You know that horrible dream where your always perfect, super judgy frenemy from high school calls and says, “Surprise! I’m 5 minutes away!” and your house looks like a hot mess? But then you realize you’re not dreaming - this is real life and it’s actually your (even more judgmental) mother-in-law?!
Because everything that lies before you (as you quickly scan your living room) has been designated a “home” and you can rectify this situation faster than Mary Poppins can snap her fingers.
Why? Because you. are. organized. When everything in your home has its place, restoring order is a virtual breeze. This is the real-life magic of the KonMari Method.
Break it down for me.
So what's this "spark joy" business all about? For starters, there are 6 basic rules of tidying.
Rule 01 | Commit yourself to tidying up
You've got to want it, people. Your options are: do it now, do it someday, or worry about it when you’re dead. I like now.
Rule 02 | Imagine your ideal lifestyle
There are a thousand reasons why goal-setting is so important to achieving success (just Google it). Picture in your mind (or even better, on a Pinterest board) what your perfect life looks like. When you figure out your “why” for tidying, you’ll have a something to aspire to and it will help keep you motivated and focused.
Rule 03 | Finish letting go first
The main reason we struggle to maintain a tidy home is that we simply have too much stuff.
Discarding the excess is a crucial step before you can begin mapping out your storage plan, so just let it goooooo.
Rule 04 | Tidy by category, not location
With each Spring comes renewed aspirations of an organized pantry or neatly categorized craft closet, but there’s a reason “Spring Cleaning” doesn’t last. When you organize by room you are basically just shuffling things around from one spot to the next - chances are there are more items in the same category scattered around your house. When you organize by category and gather everything in one spot, you will have a better grasp of the actual amount of items in that category. Having all of your like-items together will help you better determine what to keep & what to discard.
Rule 05 | Follow the right order
The proper order for tidying is as follows: clothes, books, paper, komono (miscellany), and sentimental items. The thought process here is that most people struggle with sentimental items, such as photos or heirlooms, and as such should be addressed at the end of your tidying journey. Clothing on the hand is a good jumping off point to hone your ability in recognizing what sparks joy for you.
Rule 06 | Ask yourself if it sparks joy
This is the standard by which you we decide if an item stays or goes - the Golden Rule of KonMari, if you will. If an object does not spark joy, thank it then let it go.
(Keep scrolling for a handy cheat sheet)
Reason No. 1
Focus on the positive.
The KonMari method does not focus on discarding, but rather choosing to keep what brings you joy. This makes SO much sense to me, and that's why I love it. We should all be surrounding ourselves with the things that make us happy (and this rule applies to your relationships too).
That's the general concept, but how do you know if an item sparks joy? What does that even mean?
Pretend your closet, bookshelf, etc. is a store. What things are you attracted to, that catch your eye? That little thrill is the feeling that you are shooting for. Do you love it, does it speak to you? Yes? Then it sparks joy.
Granted some things that are necessary in life (your pots, a hammer, the toilet brush) probably aren't going to make your heart go pitter-pat. For those items think of what they do for you. If something serves a purpose, it stays!
Marie Kondo also give you a free pass. If you are unsure about something or whether is "sparks joy," keep it - without hesitation.
(Seriously, how can you not love this woman?)
Reason No. 2
Say goodbye without the guilt.
In KonMari, the rule is you must thank an item before letting go.
Sure, it sounds crazy to talk to your clothes (you don’t have to say it out loud if that helps), but this process teaches you to truly appreciate your possessions and allows you to discard them without the guilt...
“Thank you, shirt, for teaching me that tube tops aren't for me.”
“Thank you, greeting card, for showing me that I am loved.”
This. is. genius.
Even I, a person of zero sentiment (like I'm basically a robot), who purges on a regular basis, was able to remove a trash bag full of clothing from my closet. Things that I had been hanging onto - out of guilt...
A shirt that I never wore because it was impossible to iron out, but kept because I had spent my hard-earned money on it... A dress that was a gift from my parents. I only wore it once because it wasn't really my style, but I kept anyway because it was a present...because of guilt.
I thanked them for the lessons I learned and let them go. It was freeing, you guys.
Reason No. 3
Set for life.
Tidying all-in-one-go is a commitment. But it also sets you up for long-term success. A few things happen when you tidy up via the KonMari method.
A. Everything has a home.
A place for everything and everything in its place. Once you go through the process of sorting through ALL THE THINGS, the next step is to assign it a home. After that it's simply a matter of upkeep (i.e. putting things back where they belong).
B. You appreciate what you have.
I always find myself telling my kids to treat their things with respect. Maybe don't toss your superheroes down the stairs, okay? This is something we as adults should take to heart. When we truly cherish our belongings, we take better care of them and they last longer.
C. You change your mindset.
After you've gone through the trouble of organizing your entire home, you tend to want to keep it that way. The entire process teaches you to be more intentional about the things that you bring into your home. Before I buy something new I now ask myself, "Do I love it?" and "Where will I put it?"
Reason No. 4
It's about what works for you.
You may come across some articles stating that the KonMari method is not for everybody. I disagree.
The true purpose of tidying up is to find and keep the things that we truly love, to display them proudly in our homes, and to live our best lives. I think that's something everyone can get on board with. Sure there are rules and guidelines to follow, but inevitably it's about setting up a system that works for you and making adjustments for your lifestyle - it's all there in her books. So you do you, friends!
Have you tried the KonMari method? How has it benefitted you?