In 2014, Marie Kondo published her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Suddenly, it felt like everyone I knew — family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, random people I met on the streets — was decluttering every square inch of their homes.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. I couldn’t understand what it was about this particular cleaning method that made people want to cancel their plans on a Friday night just so they could stay home and fold shirts!
But when Netflix debuted the series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, my interest was piqued. I watched the first episode. Then another. Then another.
Pretty soon (and much to my husband’s annoyance), I was holding up every item in our closet and loudly asking, “Does this shirt spark joy? How about this Target floral dress I bought 3 years ago? Does anything in my closet bring me joy, really?”
Today I’m going to talk about how the KonMari method has worked for me, what it means for your clothing to “spark joy,” and how you can live a simpler, happier life just by following the sage advice of one wildly famous Japanese organizing consultant.
What Is The KonMari Method?
Soothing, empathetic, and extremely helpful, Marie Kondo is changing lives — one household at a time.
So, what’s her secret?
The KonMari method is all about going through your belongings, one item at a time, and getting rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy and contentment.
These are the 6 basic rules of the KonMari method:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
- Tidy by category, not location.
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
My Experience Following The KonMari Method
Yes, the KonMari method entails tidying up, throwing out junk, and generally living a more minimalist existence. But it’s so much more than that.
At its core, the method is all about being surrounded by belongings that mean something to you. It’s about decluttering your house physically, but it’s also about decluttering your mind.
Honestly, I’ve found that by implementing Kondo’s techniques in my daily life, I’ve been left not just with a cleaner, more organized home, but with a more peaceful, appreciative existence.
And for me… the KonMari method also works so well because it’s both financially smart and environmentally friendly. Basically, anything new you purchase has to pass the “joy” test: You’re only allowed to buy things that you really, truly love.
And as a gal who adores roaming the aisles at Target and impulse-buying, this aspect of the KonMari method speaks straight to my soul. Applying the KonMari method to my life has meant learning to be happy with what I have and refraining from buying meaningless stuff.
Not only is this good for my wallet, but ending the cycle of junk is good for my mental health as well.
Here are 2 good examples:
#1 – Living minimally has inspired me to turn away from life’s many excesses (such as playing multiple video game systems a day or watching too many DVDS) and focus on more mentally and physically healthy activities (like yoga or running).
#2 – I’ve also realized that driving my car was causing more mental clutter and duress than I had considered before. My car had enough room to become a second, mobile purse! I found myself hunting for lost items in it almost every day. As a result, I’ve begun biking more — which helps me get more exercise than ever and keeps my mind clear of clutter.
My All-Time Favorite Tips For Living Minimally
I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on minimal living, but I have learned a thing or two on both my KonMari and minimalist journey.
Some of my favorite tips include:
- Learn how to clean your stuff. I realized that in order to truly care for the belongings I love, I have to learn to clean them properly. (For example, here’s how to clean a dishwasher).
- Seek higher quality goods. When I do decide it’s time to make a new purchase, I want to be sure that that purchase is going to last — so that I can benefit from its full potential.
- Let go of guilt. As long as you repurpose your discarded items in a responsible manner, then you shouldn’t feel bad about getting rid of things. They may have more potential in their next life. (For example, here’s how to avoid guilt when clearing out sentimental items.)
- Go digital. In today’s high-tech lifestyle, it’s easy to access all movies, books, and papers on a phone, tablet, or laptop. I’ve even reverted to my local library’s digital borrowing service.
As an example, here are pics of my bookcase, before and after using Marie Kondo’s method of organizing:
The Bottom Line…
The KonMari method has taught me to surround myself with the things I love — not the things I feel pressure to buy.
As a result:
- I’ve become a better environmental activist.
- My wallet is happier.
- I feel much more at peace in my own home — and in my own mind.
Our guest contributor Lexi hails from Arizona and works as a freelance writer. She enjoys discovering new things and helping others along the way. Lexi is passionate about a variety of topics — including lifestyle, travel, finances, and real estate.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).