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7 Sublime Decluttering Tips That Are Pure Marie Kondo Genius

Published: 24th August 2020 09:22

By now, we’ve all heard about Marie Kondo’s ground-breaking book that set YouTube and Instagram on fire. When I first heard about Marie Kondo I took it with a grain of salt.

Then thanks to COVID-19 I found myself working from home with nothing but The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, standing between my sanity and hysteria.

I tried her tips for myself. I ruthlessly purged anything that failed to spark joy in my life and discovered few of our possessions indeed sparked that elusive joy.

The end result was a decluttered, eminently livable family home once more firmly under control. So, as Netflix mulls Season 2 of Tidying Up, I’m sharing 7 sublime tips that are pure Mary Kondo magic

1. Cluster Your Items Into Categories

This tip is intended to show you just how much stuff you have. It can be a bit overwhelming so you might prefer to start with a manageable space like your bathroom.

Marie Kondo’s 5 categories are:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono (Bathroom, Kitchen, Garage, Basement etc.)
  5. Sentimental Items

Most of us think we own less than we actually do. Seeing the contents of one category clustered together in one place can be pretty eye-opening.

From personal experience, it’s easier to start with “Komono”, the bathroom first. This gets you into the groove and hopefully onto a roll.

2. Remember Your Home Should Be A Source of Joy

Marie Kondo’s signature tip is her question, “Does it spark joy?” Your home should be a haven, a place you look forward to coming home to. 

That doesn’t mean you need to spend a packed replacing your household contents with luxurious items that “spark joy.”

Rather, that tip implies you should aspire to be selective about everything that passes through the front door of your home. Marie is encouraging you to create a home that sparks joy in your life.

That may mean decluttering, ridding yourself of items that don’t deliver on joy. Other times, that may mean keeping useful stuff you might not love but are practical, eventually swapping them out for things that do bring you joy.

The outcome is a deeper appreciation of the things you already have.

3. Declutter Items of Sentimental Value Last

When you first start decluttering, there’s a temptation to dive right into the hard stuff. If you happen to be a sentimental type, this can be a tricky category to tackle.

While you can make your own mind up about the rights and wrongs of Marie’s recommended order, she was definitely onto something when she recommends leaving this category for last.

Start with the easy stuff, expired tinned food in your pantry old medications in your bathroom, the overflowing cleaning products under your kitchen sink.

In my case, I had boxes of old VHS and audio tapes and reels of ancient family 8mm film reels. I didn’t want to throw them out, but they were messy, covered in dust and mould, and took up a lot of space.

My solution? I took advantage of the new VHS to DVD transfer technology and converted everything to digital. Problem solved!

4. Hold Each Individual Item, One At A Time, When Deciding Its Fate

Yep, this does seem like it will take forever! This decluttering business could take way longer than you initially thought.

But fear not.

Years of mindless excessive consumption got you into this mess in the first place, right? So, don’t try solving your clutter problem in an afternoon. 

Getting used to a decluttered home usually takes time. Thinking you can arrive at considered decisions about every single item in your home in one weekend is delusional.

Decluttering is best thought of as a slow and steady process. Sometimes you may shed more stuff at one time than others.

By taking time to think about each individual item, you’re building a decluttering habit that will stand you in good stead. With luck, that habit will gradually alter your shopping habits.

5. Decluttering Is Ultimately Personal There Is No “Right” Number Of Items To Keep Or Shed

Marie Kondo is sweet and gracious in her approach to clients, rather than being prescriptive. Her method doesn’t employ arbitrary rules of thumb. If a client wanted to keep an item, Marie was happy to go with their judgement.

After all, decluttering is about deciding what brings you “joy.”

6. Marie Kondo’s Approach To Folding Banished Messy Drawers For Good

After decluttering my home, I break my lift into pre-Marie Kondo folding and post-Marie Kondo folding. Messy drawers are often a source of deep frustration.

Pre-Marie Kondo folding technique, tidy drawers could be devastated in a moment.

After adopting the KonMari folding technique, messy drawers are a thing of the past. It proved to be a serious game-changer.

Using the KonMari approach you can easily see everything in your drawer at a single glance. Another savvy tips is to hang as much of your wardrobe as you can. It really works!

7. Finally, Thank Each Item For Its Service Before You Bin It

Alright, I confess this isn’t my thing. In essence, however, this Marie Kondo tip is about cultivating the right attitude, one of gratitude. The very fact we have a clutter problem in the first place is a sign of first-world privilege. 

We all have way more stuff than we need. You don’t necessarily have to thank each item. Simply channel your gratitude in whatever way works for you.

This spirit of gratitude is also useful in breaking our poor shopping habits. Habits that created all that clutter in the first place!

Final Observation

Mary Kondo breaks down her evangelical approach to decluttering your home into two tidy steps. Firstly, take each item you own in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If the answer is a resounding ‘No,’ thank it graciously for its service and purge it. Secondly, once you’ve winnowed your possessions down to those that bring you the most joy, ensure each every item is placed where it is visible at a glance, readily accessible, easy to lay your hands on and just as easy to put back in its place. Only then, according to the KonMari philosophy will you have arrived at the decluttered nirvana you sought, and never have to declutter again. At least that’s the theory!

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