Tidying up marie kondo

Table of Contents

  • The KonMari Method is pro organizer Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room.
  • The goal of the KonMari Method is to have a house full of items that spark joy.
  • Marie Kondo is the author of the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and she now has a popular Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Most people know about Marie Kondo from her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. When it was originally published in 2014, Kondo had established herself as a Japanese cleaning consultant with a revolutionary idea (organizing category-by-category instead of room-by-room) and a track record of clients who never relapsed back into their old hoarding ways. Today, she’s become household name by literally visiting American homes in need of her help on her crazy-popular Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. And it’s getting people off the couch, too: Now everyone wants a piece of the KonMari Method.

What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari Method is Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room. There are six basic rules to get started:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.

And five categories to tackle:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items

While many people associate her method with tidying, it’s really about discarding items that lack value. To determine what makes the cut, Kondo has you start by removing everything out of your closets and drawers (category one), all the books off your shelves (category two), all the paperwork out of your desk and bins (you get the idea). Once you have a big pile, you’re to go item-by-item and consider if it sparks joy. While Kondo admits that this can feel awkward or unnatural at first, she assures readers and viewers that you’ll get better at recognizing what sparks joy as you go. Once you’ve tossed items in every category, you should have a much smaller set of remaining items that you can return to various closets, drawers, shelves, and boxes. Note that you’re to finish one category before moving onto the next one.

Because you’re actively choosing items that spark joy, and discarding what doesn’t, the intention of the KonMari method is to end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity to your life. While tidying, she encourages you to visualize the life you want to live — to be less stressed, for example — and what you need to get there. Anything that won’t help on that journey isn’t deserving of your space or you, she says.

Does “KonMari” mean something?

There’s no deeper meaning here: KonMari is simply the combination of Marie Kondo’s first and last and first name. Kondo trademarked the term because, well, it’s her name (and genius idea!).

What is the KonMari folding method?

Kondo has very specific guidelines for how to properly fold clothes. Watch this video to learn how to fold clothes the KonMari way:

It’s actually the way you store clothes that makes a difference. Leaving clothes in a stacked pile — no matter how neat — makes them hard to reach and even harder to see. Instead, stand clothes upright to help you stay true to Kondo’s idea of appreciating items through touch and use.

This helpful video by Lavendaire gives you a step-by-step guide for folding trickier items like bulky sweaters and hoodies:

What is the KonMari checklist, and do I need it?

In Kondo’s book Spark Joy, you’ll find a guide that’ll help you decide what to keep and what to toss across a comprehensive list of categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, and even digital photos. So if you think of yourself as generally indecisive, then yes, this checklist will make your process of tidying up go much faster. It also covers how to fold just about everything, from dress shirts to socks.

Can I hire Marie Kondo to do the work for me?

Since she’s super busy building an organization empire, Kondo is no longer available for hire. However, you can hire one of her 200+ consultants to tidy your house. All consultants are assigned certification levels, ranging from green (10 tidying sessions with 2 clients) to master (500 tidying sessions with 50 clients). Rates vary depending on a consultant’s experience level. For example, Simply Spark Joy, a green consultant — the lowest tier — charges $595 per session (number of sessions TBD). Minimize with Purpose, a platinum consultant — the second highest tier — starts at $3,000 for an introductory package, which includes six tidying sessions. Moral of the story: Unless you’re rich, you might be better off doing the work yourself. And if you find your joy through KonMari, you can eventually become a consultant yourself.

Learn More About the KonMari Method

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing amazon.com $9.69 The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story amazon.com $11.69 Life-Changing Magic: A Journal amazon.com $11.55 Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up amazon.com $11.60

Hungover and pleasantly aimless on New Year’s Day, I scrolled through Netflix looking for something soothing to watch. Not You—even though apparently everyone on my timeline was watching the Penn Badgley thriller. I was not going to pick Bird Box; the apocalypse will come soon enough. Sadly, I was clean out of Great British Bake Off episodes. And the time for Christmas movies about improbable princes was over for another year.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, though, had the promise of Queer Eye–like simplicity and redemption, exactly what I craved on this black hole of a day. The show features Japanese neatness queen Marie Kondo, whose 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (it came out in Japan three years earlier), persuaded swathes of readers that the “Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” would heal their souls.

