Every now and then, a book comes along that has a profound impact on your life. It changes your perspective and causes a mindset shift that leaves ripples of awesomeness in its wake. Just last week I discovered “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo, or as most people refer to it: The KonMari Method.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover this book. If you do a quick Google search for KonMari, you will find that loads and loads of other bloggers have written about the KonMari Method. There are YouTube videos of people “KM-ing” their closets, kitchens, offices, make-up collections, etc. The book has been featured everywhere from The Huffington Post to The Ellen Degeneres Show; and for good reason!
I devoured the contents of Marie Kondo’s book in a matter of days. Reading her take on tidying and decluttering was the first time that any organization book had made sense to me — it just ‘clicked’!
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You may have noticed a shift towards minimalism in our society over the last few years. People are starting to realize that more things does not necessarily equal more happiness. The popularity of shows like Hoarders, the emergence of the “tiny house” movement, people downsizing to less space and more simplistic approaches to life — these are all examples of how society is moving away from the excess of the last few decades.
In my own life, I have noticed a shift towards minimalism as well. I have moved around a lot over the years. For many years I would simply pack up all of my belongings and move them to the next location without thinking about all of the “things” I had accumulated. I was moving boxes of ‘stuff’ that had not even been unpacked from the last time I moved.
I accumulated clothes, books, paperwork, kitchen gadgets, make-up, purses, jewelry — the list goes on and on. I have a storage closet upstairs right now filled with boxes and bins. If I’m being 100% honest, I can’t even remember what is in most of them.
Enter the KonMari method.
THE KONMARI METHOD
The reason the KonMari method has become so popular is its simplistic approach. I’ve outlined the key take-aways from the book below, but to really get the full impact, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy for yourself.
1. VISUALIZE YOUR DESTINATION
While you’re reading the book, you will be tempted to jump in right away and start decluttering your life once and for all. Marie warns against this however, saying that it is important to visualize your destination first. Simply put: Find your “why”.
Try to visualize the ideal lifestyle you dream of. For me, I see my home as a relaxing and inviting place. I see myself free of clutter and surrounded by things that bring me joy. I see myself curled up on the couch with a good book, or relaxing in my bed without piles of laundry tormenting me out of the corner of my eye. I see a closet filled with clothes and accessories that I love and nothing more.
2. SORT BY CATEGORY, NOT BY LOCATION
According to Ms. Kondo, the problem is that people often store the same type of item in more than one place. When you organize room by room, you repeat the same work in different places and get locked into a vicious cycle of tidying. You never realize how much ‘stuff’ you have because it is spread out in different rooms.
The KonMari method encourages you to sort by category. For example, bringing all of your books from around the house to one location and sorting through them. This gives you a more realistic view of how many books you actually own, and allows you to really dive in to the process.
3. EFFECTIVE TIDYING
Here comes the simplicity, y’all. When I read this, my mind nearly exploded. “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: 1. Discarding, and 2. Deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first!”
The idea is so simple, yet so often we skip that first step. I have organized over and over again, each time wondering why I can’t keep my home clean and clutter-free. The answer lies in one simple truth: I have too much stuff. It’s impossible to keep things organized when there is just SO much of it!
“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have out-lived their purpose.” ~ Marie Kondo
4. DOES IT SPARK JOY?
Imagine your home filled with nothing but things that bring you joy. How would that make you feel? This is the promise of the KonMari method. I, for one, am thoroughly excited to get to that point.
For each item in your home, Marie encourages you to take it in your hand and ask that simple question: Does it spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.
5. FOLLOW THE CORRECT ORDER
Marie Kondo denotes a specific order in which you should declutter your home. Starting with the easier categories like clothes and books, then ending with more challenging categories like miscellaneous items and sentimental items.
The order she suggests makes complete sense. When you sort through your clothes, it is easy to decide which items you should keep and get rid of. As you gradually progress through the categories, your intuition gets stronger and you become more accustomed to discarding things that have served their purpose.
By the time you get to those difficult sentimental items, you are well-tuned to your intuition and better equipped to tackle the hard stuff.
Throughout the book, Marie pauses and gives you tips for how to store and organize the things that you have decided to keep in each category. She describes methods of folding clothes, how to hang items in your closet so they spark joy, how to store spices, keep your counters clutter free, organizing miscellaneous items, etc.
As I write this, I have already started the process of “KM-ing” my clothes. I will be doing a complete series here on the blog, working through one category at a time with all of the scary and lovely “before & afters” that come with it. Exciting, right? ;)
If you’re interested in joining me on this KonMari journey, I created an awesome category printable that you can download here or by clicking the image below.
Have you given the KonMari method a try yet? I’d love to hear about your successes, so drop me a line below and let me know!
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.