stay clean and organized with the konmari method

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Do you have closets you can barely close?  Does it take a long time and much effort just to get dressed for the day?  Is your house so cluttered, it’s hard for you to find anything?

Like many Americans, even with houses and apartments that are more than enough space for their occupants, we all still feel cramped and wish we had a larger place to live no matter how much cleaning and organizing we do.

The Konmari method was coined from the name of a highly sought-after organizing consultant in Japan.  Marie Kondo wrote a book entitled, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
.”  Her students go through a course and once they graduate, Marie Kondo boasts a zero percent rate of relapse from her clients.

Her methods are fairly simple.  The emphasis is on whether or not an item makes you feel happy and the order you sort through your things.  Here is a bullet list or summary of the Konmari Method:

1. Visualize Your Goal and Don’t be Broad: Be specific in what you want to achieve.  For example, imagine how clear your countertops and how much room you wish to have in your home.  This way you will have a goal to strive for and an end to your work in mind.

2. Think About Why You want to Live This Way.  Ask yourself “why” then ask yourself “why” again to each of these answers and ask some more 3-5 times for each of these answers.      For Marie Kondo, the problem of clutter is not just a physical, time, or ability problem, but a way of thinking as well.

3. Start with the easiest categories and end with the hardest.  Declutter in this order:
a. clothes:
– tops , bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific use, shoes
– off-season, then in-season
b. books
c. papers
d. miscellaneous items
e. mementos

4. Put everything in one place so you can see how much of what you have.  For example, put all your clothing in a big pile in one room.  This way you will also be able to see similar items.

3. Discard All At Once: Keep the things that make you happy, discard everything else. Make sure to handle each item with your hands.  If it doesn’t spark joy, thank it for its service and say goodbye.  Keep going until you are done with a category before moving on.

4. Don’t let your family see because they will try to rescue items you are trying to get rid of or they might see items they have given you that you no longer need.

5. Take at least 6 Months. Don’t delay once you start.  Keep going until you finish.

6. Influence your family by example.  Your family probably won’t appreciate you trying to force them.  They will just see the difference through your example.

7. Don’t force others to take on the burden of discarding by passing on unwanted hand me downs.

8. Work in quiet or with ambient sound.  No music.  Marie Kondo considers this a process, a journey, or rite of passage one needs to go through.

9. For hard to discard items, ask yourself when you got it, why did you get it and why you never wear it?  Chances are you really have no reason to keep the item and it has fulfilled its purpose.

10. Fold clothing vertically so they stand up and each piece can be visible in your drawer.  Fold first into a rectangle, then fold to shorten the rectangle in half or in thirds until it can stand on one edge.

11. Hang clothes that are meant to be hung like dresses, suits, jackets, coats, and skirts. Hang clothes with their kind. Arrange clothes so that they rise to the right and by weight with heavier items from the left and lighter items on the right.

12. Fold then roll stockings.  Store them on one end in a shoebox. Other, shorter socks can be folded similarly to clothing.

13. Do not store off season clothes and do not categorize your clothes by season.  Exceptions are items like swim suits and thick winter coats and accessories.  Store them in drawers instead of boxes.

14. Discard books you think you only might read someday, you’ve only read halfway, and any other book that has just been collecting dust.  Keep the books you’ve read through plenty of times and books that give you pleasure.

15. Throw out all paper except for ones you are currently using, ones you need for a short time, and ones you need to keep forever.  Organize them by what needs attention, contractual documents that should be saved, and other documents that should be saved.  Aim to have the “needs attention” pile be empty and store your documents vertically.

16. Miscellaneous items are done in this order: CDs/DVDs, skin care products, makeup, accessories, valuables, electrical equipment, household equipment, expendable household supplies, kitchen goods, and others.

17. Have a place for each item you keep.  Store similar or related items together or near each other and don’t place items where they don’t belong.

18. Store items vertically if possible so that nothing gets buried under piles of your stuff.

19. Unpack your purse every day and have a place for each of the things you unpack.  This way you can clean out your purse and keep track of the things you have.

20. Remove clothing and other similar items from their packages.  Remove the tags as well and store them the same as your other things.  Doing this will let you feel like the item is yours and not just something from the store.  Storing them properly will also save you space.

21. Remove visual “noise.”  Remove stickers and labels from the items you’ve bought.  This way you have less things “screaming” advertisements at you when you are at home.

I have yet to fully attempt the Konmari method.  It is not easy to concentrate on this will children and only short, intermittent times to do it.  For now I tried applying this rule loosely to my wardrobe and have been able to discard of plenty of unused and unwanted clothing.  It was so successful that the space the clothing I now use only take up three drawers in our dresser!

Someday I hope this will spread throughout our house and hopefully I will have less cleaning to worry about and have the house feel more spacious because of this.

If you’re struggling with room in your home and if you are having a hard time keeping up with cleaning and organizing, definitely take a look at the Konmari Method!

If you’re looking to improve only your wardrobe, check out something else I want to try in the future, Capsule Wardrobes.

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