Lessons learned from Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a wholesome, soft spoken and creative woman, best known for her book «The life-changing magic of tyding up», which has sold more than 3 million copies and is currently on the New York Times best seller list. This month her very own mini series named “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” became available on Netflix and she recently launched her own line of Hikidashi boxes to help you keep your space organized. Who would’ve thought that a single person could inspire so many to find pleasure in tidying up?

“The basic rule of the KonMari Method is to tidy by category, in the order of clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and mementos. But if you find that you don't own items from a category, or have too much in one category to go through all at once, customizing the list to fit your belongings is a great way to visualize the big picture (...)” The book is most certainly worth a read on its own, as I will not explain the KonMari method step by step, but instead share some of the most important lessons Kondo has thought me.

All photos in this article are by @mariekondo & @konmari.co on ig x

All photos in this article are by @mariekondo & @konmari.co on ig x

  • Does it spark joy?

You have probably already heard of he most famous line by Kondo, which is “Does it spark joy?”, and this sentence does a great job at explaining the philosophy behind the lifestyle. Everything you own should make you feel good and have a purpose in that way. The first lesson of the KonMari method, is to go through all your articles of clothing, piece by piece. You start by making a big pile of all your clothes, in order to see it from a new perspective. Seeing how much you actually own will make it easier to realize the distinction between what you have versus what you truly appreciate. Now, pick up an item that you know you love and feel good in. What does it make you feel? This is when, if you’ve watched the series, Kondo will make a cute sound, something like “Wiiiihh” and this is exactly the way your body is supposed to react to something that sparks joy for you. The same thing goes for sorting through books and sentimental objects. Ask yourself whether or not these things are worth taking with you into the future and if they have a positive impact on your life.

  • Gratitude and appreciation

    Gratitude and appreciation are key words. If you decide to give away or donate some of your belongings as a part of the process of tidying up, Kondo emphasize the importance of saying “thank you” before letting it go. Thank your dress that has become too small or the book you no longer need, for the time you’ve spent together. Maybe you learned a lot from that particular book, but will not read it again, and maybe you have enjoyed wearing that dress when you were 16 but not as a 25 year old - while it might be time to let those things go, it is important to be grateful for the memories and experience attached to them.

  • Do it on your own terms

What is unique about the KonMari method is that the main focus is to remember to cherish the things you love and want to keep. The point is not to force yourself to get rid of stuff, but to confirm how you feel about each one of the items you own. Kondo puts it this way “Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.” Of course you have to think through which items you want to part with, but don’t solely focus on this. What you want to achieve through this method of tidying and organizing, is to create a positive environment around you. You also don’t want to compare your process or yourself to anyone else. Finding out what brings pleasure and spark joy, can be a difficult process for many. Take your time and take a break to recharge if you need to. If you feel stuck, you can pick up an item that you know you treasure, to remember the feeling that all your belongings should bring you. You can also take a break and use some incense, aroma spray, sound healing or scented candles to clear your mind and space. You might be feeling overwhelmed and in moments like this it can be motivating to creating a quiet zone that allows you to evaluate the things in your life.

  • Everything can be organized in a box

According to Kondo, everything you own should have its own designated spot, to avoid clutter. And how do you maintain a system, where each item has a specific home? Well, this is where Kondo has introduced the magic of keeping life organized by repurposing different boxes. It can be a shoe box, a gift box or maybe some vintage glass dishes - just remember to avoid using lids or tops, unless they are transparent. You always want to have a clear overview of what you own and where it is. This system works for all rooms in the house, from your kitchen drawers and the shelves in your garage to your bedroom dresser. That way, you can separate the items more easily, and you’ll find it simpler to stay organized and clutter-free. Another tip is to use boxes of various sizes and patterns, to help you remember each item’s designated spot. If you follow @mariekondo on ig, you will find much inspiration on this topic.

  • Vertical is the way

Just as the boxes are supposed to help you get an overview of your beloved items and objects, folding is another essential. Kondo’s way of folding will allow you to fold you clothes, linens, scarves and towels in the form of a tiny rectangle that will stand on its own. When you’ve done this, you can stack the piece next to each other vertically in your drawer/box and be able to see all the items you own, lined up, at the same time. While folding, you want to focus on touching and feeling the fabric and communicate your affection through your palms. This method will eventually help you find pleasure in folding, as it inspires gratitude. Check out this link, to see some basic folding methods or watch the series on Netflix for further explanations and tips.

  • Arrange by color, shape, brand, size & what you use most

One of my favorite tips by Kondo is to arrange like they would do in a store. This is also an exercise that will encourage appreciation. When you make sure that your clothing is folded neatly and then organized in a way that makes sense and looks pleasing, you will be reminded of why you treasure those items more often. For instance, if you have a rack for your shoes, make sure to put the heavier ones on the bottom, and the lighter ones on top, so it’s aesthetically pleasing. Shoes can also be arranged by brand and color. However, in the kitchen, utensils are better to arrange by size and foods can be arranged by how often they are used. For example, if you often use spices, it’s natural to place these on your lower shelves while and the things that are less common to use, such as a waffle iron, can be stored in places that are harder to reach. This will not only help you keep your space organized, but will also make the room look more harmonious.