In Tidying Up, Kondo visits American families and helps them to deal with the burden of their possessions—sorting, eliminating, and arranging them in a way that streamlines not only their stuff, but also their lives. Crying over regular Jo(e)s whose gigantic life hurdles could be cleared with the cheery help of a semi-celebrity: Nothing could be more suited to the biggest lounge-around day of the year.

As might be expected of a show focused on a woman whose superpower is folding, the show has a quietly tender tone. In the first episode, Kondo and an interpreter visit the Friend family—Rachel, Kevin, and their two young children. The Friend house isn’t a Hoarders-worthy mess; it’s just the home of two working parents and two children. Kondo visits each client family several times over the course of a month, bearing gifts (boxes to put miscellaneous items in), encouragement (“I can feel the spirit of this bedroom”), and instruction (“Take all the clothes from everywhere in the house and pile it into one big mountain”).

Just one rule reigns in the KonMari method: Keep items that “spark joy” and discard those that don’t, after thanking them for their service. That, plus a specific technique for folding clothing and linens that allows you to easily see what’s in a drawer, pretty much sums it all up.

‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo amazon.com $16.99 $9.69 (43% off)

Shows of this ilk get mileage from straightening out quotidian disagreements and bumpy emotional roads via an achievable set of rules. Tidying Up does deliver on this; the Friends talk to Kondo about the mess in the kitchen, Rachel’s distaste for laundry, and a lack of wardrobe space, and it becomes clear that domestic labor is a point of tension. Through the process of clearing out unwanted items, the couple bond over the task and recognize ways to work together on whatever they’re arguing about. But as I watched the Friends work through all their shit, physical and emotional, something weird happened: I wanted to tidy.

Something weird happened: I wanted to tidy.

This surprised me a great deal. Let me be clear; I don’t like cleaning, and I love acquiring things. A chair in my bedroom is already “one big mountain” of clothes. Assortments of things loiter in tote bags around my apartment and I have enough dry goods to start a general store. Do not ask me how many lipsticks I own, or what organizational logic governs their storage. I didn’t get into the KonMari craze at all when it originally landed in book form, even though I’m clearly a good candidate for Kondo’s wisdom. Yet as Kondo systematically helped her clients comb through forgotten corners and cull excess, I did feel an itch to get up and do it myself.

Denise Crew/Netflix

Tidying Up was released on January 1, an aptly optimistic day for a show like this. But this sudden urge to tidy didn’t have anything to do with a ritualistic new year’s cleansing or a sense of chastened guilt. Mostly, it had to do with Kondo herself. Bright-eyed and patient, she comes from the cheerleading school of self-improvement, rather than being a stern scold. “Even my house gets cluttered sometimes,” she’ll say—a lie of kindness, in all likelihood, given that she writes in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that she’s been thinking about tidying since she was in middle school. Her style is to treat a proliferation of possessions as something you can most definitely handle, rather than a source of anxiety, and to regard clutter as, well, fun. “I’m so excited, because I love mess,” she tells one client.

Sifting through miscellaneous papers, filing some and throwing others out, I identified with one of Kondo’s clients, who was doing the same on screen with much agita. Folding t-shirts per her guidance, I felt calm and focused, thinking, Keep that; Oh, haven’t seen that in a while; Ew. By the time I had consumed six of the nine episodes, I had Kondoed my way through a chest of drawers, a random assortment of desk detritus, and…just a lot of stuff. I thought I’d get something out of watching other people eliminating their messes. But it turns out that the magic of tidying up is something that requires—and inspires—a little participation.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is streaming on Netflix now.

