Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo is the talk of the town right now with the release of the Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Marie first became an international sensation with her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011), which sold millions of copies in more than 30 countries. Her method, the KonMari method, has helped households all over the world get rid of junk and simplify their lives. Marie confesses that she loves mess, for the same reason most of us love a crossword. But, if you’re anything like us, you may prefer doing a crossword in your downtime. So, why has Marie’s method sent Australians into a decluttering frenzy? Here are the key lessons from the KonMari method.
1. Ask yourself if it sparks joy
The core philosophy of the KonMari method is asking yourself the question, while holding an item in your hands, “does this spark joy?” It’s a simple yes or no answer, and it’s designed to be used ruthlessly. If an item doesn’t spark joy, it needs to be rehomed.
2. Follow the right order
In the KonMari method, the correct order to tidy your home is clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally sentimental items. The order is important because it’s designed to hone in on your skill of asking yourself whether a particular item sparks joy. Clothes are good for practicing on, and then sentimental items are often the hardest, and the most time consuming.
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3. Tidy by category
By tidying by category and not by room, it shows you how much of one category you truly have. For example, if you have clothes stored in different places in your home, gathering them all together will give you an accurate understanding of just how many clothes you have.
4. Clever storage and folding is a game changer
Most of us stack our clothes on top of each other when placing them in drawers as second nature, but, Marie has a unique method of folding clothes and placing them upright in drawers. This allows you to see every item at once so you don’t miss out on wearing a once-loved tee you forgot you had … which could lead you to buy more clothes unnecessarily.
5. Be committed
The KonMari method of tidying takes strength and commitment. It’s not easy getting rid of things that you once wanted, and it’s a big job. But, if you commit yourself and apply the method, the process is easier.
6. Be grateful for what you have
Marie says once you’ve decided to get rid of an item, say thank you to it for serving you well and respectfully dispose of it. It may seem strange to thank a pair of socks with holes in them for serving you well over the years before tossing them out, but this is an important step in recognising your possessions’ purpose and making the tidying experience a more positive one.
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The KonMari method has been so successful because we tend to accumulate things in our homes that don’t necessarily spark joy. But, there is a downside to the Netflix special that was perhaps unanticipated: waste. After discovering the KonMari method, Australian households have been getting rid of their possessions en masse, and sustainability groups are urging Australians to find new homes for their discarded items instead of sending them to landfill. So, when you are getting rid of all of those items that don’t spark joy, think about people you know that they might spark joy for, or sell them or donate them to charity. On the upside, when making future purchasing decisions, by using the KonMari method we’re less likely to buy things we don’t need.
Words by Nichola Davies