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Different cultures decorate their houses in different ways. We love things here in the United States. Our consumer culture even encourages us to buy more and more for our homes. But where do we find space for everything? Many of us do not, and we end up with messy, unorganized spaces. Does this sound like you? If you think your stuff is no longer under control – or if you have the one cabinet you never want to open – the KonMari method can help.
This method, developed by Marie Kondo, is explained in her compact, easy-to-read book, The Life-Changing Magic or Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Derived from the love of minimalism of its own Japanese culture, Kondo helps people remove more clutter from their homes than they ever thought possible. How? With one simple test.
The KonMari test
The KonMari method is a practical approach to home organization – literally. It starts by clearing items that no longer belong. When deciding to keep or share an item, people are encouraged to keep that item in their hands. What does that do to you? Think about why you have it at home. Is it because someone gave you it and you felt guilty because you were going? Is it because you liked it at a certain point and just did not get it to dump it?
The KonMari method says that if you do not like something, it does not belong to your home. When you hold an object, you ask yourself: "Spark it joy?" Unless the answer is a definite yes, you should not keep it.
The method encourages you to do your entire house in one go. Yes, that also applies to those stacks of papers stating who-knows-what and the holiday decor you never get and the trash cans of your garage and … well, you get it. The theory is that we always turn those things off for once, but one day that will never happen. With the simple joy-sparking test you have a tool to make decisions about long forgotten items that you can make today.
Organize once and for all
The life-changing magic of cleaning up has sold more than two million copies. Why did a book about minimalism do so well in a culture driven by stuff? Perhaps because of the promise to help you organize once and for all. Kondo claims that if you use her method, you will get your house completely cleaned up and keep it that way permanently. How does it work? These are her rules for making differences.
Imagine ideal life
The items in your room should help you create your ideal lifestyle. So think before you decide what to keep and what needs to go through your dream life at home. Clarifying this vision will lead your organization.
Do it all and do it completely
The once-and-for-ever claim can actually only be effective if you use your entire house or apartment. Every keepsake, every paper, every linen – everything has to be considered. Do not start the KonMari method until you are ready to tackle everything. Then clean up (ie, do things that do not generate joy) before you start organizing.
Normally you will probably go room to room when you clean and organize. That is logical, in theory. But when you do a major overhaul like this, organize by category, not on location. If you have some coats in a coat, some in your daily cupboard and some in storage, pull them all out and run them together. This helps you to get clarity about what you own and prevents duplicates. You may be surprised by what you think!
Choose a place for each item
Kondo believes that you should treat your objects well, almost as if they were living things. That's why she has a specific folding method (we've tried it, it's great!). With her method, clothing is carefully folded and stacked for ultimate organization, while your clothing stays in top shape. Goop has a great illustrated guide about her folding technique if you want more info.
However, it is not just about garment storage. The KonMari method emphasizes having a place for each item. And no, the back of a drawer does not count. Once you have significantly streamlined your assets, put them back in a neat way. The theory is that when everything has a place, it will be put back on the spot, making your house tidy – permanently.
Have you used the KonMari method in your home? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.