My boyfriend and I recently downsized to an apartment while we’re looking for a new home in Wisconsin. Before we packed up our belongings, I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up” by Marie Kondo. I watched her series on Netflix, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, so I was a bit familiar with her method of organizing and decluttering called the KonMari method. We used our move to a new state to our advantage to help declutter our belongings so we weren’t bringing excess items to the apartment. There are some steps from the KonMari method that don’t work specifically for me, but there are several KonMari method tips I took to heart that I would recommend you follow too.
I love books, it’s no surprise. It can be tempting to purchase every book you want to read, but it can get expensive. From an organizational perspective, books can take up quite a bit of space. Now, Marie Kondo says that you should have no more than 30 books (including cookbooks) in your home, but I find that to be limiting. She had to clarify later that it’s more of a guide to thinking about what books spark joy and that you want to keep. I use this rule to evaluate what books I truly want as a physical copy. If I don’t want to keep the book, I will choose to either purchase it digitally )e-book or audiobook) or borrow it from my local library.
Paper clutter is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to organizing. Because I hate paper clutter so much, whenever I need to get a bill, I opt to get it billed via email or set up automatic payments. We also purchased a paper shredder to discard any confidential paperwork we do not need to keep in the house. If you do have papers you need to save, I recommend putting them in a safe. Since you normally keep valuables/important things in a safe, it makes sense to put important papers in there too!
The art of folding
I hate folding laundry. But the KonMari method of folding has created so much more space in both my boyfriend’s dresser and mine! By folding items and stacking them vertically/upright rather than stacking them flat, there is so much more space that I didn’t realize existed. I have separate organizers for my undergarments, so I don’t fold those. To make it easier, I purchased a folding board so when I’m folding clothes it’s not as much of a hassle.
Not a one-day project
One thing I really appreciated seeing was how Marie Kondo broke up the items that need organizing into categories. And her method is meant to be followed over multiple days. While I’m still mastering the category sorting method, her advice on making it a multiple day process helped make the concept of organizing less jaunting. I’m using this method right now while unpacking all of our boxes. Granted, while unpacking I can’t break it down into specific categories, but remembering that organizing can’t be done in one day is helpful to keep in mind.
Does it spark joy?
Marie’s advice is simple: if an item doesn’t spark joy, discard it. This has helped me discard many items that I no longer have an emotional attachment too. It can be harder to use this rule when it comes to sentimental items, but for items like clothing, cookware, etc. this is a helpful rule. In terms of items that have sentiment, don’t let nostalgia cloud your judgment too much.
After all your hard work, you’ll have boxes and bags full of items to discard or donate. Don’t forget to actually get rid of excess clutter ASAP! And no, this does not mean discarding your unwanted items entirely on your friend and family. Once you are done decluttering, throw out what you need to and donate any items that could use a second home. I do make a habit of thrift shopping after I donate items, but I make sure to remember what I just got rid of to avoid excess clutter.
As mentioned before, some of Marie Kondo’s methods might not work for everyone or every space. You might not have enough space to do everything exactly like Marie Kondo, or you might not own the space you live in to have more creative liberties with the organization. The takeaways I provided might not work for you. However, being able to use this method to get rid of excess clutter has helped me think about what I truly need and what sparks joy.