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Decluttering, Marie Kondo Style

Ready to get organized? Heed the advice of best-selling author Marie Kondo whose method of decluttering has gained her world-renowned status. Can her tips work for you?

Ready to declutter? Heed the advice of organizational consultant, Marie Kondo, best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo’s popular decluttering methods have gained her a world-renowned celebrity, expert status, and a new Netflix series.

The Marie Kondo Method

Marie Kondo’s mission is to spark joy in the world through cleaning. Joy? In cleaning? Yes! The first step in decluttering is to visually design the lifestyle you want to live this year. Establishing a clear vision and goals motivates you to implement the changes you want to make to get where you want to be. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to review what you own and what those items mean to you. Instead of sorting through an entire room at a time, Marie Kondo suggests organizing your home by categories such as clothing, books, paper documents, photographs, and sentimental and miscellaneous items.

Decluttering can be hard work, but it should also be a positive, rewarding experience. Do you put off getting started, when a tidying task seems monumental or overwhelming? Determining where to start can help you achieve success one a step at a time. Focusing on how we envision the end results, such as a well-organized home or office, we’re inspired to get started. Keeping the decluttering process positive is all about choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of. The Kondo Method suggests literally taking each item in your hand and asking, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. But not before being thankful for the service of each item you’re letting go.

Marie Kondo’s Top Tidying Tips

  1. Pile things up, one category at a time. When sorting through clothes or books, etc. remove like items from your closet or shelves, and put them all together in one place. This gives you an opportunity to examine and evaluate what you have, an item at a time, and to realistically grasp the quantity of the items you own. You’ll also be able to see items that need to be replaced or discarded.
  2. Store shoes and clothes by size in your closet.
  3. Store items by frequency of use. Items you use often should be kept in easy to reach, accessible places. Items used infrequently would be stored on higher shelves.
  4. Utilize space more efficiently. When organizing drawers, stand items up vertically to see them. One way to do this would be to fold underwear and tee shirts and stand them on one end in a row within your dresser drawer.
  5. Do not store items in garbage bags. Instead, store items in clear storage boxes, so you can see what is being stored at a glance without having to open and sort through multiple boxes when searching for a particular item.
  6. Give every single item a home. Create a space within a space for everything you keep. Having a proper, designated place for every item makes it easy to find things, and to keep your home tidy and in order. Check out this mudroom tip!
  7. Don’t keep items that evoke negative feelings. Don’t feel pressured to keep a blouse, purse, or any item you don’t like just because someone gave it to you. Only keep it if it sparks joy. If not, you know what to do!

Enthusiasm is contagious. Spread the life-changing joy of your tidying success. While you can’t force anyone but yourself to organize your space, living in and appreciating a neatly organized home could inspire the other members of your household to give this tidying method a try.

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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