Estelle Tang Senior Editor Estelle Tang is the Senior Editor covering culture and entertainment at ELLE.com—including TV, movies, books, music, and Adidas tracksuits.

1-Sentence-Summary: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up takes you through the process of simplifying, organizing and storing your belongings step by step, to make your home a place of peace and clarity.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Some books just strike exactly the right nerve at exactly the right time. Marie Kondo’s surely did. Published in late 2014, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up has already sold 6 million (!) copies worldwide. Using a single question as the center of her tidying process (“Does this spark joy?”), she’s swept the world off its feet and the clutter out of our homes.

I already discovered the power of decluttering in 2013, and in hindsight, I can agree with a lot of what Konmari (her nickname) says. Tidying up isn’t just about being a neat freak. It’s much more than that. It’s a spiritual experience, and you’re not just cleaning your house, your mind and body detox right with it.

If you haven’t cleaned up in a while, here are 3 lessons to keep in mind for your next spring cleaning:

  1. Move from easy to hard items when considering what to keep.
  2. YODO – you only declutter once (if you do it right).
  3. Ask yourself a few simple questions for each item.

Are you ready to make your home a home again? Let’s switch to declutter mode!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Lesson 1: Go from easy items to more difficult ones when figuring out what to keep.

What decluttering comes down to is examining your relationship with each and every single item in your home. Each relationship is different. Your history with your coffee maker has begun at a different point in time than your relationship with that postcard a friend sent you, and so on.

Do you know how thinking of some people instantly reminds you of the happy and exciting times you shared together? Possessions are the same, which makes some more worth keeping than others.

However, some relationships with things are more complicated than others. That’s why it’s best to start with easier categories of more functional items, like clothes, books, technology, documents, and other miscellaneous items. Most of these serve a clear purpose and don’t hold as many complex memories as your more sentimental items.

Save photos and memorabilia for the very end, because by then you’ll already be in decluttering mode and figure out what to do with these special memories a lot faster. Keep those where you distinctly remember creating or getting them – those are your longest lasting memories, which you can re-live over and over, and gratefully let go of the rest.

Lesson 2: YODO – you only declutter once (if you do it right).

Most people don’t even get started on decluttering, simply because they think it’s a lifetime job. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Marie Kondo says you only have to tidy up once – if you do it right – to leave a lasting impact on your life.

It takes her around six hours on average to clean a client’s house, and she’s a pro, so you should probably take a weekend to give yourself enough time. In fact, if you make it a special event, tidying up goes from tedious task to fun and life-changing experience.

Once you’ve thrown a thorough cleaning party, you’ll not only have the biggest part behind you, but also emerge with a new mindset. Chances are, you’ll buy a lot less in the future, to keep your space neat and clean, which makes future clean ups simple and easy.

For example, I threw out 75% of my clothes, all of my video games, DVDs and BluRays, some of my books and most of my old school supplies and notes in 2013. I felt so free afterward that the last thing I wanted was to fill up all those empty shelves again with the same clutter, so I’ve never had to do another big clean out since then.

Now it’s mostly just tossing an item here and there, while my space remains forever organized 🙂

Lesson 3: Don’t overcomplicate tidying up, just use a few simple questions.

But how the hell do you even decide what to keep and what to toss? This is where most people overcomplicate things, but not you. Not after you’ve read this, anyway.

Konmari suggests a few simple questions which you can use, moving from a rational to a more emotional approach, depending on the item and the complexity of the relationship you have with it.

Start with these:

  • What is the purpose of this object?
  • Has it fulfilled its purpose already?
  • Why did I get this thing?
  • When did I get it?
  • How did it land in my house?

For example, a DVD that’s still in its packaging has likely not fulfilled its purpose yet, but if it’s been sitting on your shelf for a year, chances are it’ll be better off in someone else’s hands.

