Have you embarked on the Marie Kondo "tidying up" train yet? Well, if not, then you’re missing out. Because Kondo has come up with a fool-proof method for getting your space tidy. And we are here for it. So we rounded up the best Marie Kondo tips and tricks to give you a crash course and help you start.
It may sound weird, but imagine your belongings have feelings of their own. How must they feel being thrown into the far corner of your spare room’s closet or under your bed? How would you feel being tossed aside so easily?
Visualize What You Want and Create It
Kondo says it’s easier to organize your life if you have a clear vision of where you want it to be. Once you’ve set a vision, you can start to take a look at the things you own from the perspective of how they fit into it.
Work All at Once
Plan to devote an entire day (if your place is small) or an entire weekend (if it’s larger) to cleaning up your space. If you’re only doing one room at a time, you’ll more than likely never finish your space, and those rooms will just go back to being disorganized.
Ditch the Piggy Banks
Throwing spare change into a bowl on your counter takes up unnecessary space and basically makes your money useless. There are no plans to retrieve that change at a later date, after all. Instead, Kondo says, keep it in a small purse that you can carry with you — and spend.
Organize by Category
When it comes to cleaning and organizing, we’ve sort of been conditioned to do it by room — bedroom, living room, study, etc. But there’s a better way. Cleaning up by item category instead — like books or clothing — will allow you to actually declutter, instead of just moving it from one room to another.
Go in Order
Because certain items, like photo albums, are inherently more difficult to go through emotionally, Kondo has set up a specific organizational order. She starts with the least sentimental stuff — clothing — and goes down
Keep Similar Items Together
Especially if you have a smaller space. It makes it easier to keep track of the things you own. Kondo also suggests standing items up vertically inside of drawers. Not only does it more effectively utilize space, but you can see everything.
Give Things a Home
In areas like kitchens and bathrooms, Kondo says, there tend to be a lot of little things that don’t really go together. Her best advice is to give them a home somewhere they wouldn’t be in the way (like away from the sink).
Get Rid of Paperwork
We live in a digital age. Anything you really need, whether it be a credit card statement or a warranty, can, in all likelihood, be found online. So all of those random papers taking up space in that old filing cabinet? Get rid of them.
Not only will it make your things look better, but they’ll be better organized, too. When things like clothing or refrigerator contents are easily accessible, both visually and physically, there’s a better chance of them bringing you joy.
Put Your Clothing in a Dresser
While the closet is certainly an appropriate location for several clothing items, it shouldn’t be the go-to place for what you wear. Instead, make space in a dresser for the bulk of your items by using drawer inserts or old shoeboxes.
Speaking of Folding…
According to Kondo, “Folding works best if you approach it like origami.” Essentially, you’re going to want to smooth it out after each fold, which will help your stuff maintain their shape. Ultimately, the goal is to have your folded shirts be able to stand upright.
Love Your Wardrobe
Kondo speaks a lot about making sure the things you own bring you joy. That should go double for your wardrobe. Rather than rely on go-to, easily accessible pieces, seek out items that truly bring you joy to wear. You may have to spend a little more, but you’ll be thankful in the long run.
Stop Thinking in Terms of “Someday”
How many times have you gone through old stuff and thought, “Someday I’ll need this?” How many times have you actually ever needed it? Thinking about “someday” just prevents you from letting go of things that no longer serve you.
Once you’ve decided an item does not spark joy for you, there’s no reason to dispose of it haphazardly. It’s important to be respectful of your belongings, even if they’re things you no longer wish to keep.
Consider Your Options
Disposing of an item doesn’t always mean throwing it away. There are other ways to let go of items that no longer spark joy for you. Kondo suggests both donation and storage as alternative methods.
It’s especially important to complete the getting rid of portion of decluttering before you embark on re-storing your stuff. You won’t actually know what type of storage space you have to work with until you do.
Keep Your Boxes
Interestingly enough, those boxes may not in themselves spark joy for you, but they’ll be plenty useful when it comes to reorganizing your things. Kondo suggests keeping them on hand for use as drawer organizers and the like.
Display Treasured Items
As for the things you own that spark the most joy for you, Kondo says it’s best to put them on display. That way, every time you walk into a room, the things you love will immediately fill you with happiness.
Pare Down Your Photos
When it finally comes time to organize your old photos, Kondo says the best thing you can do is to first organize them by similarities. Take all of the pics from your last family vacation, for example. Choose the one (or few) you like the best, and then discard the rest.
Decorate Your Storage
For small mementos that need to be stored in containers, look for decorated boxes or trunks that can be kept on display in your home. That way, even though your stuff is stored away, it’ll still be able to spark joy for you.
Make Your Books Look Pretty
Book hoarding is a very real thing, but it isn’t always a bad one. If you have the space for a large book collection, you should keep it. But you can still organize what you’ve got — Kondo color coordinates her shelves to make them more visually appealing.
Have an Understanding of What Sparks Joy in Your Life
For most of Kondo’s clients, it isn’t just about organizing; it’s about creating an environment conducive to wellness. And to do that, you have to first recognize what will bring the most joy to your life.
The items you surround yourself with should bring you happiness. If not, you’re only working to create a negative space. According to Kondo, the best thing to do when going through your things is to judge them on their ability to spark joy for you. If they don’t, get rid of them.
Give Nostalgia the Middle Finger
Trips down Memory Lane are not your friend. Opening up an album of old photographs while you’re trying to declutter a bookshelf is quite possibly the worst thing you can do. Which is why Kondo stresses the importance of putting blinders on to nostalgic pieces. They’ll only serve to sidetrack your work.