What is the KonMari Method?
The concept seems laughable. But all of your friends are talking about how they are throwing away all of their stuff.
You just can’t seem to escape the KonMari Method buzz.
You can thank Netflix because they are the ones who recently launched a TV show that re-ignited the popularity of a trendy book about how de-cluttering can change your life, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
We tend to collect a lot of junk. We fill drawers, closets, and entire rooms with treasures that we don’t need. All of this stuff takes up mental and physical space and most of the time we don’t even realize how much it’s impacting our day-to-day life. But I am here to tell you that all of that stuff is impacting your life. It may not seem like it, but clutter has this way of slithering into your brain and hanging out there.
And if you stop and look around, it is easy to see how much clutter you really have. That is what the KonMari Method is all about — helping you understand clutter and why it is poison. Knowing this information will help you gain the momentum you need to get rid of it for good! Are you with me?!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the KonMari Method?
- 2 Who Invented The KonMari Method?
- 3 What Does KonMari Mean?
- 4 Supplies You Need To Get Started
- 5 What You Don’t Need
- 6 You Need The Book
- 7 KonMari Method Basics
- 8 Getting Started
- 9 This Is A Special Event
- 10 If You Get Stuck
- 11 Spark Joy
- 12 Words Of Wisdom
- 13 Nervous About Getting Started?
Who Invented The KonMari Method?
The KonMari Method was invented by the incredible Marie Kondo. When she writes you feel like you’re getting much-needed advice from a dear friend at your favorite coffee shop.
She is building an empire around the magic of decluttering. According to her website, “Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, best-selling author, star of Netflix’s hit show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and founder of KonMari Media, Inc.”
She also hosts live workshops where she teaches her biggest fans how to become tidying consultants. She is doing everything, and everyone is excited about it! But what is all of this hype about?
What Does KonMari Mean?
The KonMari Method is named after Marie Kondo. As you can see the term combines her first and last name to create the catchy phrase KonMari. However, this phrase is now used as a verb all over the place. Just the other day my friend sent me a Snapchat with a picture of a drawer that said, “I KonMari’ed the crap out of this drawer.”
The overall purpose of the KonMari Method is to help you learn how to become a minimalist so that you can enjoy the many benefits of living a life with less clutter.
Supplies You Need To Get Started
- Your dwelling (home or apartment) filled with items
- A copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”
- A few days of free time throughout the next few months
- Shoe boxes or other small boxes that you have around your house
What You Don’t Need
Marie recommends that you don’t buy more stuff to help you declutter! Do not run to your nearest Wal-Mart and buy a bunch of big tubs or plastic drawers before you get started.
You Need The Book
As I mentioned earlier, Marie is a pretty good writer. She has a way of explaining things that makes her methods very easy to understand. Likewise, her book is concise and to the point. I was able to read the book over a single weekend. To truly understand the KonMari Method, you have to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” for yourself. Plus, if you are short on time, the book is also available in an audiobook format as well.
- Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- Marie Kondō
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press
I read the book first and then listened to it again while I worked through the process. This worked out nicely because I was able to understand why I was embarking on such a time-consuming journey and keep up my motivation by listening as I filled garbage bags full of stuff.
Throughout the book, Marie Kondo will help you to develop a proper de-cluttering and minimalist mindset that will keep you motivated to complete the entire process. While it may sound strange, she is an expert at getting you excited about decluttering! She has a great way of explaining the benefits and sharing major success stories that will give you the ah-ha moments you need when you are thinking about giving up.
Anytime you are trying to achieve a big goal it helps to have the right mindset. If you don’t, you will inevitably fail. Now let’s get to the basics of understanding the KonMari Method.
KonMari Method Basics
The KonMari Method has a list of non-negotiables. Marie Kondo preaches that there is only one way to achieve success with her method and you as the reader are expected to follow this methodology. If you skip steps or decide not to follow certain parts of her plan you risk not being able to experience the life-changing magic of tidying up fully. Again, make sure to read the book to get all of the juicy details about this process. For now, here are some things to keep in mind.
If you know anything about manifesting, you know that you have to be able to see your new life in your mind to believe that your dream of a decluttered space is possible. Marie encourages you to take some time to envision what you want your home to look like. How could your current area be set up to bring you more joy?
