Image credit: Kitchn Video
If you’re like me, then you first heard of Marie Kondo from “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Emily Gilmore adopts the famous KonMari method and ends up in jeans and a t-shirt due to getting rid of almost everything she owns because it does not bring her joy. This is a very loose understanding of Kondo’s signature method to decluttering your home, and one that is explored deeply in her Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
Kondo’s show dropped on New Year’sDay, which was perfect for those of us who had glitter to clean off the floor but just couldn’t seem to get off the couch. Each episode followed the same formula of Kondo entering a home, excitedly declaring that she loves mess, and then teaching her method to the homeowners, and we were able to pick out a few helpful tips that should jumpstart your tidy new year.
1. The KonMari Method: For these tips to work, we need to deconstruct Marie Kondo’s KonMari method. She recommends breaking out your tidying into five categories: clothing, books, documents, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items. She strongly suggests doing everything in this order as well. Komono, or miscellaneous, includes things like your kitchen, bathroom, toys, the garage, etc.
2. Be thankful for your home: Before getting started, Kondo likes to sit on the floor in a main room or an entryway and greet the home. She asks that the homeowners join her in thanking their home for providing shelter and a place to build their life. Whether you are tidying up your bedroom in your parent’s house, your dorm, that dingy studio you pay too much for but love, or your first home, you should thank the structure for being there for you. She feels like doing this before tidying helps center you and makes you more aware of your home and belongings.
3. Put everything in a big pile: Whether you are tackling clothing, kitchen utensils, or photographs, Kondo asks that you pull everything from that category and put it in a big pile. For example, this can allow you to see how many items of clothing you have, which will help you become more aware of what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. When it’s all in a big pile, you can see that you accidentally bought four of the same sweaters because you loved it so much but kept misplacing it. Let the pile show you what you need and what you don’t.
4. Keep only things that spark joy: Joy is everything to Marie Kondo. In each category, she asks you to pick up every single item and see if it sparks joy. The way she describes this feeling is adorable and I hope one day to feel as much joy from picking up a sock as she does. This may seem silly and tedious, but it brings up a good point: Why keep something just to keep it? By starting this process with clothing and working your way through the category, Kondo believes you will be in tune with what brings you joy, which will make parting with sentimental items easier.
5. Stand things up: Once you’ve gone through all of your items in a category, it’s time to find them a home. Everything should have a home because it makes it easier to put away instead of just tossing it on the floor or counter. For clothing that is not hung up, Kondo outlines her preferred method that involves folding your items into thirds and standing them up next to each other in drawers instead of laying them flat. This allows you to see every t-shirt and pair of jeans immediately upon opening the drawer so you don’t have to go digging around and unfolding things.
6. Tiny boxes: Tiny boxes may be the key to Marie Kondo’s success. Everything needs a home, and by putting tiny boxes into drawers you are able to create more organized spaces for your belongings to live in. This is particularly useful in the kitchen for utensils and other items. However, it can also be helpful to keep items such as underwear, bras, and socks organized in drawers in your bedroom.
7. Organize by size: When things cannot be propped up so you can see them immediately, organize like items by size. This helps you know exactly where to look in the closet or drawer and makes it easier to put something back. Half the battle of tidying up is keeping things that way when you are done. By giving everything a home, you are helping yourself win the battle of keeping your space clean and organized.
*Bonus Tip: Just go to sleep: Marie Kondo admits that even her house gets cluttered sometime. So what does organizing guru do when she gets overwhelmed? She just walks away or goes to bed. Tidying is a process and does not have to be a marathon. Each episode of “Tidying Up” takes place over the course of a month. Taking your time and walking away if it becomes too much is absolutely fine.