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The KonMari Method: A Once-and-for-All Decluttering Technique
Alexis Scholtz / Adobestock

Are you often overwhelmed by clutter in your home or office? If the mess continues to build up, despite your best efforts, it might be time to discover a new solution. Try the KonMari Method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant with a lifelong passion for tidying.

In her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Kondo shares her philosophy and perfected method. The core principle is simple: “Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.”

Find Your Motivation

To begin, envision your ideal home in detail and why it’s important to have a clean space. Write down your main motivation for ridding your space of clutter. Most decluttering experts agree that keeping things organized can energize and motivate you, while extreme clutter has been linked to depression. 

Get Your Items Sorted

The KonMari Method breaks down the tidying process by category, in a specific order:

  • Clothes by category: tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks/hosiery, undergarments, handbags, accessories, clothes for specific events (swimsuit, pajamas), and shoes.

  • Books.

  • Papers.

  • Miscellaneous.

  • Objects of sentimental value.

To begin, place every item from just one category in a big pile on the floor. Make sure to check every room, closet, cupboard, basement, and your car. If an item is overlooked in this initial foray, it goes in the discard pile.

It is important to physically pick up—to hold and consider—each item. Keep it only if it sparks joy. If not, discard it. By doing so, you are surrounding yourself entirely by items you love. The philosophy goes like this: If you really enjoy an item or it serves a purpose you enjoy, then it’s not clutter! But keeping questionable “just in case” items is strictly forbidden. When sorting, trust your instincts; go with your first response.

Store Everything Correctly

Once you have sorted your belongings, it is important to store them properly. Every item should have a home. The KonMari Method advocates folding and storing clothing items vertically in drawers—everything from sweaters to socks—keeping like colors together. It’s amazing how much fits in a drawer when properly folded and stored this way.

Books and papers can be stored this way as well. Place important pages in plastic protector sheets and file them in a binder; this keeps things simple and neat.

The KonMari Method works best if you do it all in one marathon session—one giant purge. If that’s not possible, commit a weekend and work on one category at a time. Follow all the steps outlined, and your home will finally be clutter-free.

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