Marie Kondo is an author, reality TV star and home organiser par excellence. She first captured the world’s attention in 2011 with her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Now, in 2019, Marie Kondo is again in the limelight with her own Netflix show.
Here we provide an overview of the key principles of Kondo’s approach, called the KonMari Method, for decluttering and organising the home.
Tidying up is a spiritual act
As an exponent of the ancient Japanese religion of Shinto, Kondo has transformed tidying up into a spiritual act that’s mindful of each item’s contribution to joy and happiness.
Her method of creating order and harmony in the home is based on visualisation, minimalism, and the systematic disposal of worldly goods.
The idea is for homeowners to imagine perfection in space, and then work towards that perfection by getting rid of objects - clothing, books, mementos and sentimental items - that don’t ‘spark joy’.
So, what are the core principles of the KonMari Method? Here’s a brief look at a few of the fundamental rules behind tidying up…a la Marie Kondo:
Make organising your home a special event
For the KonMari Method to work its magic, the entire living space should be tackled in one go. Ideally, a full day or weekend should be set aside to achieve the perfect synergy required for harmonious, uncluttered living.
Rather than viewing tidying up as an ongoing task, it should be seen as a one-off special event. With the KonMari Method, adherents are encouraged to ‘live’ the method.
Declutter by category
Clearing by category is central to the success of the technique. Kondo suggests dividing household items into five broad categories - clothing, books, documents, miscellaneous items and sentimental stuff like photographs and keepsakes.
Items should be collected from all over the home, and stacked in piles according to category.
Visualise your desired living space
Visualisation is fundamental to creating a living area that fulfils the deepest desires. Imagine, for instance, a space filled with beauty and serenity, or one with clean lines and surfaces entirely devoid of clutter.
Once adherents have a well-defined picture of the kind of home they want to live in, they can move on to the next, and arguably most vital, step in Kondo’s method; to keep, or discard, individual items.
Discard items that don’t ignite joy
Minimalism is central to the KonMari Method - the less clutter there is lying around, the easier it is to tidy up and maintain the desired lifestyle.
Kondo suggests handling each item to see whether it ignites joy. Those that don’t provoke a positive response should be disposed of. If not, there’s a chance they’ll attract negative energy to the home.
Be thankful for each object’s contribution
A basic premise of the Shinto religion is to ‘treasure what you have’. Kondo believes storing the household items that are not in use, strips them of their dignity.
According to her philosophy, it’s better to thank the book, piece of clothing or object d’art for its rich contribution to life, and then to let it go.
It can be discarded, but a more helpful gesture is to pass it on to someone in need. Donating an item is an effective way of allowing it to regain its usefulness.
Fold and store with care
Folding clothing in such a way it preserves the integrity of the fabric is an essential part of mindful tidying up. Kondo recommends gently caressing and folding each item in tight folds, until it’s capable of standing up by itself.
Thereafter, socks, shirts, trousers, camisoles and underwear are vertically stacked in cupboards. It’s a technique that saves storage space, and enables effortless access to clothing.
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