But, for some things, rational reasoning won’t win over your powerful gut reaction to keep them. When you find you’re emotionally attached to an item, switch to examining how it contributes to your happiness:

  • Does this thing make me happy when I see it/hold it?
  • Do I see/hold it on a regular basis?

For example, gift cards are nice messages from friends and loved ones, bringing you joy and happiness. But even though you keep them around, you probably never look at them again. You’ve received the message, and therefore you can now let them go.

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up Review

I love all things Japan, and The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up is no exception. Konmari carries a spiritual sense of minimalism and simplicity into your life. If you haven’t done a big cleaning event in the last 5 years, do one! If this book is what it takes for you to make it happen, or you can’t find the courage yet, go for it.

Read full summary on Blinkist >>

Get the book on Amazon >>

Learn more about the author >>

What else can you learn from the blinks?

  • Why the first step of cleaning is closing your eyes
  • How getting rid of things changes your character
  • What makes decluttering therapeutic
  • Why one woman had to rush to the toilet after cleaning out her cupboard
  • Where to NOT put the things you want to get rid of
  • Why you should order your clothes by size
  • How tidying up makes you better at making decisions

Who would I recommend The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up summary to?

The 16 year old, who lives in a cluttered house, and tends to follow his parents’ example, the 29 year old fashion blogger, who often can’t decide what to wear the next day, and anyone who can’t remember the last time they did a proper spring cleaning.

You’ve read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it, well, changed your life.

You’ve also read Kondo’s new book Spark Joy, and it, yep, sparked joy for you.

But what happens when you need a KonMari Method refresher because you’re trying to stay on top of decluttering your home while juggling your busy career, social life, and genius DIY storage and furniture projects that you tackle on the weekends?

MakeSpace is more than just storage.

To find out how you can make space in your life, talk to one of our space experts. We’ll get started with the right storage plan for you.

Or what happens when you just want to show a friend how to organize your apartment, once and for all?

You could reach for either of Marie Kondo’s books and flip through the pages. If you didn’t already donate, sell, or give the books to another friend who’s sharing a tiny apartment with a significant other and needs help keeping their home tidy.

Or, you can reach for no books and flip through zero pages. Because we made a step-by-step KonMari cheat sheet that you can save on your phone and bust out whenever you want.

The best part: It’ll help you feel happier faster than you can fold a shirt or organize your office desk.

Seriously. Check out our six-step KonMari cheat sheet below. And don’t forget to share it with your friends/future KonMari-ing Konverts.

Thank you!

Want to embed our KonMari Cheat Sheet on your site?

Sweet. Copy the code below. And may your home — and life — always spark joy.

<p><a href=”https://makespace.com/” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://cdn.makespace.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/13164419/marie-kondo-konmari-method-cheat-sheet-makespace-storage.jpg” title=”KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace” alt=”KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff – for less than self-storage prices.”></a></p> <p>via <a href=”https://makespace.com/” target=”_blank”>MakeSpace</a></p>

Want to store your stuff without visiting a self-storage unit?

Of course you do. Schedule a MakeSpace pickup, pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

We’ll pick up your stuff, store it in our secure storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of it so you never forget what you have in storage.

The best part:

When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

New York City
Washington, DC
Los Angeles

Top image via Flickr/Web Summit

Summary of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – Book Summary – Readtrepreneur
(Disclaimer: This is NOT the original book, but an unofficial summary.)
Does spring cleaning always seem to go bad? No matter how many times you clean up the entire house does the same mess reappear every time? The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a step-by-step book which takes cleaning to the next level. Marie Kondo invented a revolutionary method for organizing the entire house called the KonMari method.
(Note: This summary is wholly written and published by readtrepreneur. It is not affiliated with the original author in any way)
“Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature” – Marie Kondo
Tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it. It is really pure illusion if we think that our mind can be clear and be at peace when our house is messy. If you’ve tried all the other cleaning methods taught by other “gurus”, give the KonMari method one last chance… one last chance to purify your house once and for all. Organizing and tidying the house could be fun and fulfilling with the KonMari method. You don’t give up on your child when they’re learning to walk, so why give up on your house when it’s not organized?
P.S. The KonMari method which will be taught even in this summary book might seriously take organizing your house to the next level. What’s the worst that could happen anyway?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Table Of Contents

