In her SXSW speech, international tidying expert and author of the best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo said, “My dream is to organize the world. I have seen many people’s lives change through tidying… My dream is for everyone in the world to experience this joy. It starts with you.”
By tidying, you understanding what objects bring you joy, you can generalize this information to other aspects of your life, like your job or relationship. It brings you closer to your ideal life.
Here are 10 essential tips from Marie Kondo herself:
1. Visualize your goals
Before you tidy, ask yourself “Why do you want to tidy? What is your ideal life?” Picture yourself. What are the things you want to do inside your house? If you want to entertain guests, aim to create a space that would achieve this goal.
By imagining your goals for your home, it will make the tidying process more effective.
2. Tidy in one go
Think of tidying as a special event, not as daily work. This doesn’t mean it should all happen in one day, however. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of stuff you have, it could take you a week to two months or more. Be sure to set a deadline so you stay focused. By tidying all in one go, you can grasp the type of organizational style you’ll need.
3. Tidy by category, not location.
Marie Kondo has outlined the five categories of tidying, which should be addressed in order: Clothing, books, papers, komono/miscellaneous items (kitchen, garage, bathroom), and finally sentimental items. If you find yourself getting emotional when tidying sentimental items, understand that this is a healthy aspect of the process. Kondo urges her clients to relish these emotions because it means you are really connecting with your objects.
It is also important to tidy the cabinets and drawers, in addition to the room itself, as well as tidy clutter such as apps, emails, and photos.
4. Ask yourself, “does this spark joy?”
With each category, put everything in a big pile so you can see how much you have. You might be shocked by how much you own! This will help you choose what to keep.
Hold each item individually and ask if it sparks joy. It should feel uplifting, like holding a puppy or wearing your favorite outfit. Ask yourself if this is an item that you want to bring with yourself into the future. When all of the items you own spark joy, you’ll have a more joyful life.
5. Focus on what you want to keep
Focus on the things you want to keep, not on the things you want to discard, or you’ll become unhappy, Marie Kondo warns. In high school, Kondo had this mindset and looked for things in her room to throw away every day. It stressed her out so much that one day she passed out for two hours!
When you whittle away the items that don’t bring you joy, you’ll be able to truly cherish those that do.
6. Show gratitude
If, upon holding an item, you realize that it doesn’t spark joy for you, don’t toss it away unceremoniously. Thank it for how it has helped you. For instance, even if you never wore a certain shirt, thank it for teaching you that you don’t like to wear that type of shirt. This will help alleviate the guilt that some experience when getting rid of things.
7. Fold clothes properly
The most important aspect of Marie Kondo’s method is folding clothes. When you fold clothes, make sure you send lots of love through your palms. This is an opportunity to “talk” to your clothes and thank them for keeping you warm and fashionable.
Fold each item of clothing into smooth rectangles so that they can stand upright on their own. Place them vertically in the drawers so that you can see them all in one look, rather than placing each one on top of the other. Marie Kondo has folding tutorials for shirts, hoodies, jeans, socks, and undergarments available on YouTube. Also, arrange items in a way that sparks joy.
8. Take care arranging items
Arrange clothes in a way that sparks joy for you. Imagine how a store would organize the inventory. You can arrange by color, size, or type.
For bathroom and kitchen drawers, small boxes are great organizing tools. Several small boxes in each drawer can prevent items from getting mixed together, giving everything its proper place.
9. Don’t toss utilitarian items
For items that don’t necessarily spark joy but are still useful, consider how it contributes to your life. Your toothbrush may not spark joy, but it serves an essential purpose. Items like these enrich your life in their own ways.
10. Maintain tidiness
Even after eliminating unwanted items, tidy houses can still get messy. To maintain your tidy home, establish a designated place for each item that sparks joy.
Marie Kondo also emphasizes the importance of truly looking at your items and cherishing them. Showing gratitude for all of your belongings will help you stay organized as a form of respect for them.