Decluttering the KonMari way
By Vayle Hammond
Marie Kondo is a pro organiser. She loves organising so much that she has trademarked her
approach to decluttering. The KonMari Method tackles your clutter category by category,
rather than room by room; the goal is to have a house full (or not so full) of items that spark
Marie Kondo's Konmari Method works so well her books have sold over 11 million copies.
She even has a show on Netflix (Tidying Up, released in 2019 and Sparking Joy, released in
August, just in time for the latest lockdown).
Lockdown is the perfect time to KonMari your whare.
But first, let’s not imagine KonMari is easy. The method requires you to pull out every item
you own, going through piece by piece to determine what sparks joy and what does not.
Here are Marie’s 6 basic rules for tidying:
1. Commit yourself to tidying up. KonMari, says Marie, is a chance to reset your life. But
only if you commit to following its principles.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. This is a process for the long haul. It’s not about a quick
tidy up, it’s about imagining your ideal lifestyle and making it happen.
3. Finish discarding first. KonMari isn’t really about decluttering, it’s more about focusing
on the items you want to keep. Discarding items though, provides an opportunity to
learn from your past experiences. Perhaps you didn’t really need that air fryer? On a
practical level, by discarding first you can turn your full attention to those items that
4. Tidy by category, not by location. Here’s where it gets tricky. You will literally be
upending your home at this point. Take the books category for example - you’ll be
pulling out every single book in your house and placing it in a pile for review. Kia kaha,
you can do this.
“You can never grasp the overall volume of each type of thing you own”, says Marie.
“You’re more likely to keep the paperclips in your office if you don’t take into account
the stockpile in the attic. The result is that you become locked in a never-ending
cycle of tidying.”
5. Follow the right order. Marie recommends starting with the easiest category
(clothes), ending with the more challenging category (sentimental items). You’ll hone
your skills as you go. Tidy in this order:
- Komono (miscellaneous items)
- Sentimental Items
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. This is the underlying principle of KonMari. Only you can
know what kind of environment makes you happy. Pick up every item and ask each
one “Does this spark joy?” Be honest. If you genuinely feel joy, this is an item you’ll
keep. If not - let it go. Either throw it away, list it on trademe or put it aside to donate to
charity after lockdown has lifted.