The various fabrics bunch up like a mountain on my bed, sleeves intermingling with skirts; a sock tucked up in the pocket of my favorite pair of jeans. A t-shirt waves from the wrong side of the black plastic hanger. For the average person, it's overwhelming to visually see every single article of owned clothing. For Marie Kondo, however, it's a challenge she can't wait to tackle.
I was sitting on the couch one morning with my boyfriend, my legs tucked up underneath the fleece throw, chewing the last bit of my eggs when Marie Kondo introduced herself. Star of the highly popular Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and author of the New York Time's bestsellers, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", and, "Spark Joy", Marie is no-doubt the master of tidying up.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Marie began tidying and organizing as a child, straightening up in her classroom while her fellow classmates took part in physical education class. By the time she was 19, Marie had her own organizing consulting business. It was during her time consulting she invented the KonMari method, which consists of gathering one's belongings in a central place and only keeping things that spark joy.
The KonMari Method
Broken down, the KonMari method focuses on categories of items rather than individual rooms. The categories include:
- Living Room
- Miscellaneous items
- Sentimental Items
Unlike other organizing methods (do you remember Julie Morgenstern's S.P.A.C.E. method?) Kondo's method focuses on discarding what you do not need and sorting items you use in your daily life. The Japanese decluttering guru also shares that the organizing process should be done in one fell swoop rather than in small increments.
Marie Kondo's show follows the tidying consultant (along with her trusty translator) as she helps American families find true joy in their homes once again. Each episode is packed with living rooms filled with too much stuff, closets that can barely shut, and storage boxes filled with long-forgotten memories. It's totally binge-able and inspiring, to say the least.
I highly recommend reading her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing if you are looking to implement the process for your entire house. Some reviewers call it "life-changing."
Tackling My Own Clutter
Stuff-wise, I'm not a pack-rat or hoarder. I consider myself (and my family) to be nomadic. Moving across the country on a whim because we wanted to try something new wasn't considered unusual in our eyes. I've lived in a total of five different states (California, Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and North Carolina) and 15 different houses. Every time I move I usually go through my clothes and items, donating and selling what I no longer use.
However, that still doesn't mean I don't own piles of stuff that I no longer use. So there I was, staring at the mountain on my bed and asking myself which clothing items sparked joy.
Using Tidying expert Marie Kondo's method, I piled all of my clothes onto a mass on top of my bed. Daunting, yes, but it was good to see all of my clothing in one spot. Individually I picked up every item (Marie says this is crucial to the process) and thought if it brought me joy. The burgundy corduroy overalls? Joy. The pair of cut-off jeans with the gaping hole at the knee? I thanked the clothing item (another crucial part) and placed it in my discard pile.
In total I thanked 75 articles of clothing.
Once I had gone through all of my items of clothing it was time to implement Marie's famous folding method. Marie explains it best:
With a quick move of her wrists, Marie Kondo is able to transform a disheveled dresser drawer into a work of art. I even tried my hand at it.
Overall the entire clothing process took me around an hour, give or take. Not only do I feel lighter from getting rid of the mass of clothes I no longer wear, I feel invigorated to tackle another room. But I'll save that for next time.