The KonMari Method™ Explained
How is the the KonMari Method™ different from other traditional organizing and decluttering methods?
Many organizing methods and advice recommend tackling the mess a little at a time, to prevent you from getting burnt out or overwhelmed. Well, in my case that was exactly what was keeping me inside my comfortable, but actually, uncomfortable zone when it comes to how I felt about my own home. While this traditional approach might seem logical because it is creating a tidy space to admire once you are finished for the day, it has a very dark side to it – in a matter of days, or sometimes even hours you might be right back where you started, exhaustingly planning your next big tidying day and trying to squeeze it in your bursting schedule.
The concept of The KonMari Method ™ is explained in Marie Kondo’s inspiring bestselling books «The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing» and «Spark Joy», both of which I highly recommend.
And while I was convinced that finding the time to KEEP my home tidy was the problem and not the tidying method itself, it has turned to be the other way around. The KonMari Method™ is about decluttering in «one-shot» and by clearly defined categories rather than little by little each day. Implementing the method in my own home in one-go was also the first time ever I managed to KEEP the created visible results over time. I was blown away to find out how time-consuming my old tidying style has really been and I also discovered a whole new passion in life.
Tidying should only be two things: 1) daily tidying, which means using something you own and then placing it back to its designated spot and 2) A Konmari style tidying festival that you only need to complete once and for all. Here I will break down for you the six basic rules for tidying when using the KonMari Method™:
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
To commit yourself to something is nothing more but the very first big step towards success. Committing to tidying up your home is committing to tidying up your habits, attitudes, emotions, relationships, economy…
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
The power of positive affirmation is not be underestimated, as it truly works. Draw, sketch, or write down your ideal lifestyle in detail. Yes, go ahead with the details and draw your feet sliding into soft slippers first thing in the morning while gratefully looking forward to the first cup of coffee you are about to have for the day.
3. Tidy by category, not location
You must have already noticed that by tidying room by room it takes around a week or less to get you back on where you started – cluttered and frustrated. The only solution to break this circle is to tidy by category. This means tidying up all the things in the same category in one go by collecting them from all over the house. This is also the only way you get to see how much of a category you really own. I promise it is a game-changer approach.
4. Follow the right order
The recommended order is clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous (komono)* including all the categories in the kitchen and bathroom, and sentimental items. The principle is to start with a category that is easy for you to develop your ‘tidying-muscles’ by distinguishing what `Sparks Joy™ `from what doesn’t. From there on you will be amazed at how much better you get in making these life-changing decisions for each category. As you come across sentimental items in any category, you can leave those to be tidied last of all.
*komono is a Japanese word for small things/items and covers all the different subcategories in your home that are not clothes, books, documents, or sentimental items. The kitchen and bathroom are among the two bigger subcategories in the komono category.
5. Hone your sensitivity to what ‘Sparks Joy’™
The only principle to be led by when choosing what to keep in your home is to ask whether something `Sparks Joy™`to you or not. The process of joy checking results in a physical and mental response that gets strengthened the more you use it and then implemented in our daily lives as well. You are encouraged to hold each item in your hands and become aware of how your body responds. This process is not about getting rid of things; it’s about keeping what `Sparks Joy™` for you.
6. Finish discarding first.
«One characteristic of people who never seem to finish tidying up is that they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything» – Spark Joy, Marie Kondo
During the tidying process, storage is temporary until each category is finished. All the things you have decided to let go are to be thanked for and organized either for donation, sale, or disposed with gratitude. The feeling of organizing storage after you have completed the decluttering process and only for the things you have decided `Spark Joy™` is truly indescribable and just so much fun.