October 6th, 2017

Discovering the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Consider your living space for a moment. Imagine someone important was coming over and you had no time to tidy before they arrived. Do you think your space would make a good impression? Probably not, so learn the life-changing magic of tidying up as prescribed by Marie Kondo!

Clutter is more common than we think it is.

It’s a part of our lives; we have so many papers that pile up, we’re constantly buying new clothes as old ones wear out or go out of season, and bookworms especially tend to buy more books than they can reasonably store. There’s no shame in clutter piling up in our homes, but according to Marie Kondo, a Japanese expert of tidiness, this clutter can have a more detrimental effect on our lives than we realize. Conversely, a decluttered and tidy space can have a positive impact on us.

Kondo argues that conventional tidying methods are inefficient because they don’t address the root of the problem: Attachment. We keep things because they have sentimental or perceived value and so we feel compelled to keep them. We try to gradually discard or tidy things but then we end up with new clutter and the cycle never ends. A cluttered space isn’t something that can be solved incrementally, she explains; it must be done in one fell swoop.

Over the years, she’s developed the KonMari method (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), which Kondo assures that, if followed faithfully, will finally break the cycle of clutter in our lives and find peace in our living spaces. “In essence,” she writes, “tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.”

The KonMari Method has two main parts: Discarding and putting away.

Discarding items always comes first and no one can move on to the next step until this one is complete. Kondo stresses that discarding items is usually the hardest part for people, but also the most necessary. She tidies by item category, rather than by room, and suggests starting with items that are easy to make decisions about to help build momentum. She uses the following sequence: Clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally mementos.

We keep things because they have sentimental or perceived value and so we feel compelled to keep them.

Kondo’s process involves gathering every item within a category from each room of your living space and piling them all in one central location, somewhere you can spread things out and really examine them. Then, pick items up individually, hold them, and ask yourself if the item sparks joy. If yes, then keep the item. If no, then thank the item for its service to you and discard it.

The Takeaway?

The single criterion of “does this spark joy” is the key to the KonMari method because it grants askers permission to throw away items that make them unhappy, or even feel indifferent about, leaving behind only the items that truly bring joy into their lives. And who can be unhappy in a tidied space surrounded by things that spark joy? This is the life-changing magic of tidying up.

If you’re looking for more tidying motivation, try our 30-Day Decluttering Challenge!