Why can’t I keep my house in order?
You can’t tidy if you’ve never learned how
A tidying marathon doesn’t cause rebound
Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever
Why you should aim for perfection
The moment you start you reset your life
Storage experts are hoarders
Sort by category, not by location
Don’t change the method to suit your personality
Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore
Finish discarding first
Start by discarding, all at once, intensely
and completely
Before you start, visualize your destination
Selection criterion: does it spark joy?
One category at a time
Starting with mementos spells certain failure
Don’t let your family see
If you’re mad at your family, your room may be the cause
What you don’t need, your family doesn’t either
Tidying is a dialogue with one’s self
What to do when you can’t throw something away
Tidying by category works like magic
Tidying order: follow the correct order of categories
Clothing: place every item of clothing in the house on the floor
Loungewear: downgrading to “loungewear” is taboo
Clothing storage: fold it right and solve your storage problems
How to fold: the best way to fold for
perfect appearance
Arranging clothes: the secret to energizing your closet
Storing socks: treat your socks and stockings
with respect
Seasonal clothes: eliminate the need to store off-season clothes
Storing books: put all your books on the floor
Unread books: “sometime” means “never”
Books to keep: those that belong in the hall of fame
Sorting papers: rule of thumb—discard everything
All about papers: how to organize troublesome papers
Komono (miscellaneous items): keep things because you love them—not “just because”
Common types of komono: disposables
Small change: make “into my wallet” your motto
Sentimental items: your parents’ home is not a haven for mementos
Photos: cherish who you are now
Astounding stockpiles I have seen
Reduce until you reach the point where
something clicks
Follow your intuition and all will be well
Storing your things to make your life shine
Designate a place for each thing
Discard first, store later
Storage: pursue ultimate simplicity
Don’t scatter storage spaces
Forget about “flow planning” and “frequency of use”
Never pile things: vertical storage is the key
No need for commercial storage items
The best way to store bags is in another bag
Empty your bag every day
Items that usurp floor space belong in the closet
Keep things out of the bath and the kitchen sink
Make the top shelf of the bookcase your personal shrine
Decorate your closet with your secret delights
Unpack and de-tag new clothes immediately
Don’t underestimate the “noise” of written information
Appreciate your possessions and gain strong allies
The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life
Put your house in order and discover what you really want to do
The magic effect of tidying
Gaining confidence in life through the magic of tidying
An attachment to the past or anxiety about the future
Learning that you can do without
Do you greet your house?
Your possessions want to help you
Your living space affects your body
Is it true that tidying increases good fortune?
How to identify what is truly precious
Being surrounded by things that spark joy makes
you happy
Your real life begins after putting your house in order
About the author

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up | Summary and Review

My Book notes:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Tips (click to enlarge)

Ten Life-Changing Takeaways from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

10. Discard all at once

“The ultimate secret to success is this: if you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.”

9. Collect everything in one spot

“By collecting things in one spot, you can compare items that are similar in design, making it easier to decide whether you want to keep them.”

8. Discard first, before you put things back

“Focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness Why? Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”

7. Visualize a clutter-free space

“Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.”

6. Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart.”

5. The order of discarding matters

“The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.”

4. Avoid attachment anxiety

“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”

3. Learn how to fold clothes (aka. I was doing it wrong)

“The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle.”

2. Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

“Take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”

1. Make space for your mission in life

“Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life. I am convinced that putting your house in order will help you find the mission that speaks to your heart.”


Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Author: Marie Kondo
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1st edition (October 14, 2014)

Buy The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Amazon
Listen to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Audible (free trial)