Marie provides you with a checklist that you will work through so that you don’t forget any major categories. Based on the checklist you will start with clothes and end with the more sentimental items. Marie’s process enables you to get better at letting go of the excess stuff that you don’t need. The more you work your decluttering muscles, the stronger they will get. Again, I urge you not to jump into decluttering without reading, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” You will not succeed if your only information about the method is from the show you saw on Netflix.
If you are thinking about starting to declutter using the KonMari Method, then you should probably forget about most of the other stuff you have read about minimalism on Facebook or elsewhere. There’s a lot of bad advice out there on decluttering. Some say that you should throw one thing away per day and others recommend that you do a 30-day challenge. These methods are nonsense and will not leave you with a feeling of inner peace at the end. The KonMari Method does not require you to follow a strict timeline, but she does expect you to be swift. The entire process should take no longer than six months, and you should make each decluttering day into a special occasion. You should feel excitement and joy as you welcome more freedom from stuff into your life.
The KonMari Method has expectations on how you fold your clothes based on techniques grounded in origami. This is important for many reasons. Some of these reasons include; your clothing will fit neatly in drawers, when you open your drawer you will be able to see each item that you own which makes deciding what to wear simpler, and when you fold your clothes you will be able to recognize damaged pieces that need to be thrown out easily.
A new way of folding might be hard to get used to at first. Especially if you have been folding a certain way your entire life. However, I have faith that you can do it! I was even able to get my husband on board. Everything will look so much neater when you fold your items with the KonMari Method in mind.
Everything Has A Place
Once you are finished with the KonMari Method everything you own will have a place. That means you will have to say goodbye to your beloved junk drawer. Marie believes that every item you own has a home and those items should be placed back in their special spot after each use. She has a good reason for this. After you put things away in their own space enough times the routine becomes a habit, and that is what ultimately helps you keep your home tidy in the long run. It took me a while to get used to putting my hair dryer away each morning instead of leaving it on the counter, but she is right! It’s refreshing to come home to a bathroom that doesn’t have cluttered counters.
This one might surprise you. Your closet will now have more purpose than ever because you don’t just store the stuff you need in your closet. Your closet will be filled with items that you need and sentimental items that have no other place. Some of these things might be an eyesore, and others just don’t look quite right being out in the open. Think your favorite band t-shirt from college or artwork created by your child. Marie wants you to keep the things that bring you joy even if they don’t belong on display. She wants you to see these items often because they mean so much to you. Therefore, you should decorate your closet with lovely mementos that create all the warm feelings in your heart.
Imagine always having a clean purse or wallet instead of having one filled with gum wrappers and crumbs. The KonMari Method provides clear expectations on how you manage the bags that you carry daily. The hope is that you will empty the entire bag each evening when you get home and put the entire contents back into the location where they belong. Thus you won’t have to carry around things you don’t need each day.
Understand What Sparks Joy
One unique aspect of the KonMari Method is the underlying philosophy that each item you have in your home carries a consciousness or spirit. Marie believes that the items in your home feel sad when they are stashed away where no one can enjoy them and happy when they are being used to their fullest potential.
Therefore, when you are working through the KonMari Method, you are required to hold each item and ask yourself whether that item sparks joy within your heart. If it doesn’t then it needs to go because it could be of better use to someone else who might have a purpose for it.
Understanding this aspect of the KonMari Method is really helpful. Being in tune with the magic happening around you will open you up to feeling the amazing little sparks of joy that ignite when you hold an item you truly love.
Now that you understand the basics of the KonMari Method it’s time to dive in!
With book in hand, you will start by picking your first tidying day and then emptying the entire contents of your closet. As you work through the KonMari Method, you will start with clothing and end with photos. In general, Marie believes that clothes are easier to get rid of because they hold the least sentimental value. I agree that starting with clothes was pretty easy. It is also reasonably easy to know which clothes in your closet spark joy and which pieces don’t. Hopefully, you have the luxury of having enough clothes that you like, and will still have a functional wardrobe when you are done.
On a side note, you should know, that Marie encourages you to keep what you are doing to yourself. No need for pessimists to interrupt your flow. Once the process is complete everyone who sees the massive transformation of your space will be eager to jump on the KonMari bandwagon with you. Believe me; it catches like wildfire.
