadline?
2. Then tackle the clutter specifically by *category*
You would think that the best way to start the decluttering process would be sorting by location. For example, taking on the kitchen cabinets or that storage closet you never want to open. In fact, it is the opposite!
The KonMari Method specifically teaches us to declutter by category and not by location. Mari shares that if we start in one location and then move to another and back again, then the tidying process will feel never-ending and more than likely, it will be!
Mark goals by category like ‘today is a clothes day’ or ‘today is a books day’. On those days, take everything out in that category and pile it up in one place.
This particular aspect of the KonMari Method is a main reason for all that Netflix binging.
In some sort of oddly satisfying way, we love watching those poor souls and their giant mounting pile of STUFF. We feel SO much better knowing we can’t possibly have all that junk.
Or do we? And now we want to try it too…
The final step is for you to evaluate each item and decide if it is necessary for you to keep or not. Mari’s KonMari method differentiates itself from any other type of decluttering method with this one step. So, we have set a goal, experienced shock and now…
3. Last, we evaluate each item and ask that iconic Mari Kondo question: ‘Does it spark joy?’
The final step is to assess whether or not you experience joy while holding the item. This selection criterion is the quintessential reason we love the KonMari method. We focus on the positive – not what we want to throw away but what we want to keep. We focus on the joy of our things and our home.
Instead of evaluating items with ‘I need this’ or ‘I don’t need this’, the question is: ‘does it make me happy?’ It’s much more of a personal connection.
Marie’s perspective is if we concentrate on what we need to throw away, then it creates stress because we are constantly focusing on the negative. I think we all do this in our daily lives, especially as mommies; ‘what dishes do I have to clean’, ‘what laundry needs to be done’, ‘what clutter needs to be shoved somewhere.’ When we tidy, we consistently focus on the negative.
Marie tells us we have been approaching things wrong in this way (and she has personal experience with this!). Instead, in order to have a tidy space, we need to keep only the things we love. And when we make that mental shift, we aren’t thinking about the dishes and laundry that will never end, we efficiently enjoy caring for the things we love.
Now, what does it mean to spark joy?
Take whatever item you are evaluating and hold it in your hand. Marie doesn’t want us to just look at it. She is adamant about touch and identifying how we physically react to the item. It’s interesting that whenever she speaks about “sparking joy”, Marie always refers to this sensation first and foremost as a physical action and then an emotional one.
It may sound crazy, but try it for yourself. It’s a real thing. Touch your things…
What’s the goal of tidying and decluttering?
We may think having everything organized is the answer. For example, having a sparkling floor, Pinterest-worthy spice rack organization, and perfectly labeled caddies. You know what I mean. This is part of it but not the true goal.
It is truly all about the method itself. Focusing on the joy of the items you own in your home space changes your outlook. It focuses on the positive instead of the negative. Therefore, it can apply not just to your stuff and decluttering but to your life.
Marie mentions in her book that by focusing on things that spark joy, we can “clean up” many areas of our life. Things like marriage, relationships etc. She reminds us that she has been an organizing and tidying consultant for over a decade and consequently, this is one thing she has FULL confidence in.
The five categories of the KonMari Method
First, we are instructed to divide our things into five different categories and tackle them this way. She also recommends us to take on these categories in a certain order. This order is unique to your ability to understand what sparks joy for you and fundamentally, how easy it is for you to keep or discard items. She notes that you should start with the category that would be easiest for you to make these decisions. Usually, this begins with clothing. The categories are typically followed in this order:
- Komono (miscellaneous)
- Sentimental items
Again, choose the category that seems like the easiest for you and progress towards the hardest category. If you have a strong desire to tackle a certain category, start there. Begin with individual items that obviously spark joy to you. This way you know for sure what this means to you. Marie notes that every individual’s sensitivity and understanding of joy is different, but as you move from one category to the next, this will be progressively identified.
