Here’s a sobering statistic. Most of us only wear 20% of our closet. Add to that the unread books and kitchen utensils, as well as drawers full of everything from broken flashlights to free tote bags (our personal weakness), and all of us could probably do with a little spring cleaning. Enter Marie Kondo, creator of the Japanese method to stay organized call Konmari, and author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo suggests that de-cluttering your space could literally change your life. So, what better time than now? Below are her 6 rules to help you lighten your load. We guarantee you’ll get dressed quicker, finally find a home for your french press coffee maker, and finally not feel bad about the 12 unread books on your night stand.
1). Decide to do it all at once. It’s easy to say you’re going to spring clean your sock drawer and hope that will kickstart some innate fire in you to de-clutter your entire house or apartment. Sadly, that’s not how most of us operate. Doing just little bit will set you up to being right back where you started in a few weeks. Kondo says you need to commit to de-cluttering everything. Give yourself time, say 6 months of sorting.
2). Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Maybe it’s being able to open your closet, see everything clearly, and not have to do a 10 minute dig to find that LBD; or perhaps it’s being able to whip up a quick dinner for friends without having to sort through all of your mismatched and chipped wine glasses. Have an idea of what you want your lifestyle to look like and get ready to make it happen.
3). The endgame isn’t to throw out 90% of your belongings. The end game is to only hold onto items that make you happy. That may sound crazy but once you get the hang of it, it becomes an invaluable tool. It’s particularly effective for organizing closets as we often develop weird attachments to clothing (it was expensive, I wore it on our first date, I just need to lose 10 pounds), not really considering if the shirt, dress, or pair of shoes serves a purpose. Pick up each item and really ask if it brings you joy. You’ll probably be surprised by the answer.
4). It’s going to get messy. Before you can put everything back into your new, fantastic joy-filled oasis, it’s going to look a bit like you’re a grade A hoarder. Don’t start putting items back in their place until you’ve gone through everything. Mess is a great motivator.
5). Clean by category not by room. To stay on task, Kondo says it’s easier to pick an item, say books, and go through all at once. Most are probably in the living room, a few scattered in your bedroom, with the obligatory cook books in the kitchen. Dump them all in one place, pick up each one, ask if “sparks joy” and either keep or discard. Sticking to one category makes it easier to stay on task.
6). Do it in order. Start with your clothes, next books, papers, komono (Japanese for miscellany) and finally, sentimental items. Have you ever run across old photos while tidying and found that hours have passed while you flipping through them? A common occurrence, and clearly illustrates the point of tidying in the proper order, which is designed to help you hone your de-cluttering skill set.
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