Spring cleaning can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re the kind of person that lets clothes pile up on a chair and you lose sight of everything. But once you do it, you feel great – everything has its own place, you might have donated a bag or two of clothes, and things are tidied up and organized. Flash forward to a week later, though, and it’s pretty likely that your clothes are once again in a heap on your desk chair. Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up might just be the spring cleaning answer you didn’t even know you were looking for! Whether you’re looking for help before diving into your next closet cleanout or just some general organization help, her book has some great advice all around and we’re sharing our favorite tidbits to get you jump started.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant who developed a method of tidying up called KonMari. She’s recently become popular once again through a new Netflix series focusing on her methods. However, she goes even more in depth about following this method properly in her book, and we mean in depth – she even believes that all of your clothes and possessions are alive and should be treated as such. Thanking all of your possessions isn’t a stereotypical norm in our society, often times we take things like socks for granted. Kondo specifically says don’t ball up your socks, because they’ve been working hard enough all day as it is. How sweet is that? But her advice is something that many of us need to hear, especially if you’re sick of that dreaded pile of clothes! Set aside a day and follow this general run-down of some of our favorite KonMari tips to get rid of the clutter in your life and home once and for all.
Organize by category, not by room.
Kondo really hammers this point home because it’s one of the greatest contributors to the never-ending clutter. If you tidy up by room, you aren’t looking at the big picture; how can you sort through the clothes you have if half of them are in the laundry room or bathroom hamper? Instead, she suggests focusing on a single category at a time.
Start with clothes, head onto books, then papers, then miscellaneous items like food, skincare, makeup, and accessories. Most importantly, end your day of organizing with momentos. You want to practice the decision making on whether or not to keep an item with the easily replaceable stuff first. Don’t start off looking at old photographs and reading old letters, because you’ll get sucked into the nostalgia and lose focus!
If this seems overwhelming to you, split it up! Tackle clothing one day, then books the next and so on. Getting overwhelmed will set you up for failure. Take it little by little and really focus on giving it your all.
Does the item “spark joy?”
Kondo’s main suggestion is to go through every item you own, physically pick it up and hold it, and ask yourself “does this spark joy?” If the answer isn’t an immediate yes, toss it in the donation bin – it has no place in your closet!
Don’t hold onto things that carry sad or hurtful memories, like a shirt that reminds you of an ex. And if you have something just to have it, get rid of it! There’s no need to hold onto old papers or receipts unless they’re absolutely going to be necessary down the line. Minimizing all the clutter around you will minimize the stress in your life, so don’t be afraid to say goodbye to something that no longer has a place.
Be mindful of how you store the items you’re keeping!
Aim to keep everything in one, horizontal level. Don’t stack things, because that’s just asking for a mess. You’ll have to move things around and shuffle items to other places just to grab the moisturizer you have underneath a pile of makeup. Instead, spread whatever you do choose to keep out in a way that’s easily accessible and reduces clutter. You want to be sure that you have a clear view of everything, too. Utilize clear bins and labels so that you know exactly where the things you need are versus rifling through all your storage looking for something.
Folding is key.
You may not agree with Kondo that your leggings and t-shirts are alive and pairing socks is just so efficient, but it is important to respect the items that you’re keeping. Folding t-shirts so that they can all be arranged in shoe boxes in dresser drawers without stacking them on top of one another is ideal. Check out her methods of folding, they’ll change your world. Your clothes will be wrinkle free and you won’t have to disrupt a pile to grab one shirt! Reserve your hanging closet space for the more exciting pieces in your wardrobe, like colorful dresses, to spark even more joy.
When you finish the process and inevitably end up with a dozen trash bags of things you no longer need, consider donating or selling your items instead of throwing them away. Just because they’re no longer of use for you, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love them! We recommend checking out places to donate like:
- Local Shelters
- Any local drop-off bin!