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What is the Marie Kondo method? The basics

A lot of people know about the Marie Kondo method because of her best-selling book.

Although there are a few Marie Kondo books available right now, The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up is what launched Kondo into fame. 

When the title first appeared in 2014, Marie Kondo had already established herself as a knowledgeable Japanese cleaning consultant. 

This amazing woman believes that organizing a home category by category, instead of room-by-room, helps to reduce hoarding. 

Though Kondo’s books are extremely popular, it wasn’t until she landed a Netflix special that Marie took the world by storm. 

Today, she’s a household name throughout the world, with everyone taking their own approach to the KonMari method

Today, we’re going to introduce you to the basics of the Marie Kondo method. 

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What is the Marie Kondo method?

Let’s start with the basics. 

According to Marie Kondo quotes from around the web, she’s been obsessed with organizing since her childhood. Marie started her cleaning consultant business as a 19-year-old student in Tokyo. 

Today, Kondo has transformed that passion into a world-changing strategy. 

According to Kondo, the secret to successful organizing is learning how to simplify your home in such a way that you never have to do it again. 

Marie’s strategies might sound too good to be true, but she’s been featured in everything from The Wall Street Journal, to the New York Times. 

So, how does the Marie Kondo method work? 

While most tidying methods take the standard little-by-little, room-by-room approach. This often means that you end up picking at piles of stuff over and over again. 

Alternatively, the KonMari method (Marie Kondo method), encourages you to tidy by category. 

For instance, you start with clothes, then move onto books, paper, miscellaneous items (komono), and sentimental items. 

The decision-making process is simple. You keep the things that “spark joy” (or speak to your heart) and discard the things that don’t. 

The Marie Kondo house cleaning rules

Transforming your home with Marie Kondo books is a lot simpler than you might think. There are only 6 basic rules that you need to follow:

  1. Commit to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal outcome/ lifestyle
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Don’t tidy by location, tidy by category
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask if every item sparks joy

While many people assume that the Marie Kondo method is all about tidying – it’s more about organization and removing things that don’t have value. In life, a lot of people have a habit of holding onto things that they don’t really want or need. 

Once you’ve tossed the items that you care less about in every category, you have a much smaller set of items to deal with. Because you’re actively keeping the items that matter to you, you end up with a clutter-free home, without compromise. 

While tidying, Marie Kondo encourages you to visualize the life you hope to lead, and how you want to get there. Anything that isn’t helping you to reach your goal isn’t helpful to you and shouldn’t be taking up room in your house. 

You can even consider using a checklist if you have trouble making your decisions. 

It sounds unusual, but a cleaning method that changes your thought process about how you organize your house, can actually transform a lot of important parts of your life. 

Marie Kondo and her strategies resonate with a lot of people right now, because these strategies focus on mindfulness. It’s all about looking at the world and items around you and asking yourself what makes you happy.

But 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. – Maria Kondo

After you look at hundreds of possessions and ask yourself whether they have a positive impact on your life, decision-making processes become a lot easier too. 

You’ll find that you have less trouble figuring out which projects you should pursue, and which you should say no to. 

Even deciding what to make for dinner and which books to read can become a lot more straightforward. 

The lessons to take away from Marie Kondo

The first lesson that the Marie Kondo method teaches, is to tackle tidying in categories, rather than focusing on rooms. That’s a big change for a lot of people. 

Most of the time, we tackle rooms one by one, trying to handle the flow of trash and clutter as we go. 

However, this sometimes means that you end up moving items from room to room, rather than getting rid of them. 

Starting with clothing is generally a good idea, because you probably don’t have much of an emotional connection to what you wear. It’s best to leave those sentimental items till last. 

That brings us to some other lessons from the Marie Kondo method:

  • Respect your belongings: Marie asks us to consider the happiness of our items. Sounds crazy – but it works. Are your books really happy crammed into a corner of your wardrobe? If everything around you looks miserable, you’re going to feel that way too. 
  • Ditch the nostalgia glasses: Sometimes we hold onto things because of the memories they bring, but we don’t need them in our lives. Although it’s fine to be sentimental about some things, it’s important not to let the sentiment take control. 
  • Purging is great: Letting go is better for your health and mental comfort than you think. Ultimately, although it sometimes feels good to keep hold of things, it also feels great to allow yourself the freedom to move on. Once you get to work and start making a change, you’ll love the way you feel when ditching the things you don’t need. 
  • Fold don’t hang: This lesson might not be as meaningful as some of the others we’ve covered – but it’s a good one to keep in mind. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to keep, you can also figure out where those items are going to go. Kondo believes that folding items in a dresser is much better for organization and happiness than hanging your clothes. 
  • Fall in love with what you keep: When you separate the things you want and need, from the things you’re just holding onto, you can start to see the value in the items around you. Ultimately, the Marie Kondo method is about surrounding yourself with things that move your life in a positive direction.

There is one final lesson that you might want to take away from the Marie Kondo books and quotes you find online, too – the folding method

If you’ve ever had a headache with storing clothes in your closet or getting ready for a vacation, then you should check out this folding process. 

Kondo recommends taking a very unique approach to folding which generally makes your clothes a lot smaller and more compact. 

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The results of the Marie Kondo method

Everyone responds to the Marie Kondo method differently. Some people find that it’s just a convenient way to organize their house and stop themselves from hoarding. 

Other people believe that Marie Kondo books and quotes actually lead them towards a better life. For instance, if you’ve organized your closet, then you’ll no longer have to dig through an overstuffed wardrobe to find what you need. 

What’s more, because you’re keeping the items that matter most for you, you’ll find that going into your closet makes you feel happy (not just stressed). 

The Marie Kondo method also means you’re more likely to collect the things you love. You throw your cash away on fewer meaningless items. That also means that you can spend more of your money on something that you care about. 

When you are buying those new items that you love so much, you also treat them with respect, which means they look better too. You find the right place or home for everything you buy, and cleaning becomes so much easier. 

You will still need to tidy around and get rid of dust, but it’s less of an overwhelming chore than it may have been before you organized everything. 

Are you going to try the Marie Kondo method? Have you considered it already?  Maybe organizing our lives can be easier than we think?

ReWired: ReThink Your Life.