Your first official decluttering task will be to empty your closet, drawers, and cloth bins full of socks. Next, pick up each item individually and hold it close to your heart. Then, give yourself a few seconds to decide whether that item sparks joy. If it sparks joy then you get to keep it. Everything else will either be thrown away or donated. Be mindful that you should keep clothing for lounging around and clothes that are for wearing when you go out and about.
Next, you will put everything away. Most items will be folded and put into drawers while big pieces can be hung up.
If you are a book lover than this phase might be a bit challenging, but Marie recommends that you don’t keep all of your lovely books, as it is a waste to have them sit around collecting dust. Books are meant for reading, and your books could be serving someone else out in the world. Of course, you can keep the ones that you read over and over. Consider creating an electronic file of sentimental pages or quotes that you love. This might make it easier for you to let go of unneeded books.
Most of your paper should go! This means instruction manuals that you can find online, old receipts, scrap paper. Feel free to make electronic copies if needed but destroy the stacks and stacks of senseless paper that clutters your drawers. What you have left should be able to be divided into two piles; birth certificates, social security cards, etc. and papers that you need to do something with. You will have two folders that you divide these piles into. That’s it! No more paper than what fits into those two folders!
You will have some other items like junk drawers, kitchen items, and bathroom closets to go through. This should be a quick and easy part of the process. Letting go will be extremely easy at this point, and you will be able to move quickly.
Lastly, you will trudge through photos. Don’t let this phase trip you up because you are almost finished! Again, you will touch every picture and keep the ones that spark joy. You might also notice some that you want to give away. Once you have sorted out the ones you want to keep you should put them into albums so that they can be on display and enjoyed more regularly. It is nice to see photos of those that we love regularly. Some others, for instance, old photos that need to be kept as family keepsakes, can be placed gently in a shoebox for safe keeping.
This Is A Special Event
Remember as you get started that this is a special event! Your decluttering opportunities will be days that you look forward to. You will barely be able to contain your excitement as you watch your space transform from cluttered to neat and tidy. Frame your decluttering days to be a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. Once I started reading the book, I was overcome with excitement. I couldn’t wait to get started!
If You Get Stuck
Any project that is completed over several months has the potential to stall. In moments of weakness where you have lost interest or are anxious about moving to the next phase, I encourage you to get back to the basics. Visualize how great the end product will look. Imagine how nice it will feel to live in a space that is well-organized. If the use of imagery fails then re-read the book. This is sure to give you the kick in the pants you need to keep moving.
However, if you get stuck and can’t seem to move forward but are still interested in completing the process, you may want to consider hiring a tidying expert. There are organizing consultants out in the world who are trained by Marie herself to help you complete the KonMari Method in your home. This isn’t cheap but would undoubtedly be worth the money if you can’t seem to go it alone.
If you complete the KonMari Method and you are dying for more then, you are in luck! Marie Kondo has a second book called, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.” In this book, you will find all kinds of exciting details about the KonMari Method. Including, step-by-step photos that guide you through the folding process and Marie’s answers to frequently asked questions about the KonMari Method.
- Spark Joy An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
- Marie Kondō
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Words Of Wisdom
Until your home is tidied, you won’t understand the magic. There is a surreal feeling when you walk into a space that you have intentionally set up just the way you like it. When you look around and see only what you need, and nothing that you hate, your body will relax, your mind will feel calm, and your space will be more inviting than ever.
I know that the idea of decluttering your home feels overwhelming. Heck, I have two small children and can barely keep my car clean but blocking off some time to get rid of what does not serve you is worth the effort. You will feel better, your anxiety will lift, and your mind will be free to think about more interesting information.
It takes time to develop new habits, but you can do it! I’m advising you to start now! Don’t wait!
Nervous About Getting Started?
The KonMari Method is no small undertaking. Once you start you will be consumed by tidying for a few short (or long) months. You will struggle with establishing the proper mindset as unpack the mental clutter stopping you from letting go of all of the junk in your life that is holding you back.
- Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- Marie Kondō
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Do you feel like you just can’t do it? Do you wish that you could, but you don’t feel ready? If you aren’t prepared to get started, I get it. Many of us have strongly held beliefs that prevent us from being able to move forward. If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider starting by watching the new Netflix series. This is a great way to dip your toes in and get inspired. You will see regular homes transform and the humans within them find more ease in their day-to-day routine.
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