How to declutter and organise your home with Marie Kondo's KonMari Method®

The KonMari Method® is Japanese Organising expert, Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering and organising homes. Originally introduced in Marie’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying”, the method was popularised in the UK by the Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.

Why do people love a Marie Kondo declutter?

Japanese organising Expert Marie Kondo holding her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

People love Marie Kondo's method as it really can make a life-changing difference to the way that you view your belongings, your home & your life.

The mindful and reflective nature of the KonMari Method® encourages you to focus on what brings happiness into your life and to clear away things that are no longer relevant to you. In doing this you can learn from the things you let go of and understand why they weren’t needed.

Working through this thought process impacts how you live and acquire things moving forward – you develop a new mindset rather than just doing a clutter dump once a year.

The step by step nature of Marie Kondo’s method also simplifies the potentially overwhelming task of sorting out your home into manageable tasks. If you are struggling to know how or where to start the decluttering process this can help to get you started and keep you on track.

How does the KonMari Method® differ from other types of decluttering?

If you’ve ever decluttered a room in your home and found that the clutter creeps back a week later you’ll know how frustrating the cycle of decluttering can be. Marie Kondo aims to break this cycle by helping people tidy up “once and for all”.

Organised open shelving - a result of decluttering your home with Marie Kondo Method

The KonMari Method® differs in three key ways from traditional decluttering approaches:

  1. You start by focusing on your goals (ideal lifestyle) and what you’re aiming to achieve as a result of any decluttering that you do.

  2. You make positive choices about keeping possessions that ‘Spark Joy’ rather than specifically looking for items to discard - the aim is to curate a home filled with things you love.

  3. You tidy by category (eg clothes, books, papers), rather than room by room.

How to start decluttering with the KonMari Method®

There are 6 steps in the KonMari Method® that guide you to a tidy and clutter-free home:

  1. Commit to tidying up

  2. Imagine your Ideal Lifestyle

  3. Declutter by KonMari category

  4. Declutter in the right category order

  5. Ask yourself if it Sparks Joy

  6. Finish discarding first

Commit to tidying up

Calendar showing time set aside to tidy up with the KonMari Method

You don’t need to be decluttering 24/7 but it’s important to set aside some time to work through your home for a few hours a week.

Make sure you allow yourself time to properly sort through your belongings, make decisions and then tidy up afterward Imagine your Ideal Lifestyle

Before jumping in with the bin bags take a bit of time to understand your reasons for wanting to organise your home.

Imagine your Ideal Lifestyle

Before jumping in with the recycling bags take some time to understand your reasons for wanting to organise your home.

Women looking out of a window imaging how her home will look once decluttered

Key questions to ask yourself are:

  • What’s the real reason that you want to declutter and organise your home?

  • What do you currently love about your home?

  • What you enjoy doing in your spare time and what’s getting in the way of that at the moment?

  • How would you like your home to look and feel

Having a clear view of your ideal lifestyle will motivate you to get started and help you to keep going when things get a bit messy, which they inevitably do! It will also help in your decisions about what to keep or discard as there’s no need to keep items that don’t fit your vision of your future home and life.

Declutter by KonMari Category

The KonMari Method® encourages you to tidy by category (eg: clothes, books, paperwork, komono*, sentimental) rather than the typical room by room approach to decluttering.

* komono refers to miscellaneous items including toiletries, toys, kitchenware and stationery.

Gathering all the items from a category together in one place enables you to see exactly what you own, this is especially useful if you store similar items (eg like coats or stationery) in different places around your home. Tidying by category also allows you to easily see duplicate items, things you’d forgotten about and anything that may be past its best.

Once everything is together you are confronted (often for the first time) by the volume of everything you own in the category, for many people, this is quite shocking and acts as a further incentive to start decluttering – Marie Kondo calls this the 'Power of the Pile'.

KonMari Method Power of the Pile - Clothes piled on a bed to check if they spark joy

Decluttering by category rather than room by room was a game-changer for me as I found it easier to make informed decisions about what to keep and discard as I was able to see exactly what I owned, there was no longer an excuse to hold on to things just in case.

Declutter in the right Category Order with a KonMari Declutter Your Home Checklist

Start your decluttering project with the easiest category, clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous) and leave the hardest category sentimental items to the end. If you start with sentimental items, such as photos there’s a big chance that you’ll spend a whole afternoon looking at photos and won’t make much progress!

Starting with easier categories helps to develop your confidence and decision making skills so by the time you get to the harder possession you’re a pro at deciding what to keep or discard. You’ll also have the added benefit and motivation of looking at your beautifully organised wardrobe every single morning as a reminder of why you’ve decided to tidy up your home. Use a KonMari Checklist to lead you through decluttering and organising your home, one category at a time – download your copy here.

Declutter your home checklist

Ask yourself if it Sparks Joy - make positive choices about what stays or goes.

“When you surround yourself with possessions that spark joy you'll create a home and a life you love.”

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo encourages you to touch and connect with all the items in your home and identify which items we have a positive connection to.

The Japanese translation of 'Spark Joy is 'Tokimeki', which literally means heart flutter - when joy checking you're looking for items that do just that! You’ll have clothes in your wardrobe that you love wearing, that you look fabulous in or find really comfortable.

Other items around your home will also make you feel that spark of positivity – be it a handbag you love, your favourite makeup or photos. This can also apply to more functional items that we may appreciate for the role that they play in our lives – a potato masher sparks joy for me as it makes my life easier.. have you ever tried mashing potatoes using a fork?

With the KonMari Method®, you make positive decisions to keep the items that Spark Joy and fit with your Ideal Lifestyle, anything that doesn’t pass the test is shown gratitude for the role it played in your home and then let go.

Finish discarding before organising your home

On a practical note, there’s no point in buying any additional storage until you’ve decluttered and know what you have left that you need to store. I find that through the process of decluttering and utilising better storage techniques there’s often no need to buy additional storage as you can often reuse or repurpose furniture, baskets and storage boxes that you already own. A few quick tips to help with storage:

  • Store similar items together, in containers if needed and give everything a proper home – that way it’s easy to replace things at the end of the day.

  • Avoid scattered storage and stacks of anything should be avoided

  • Vertical storage is a much better use of space so wherever possible keep things upright and folded.

Top Home Organisation Tip:

When you're looking for somewhere to store something ask yourself where you’d look for it – it’s often the simplest way to sort out your storage

Pretty shelves with baskets and boxes for storage

KonMari vs Minimalism

One final note, I always explain to clients that The KonMari Method® is not the same as Minimalism. KonMari focuses on being more aware of what you own and making sure that you love or need whatever you choose to keep. The finishing touch is organising your home to find a home for everything.

As you go through each step of the method you decide how much stays or goes depending on whether items Spark Joy or fit your Ideal Lifestyle. Remember, you are looking to fill your home with items you love so, if something Sparks Joy, keep it with confidence.

Fancy giving Marie Kondo's method a go?

Start your KonMari decluttering journey by decluttering your wardrobe - follow the simple tips in my blog: Refresh your wardrobe for 2021 - Declutter & Organise Your Clothes

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I’m Sue, a professional organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire. I trained with Marie Kondo and the KonMari team and am a panellist for the 2021 Spring/Summer KonMari Consultant Certification Courses.

I help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes or offices so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life. For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch.

m: 07740 782575

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