Marie’s book divides clothing into the following categories. She has created these subcategories in order to help individuals work as efficiently as possible.
- Clothes on hangers
- Socks, tights
- Special occasion (uniforms, swim)
Begin by gathering clothes from all parts of your home space into one central place like the bed. Further, if there is more than one person living in the household, make sure to keep everyone’s clothing separate. Begin with out-of-season items that you aren’t wearing right now. Did you wear them during the season they were meant for?
An iconic next-step in the clothing category is the KonMari folding technique. Marie pushes her unique folds because you have to handle the item and therefore you can make a better decision whether it sparks joy or not. Most importantly, this method allows you to fit much more in a small space and identify your items at a glance.
Further, Marie shares that we should not be storing off-season clothes. Most of the time we need these items as the season crosses or even out of season. On this same note, she suggests keeping socks and underwear neat and folded instead of tossed and crammed away. Everything should be accessible.
Lastly, clothes should be hung according to their length, color, and weight. Hang heavier, darker and longer items to the LEFT of your closet and lighter, shorter items to RIGHT. Your clothes should appear to ‘rise’ from left to right in your closet space.
Again, begin by gathering all the books you own into one central location. This will help you make a cohesive decision about the entirety of your books selection as well as aid you in identifying which books actually spark joy for you or not. In addition, it’s helpful to touch, open and make a decision about a book when it’s not on a shelf. Here are Marie’s categories for books:
- General books (read for pleasure)
- Practical books (textbooks, cookbooks etc.)
- Visual books (decor, coffee table etc.)
Marie suggests if you haven’t read a book, but are keeping it to read ‘someday’, then discard it. She also discourages you to read it amidst the decluttering process.
Discard it all!
Marie doesn’t like papers lying around…at all. She helps by dividing papers into three sub-categories:
- Papers that require action and then need to be discarded (ex: bills, magazines you want to read)
- She recommends keeping these as short of a time as possible and then getting rid of them. Have none in this category if possible or at least not very many.
- Limited-time papers that are kept for temporary reference. Notes are a good example.
- Again, discard as soon as possible
- Indefinite papers that you need to store for a lengthy amount of time. This consists of things like birth certificates, lease agreements, important tax information etc.
Komono is Japanese for miscellaneous, small items or accessories. Marie uses this category in a much more broad way and places everything here that doesn’t fit in any other category. She helps by defining further subcategories in a particular order:
- Household equipment
- Household supplies
- Kitchen goods, food
- Other (like that ‘catch-all’ drawer)
Again, try to start with an easy sub-category that is more personal to you. When you tackle a category that is commonly used by others in the house (like kitchen items), do so with everyone present. This way, you can effectively discard and organize as a unit.
A couple additional notes here: Marie suggests getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy or you don’t actively use like spare electronic parts. She even says to discard gifts if they do not spark joy even if you make feel guilty for giving them away.
5. Sentimental items
This decluttering category can be challenging, which is why Marie generally saves it for last. Sentimental items include keepsakes, mementos, photos, souvenirs and anything you keep due to a feeling or memory attached. She states that memories are best kept in the heart than in physical clutter. Note that discarding an item does not mean discarding your memory or feeling.
Start with an item you know sparks joy. Hold it and note the feeling as well as the physical action you may have of wanting to clutch it to your chest. Work your way through each and every item even individual photos!
Do you feel overwhelmed by the cleanliness in your home space?
Personally, I feel the next step in creating peace and joy in your space is KEEPING IT decluttered and clean. What’s the point of putting a ton of blood, sweat and tears into decluttering and letting things get further disorganized each day. Or coming home to a pile of dirty dishes and an Everest sized pile of laundry. No joy there.
This year, I set a goal to clean for a handful of minutes each day. This way, when I walk in the front door or start/end the day walking into the bathroom, I FEEL rest, peace and cleanliness. And it’s been amazing. I’ve always HATED cleaning and with a toddler, newborn and husband it was hard.
We were shocked at how well this routine worked, so I put together the worksheets I created for myself and am currently using in a little something I call the Cleaning & Decluttering Master Guide.
For a short time, I’ve reduced the price!
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Check out the Cleaning & Decluttering Master Guide here
Thank you Netflix and Marie Kondo for reminding us of our resolutions this year and showing us that we can truly achieve joy in our living space as well as our life through decluttering.
When you understand the KonMari Method and work through each of the five categories, it won’t be easy, but you will begin to achieve a true sense of joy in your home space. Most importantly, focusing on this joy can unlock a positive outlook not only on your home environment but in all other areas in your life.
Lastly, once you’ve worked HARD decluttering your space and creating joy in your home, keep it that way by caring for it. Spend a few minutes a day with your beautiful space by tidying and cleaning. These Cleaning & Decluttering printables have been a complete game changer for us. I hope they can be for you and your family too so that you can begin and end each day in this short life in a space that creates joy and peace.
While the Konmari method makes so much sense, our kitchen would be completely empty if I tried to go through everything (I pretty much hate cooking/baking/etc). I think our coffee machine may be the only item that “sparks joy” for me, haha. One thing I’ve been trying to work on is “clean as you go” every day so that I’m not left with a pile of dishes at the end of the day or have to cram in all of the household cleaning on the weekends. I feel like it helps but yes, I probably need to Konmari a few things around the house!
I TOTALLY relate. One of the first things I told my husband while watching Tidying Up on Netflix: “I think if I did that whole ‘spark joy’ thing with my clothes, I’d be naked.” He replied with, “Then you’d be sparkin’ my joy.” I think I died.
AND our coffee machine would 100% be the first thing I kept in the kitchen too! LOL.
KonMari is not for the faint of heart. Kondo is truly authentic when she says to get rid of everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’. In her book, she says that most people want to keep things that they will use but do not spark joy. She gives an example of getting rid of a hammer because she didn’t like the handle and then using a cast iron frying pan she kept to pound in nails instead (in the meantime before she found a hammer that sparked joy). I think this is a little much!!! But, I do appreciate the positive focus.
I found it hard to clean too. I’m a worksheet person, so that’s what has SAVED my life lately. Especially with a newborn and toddler. I completely agree with the “clean as you go”!
I had no idea KonMari was a combination of her name! I’ve watched a little of the Netflix show and I’m thinking I want to do this. Thanks for the overview. It’s super awesome. I must confess, I think I’m a little bit of a hoarder. It’s just so hard to get rid of things when I think I might need them. I printed off your checklist and may try it this weekend. Eeek!
OH, the show is so awesome! I was addicted. Getting rid of stuff can be so hard! Especially if you think you may need it in the future. Kondo says to toss it for sure if it doesn’t spark joy. You can always purchase it later if you ABSOLUTELY need it, but she said that usually isn’t the case! I think it’s your home and your stuff, so you 100% get to choose :). Good luck on your KonMari Method marathon this weekend!!!
I love the decluttering printables. I saw them on your other post so we’ve been using them and they are incredibly helpful! I printed the weekly guide out and put it in a frame so I could use a dry erase marker and check things off. Works fantastic! Also, I want to try the KonMari stuff, but I’m not sure. It sounds like so much work. Though my house does need some decluttering TLC.
I’m SO glad you love the Cleaning & Decluttering Master Guide!!! Putting them in a frame and checking those few daily things is GENIOUS. Nicole, I am SO going to do this. I’ve just been putting it back on my fridge every week!
The KonMari Method can totally be daunting. It’s a BIG commitment, especially because Kondo is so adamant about making a commitment, setting a goal and doing it ALL. The great thing is that she said once this is done, you’ll NEVER regress. That means, a one and done thing. Apparently, she’s been a “tidying up” consultant for over a decade and has NEVER had a client relapse. That was mind-blowing to me! Maybe it’s worth one full-on try?