Marie Kondo, the Japanese organization expert, decluttering consultant, and international phenom made famous by her revolutionary approach to tidying is absolutely slaying the war on clutter. Her mega-bestselling books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, its follow-up, Spark Joy, and most recent chart-topper, The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up, a graphic novelization of her eponymous “KonMari” method, have collectively sold more than 7,000,000 copies worldwide.
Her famed tidying technique consists of assembling everything you own — including the four-inch gold hoops you had to have in high school, the dusty self-help library sitting next to your bed, and the “When-I-Lose-Five-Pounds-Jeans” hiding in the back of your closet — by category (clothes first, then books, papers, “komono” or miscellaneous, and mementos or sentimental items), and then ditching anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”
Unlike most modern-day Martha Stewart’s, the KonMari method is less about purging to please your inner minimalist, and more about absolutely loving everything you own. She suggests surrounding yourself with quality rather than quantity and taking inventory based on how your heart feels rather than your head.
As a textbook maximalist (I will always choose to add another layer) moving across the country into her boyfriend’s tiny one-bedroom (one-closet) apartment, I knew it was time to drink the kool-aid. Per Kondo’s recommendation (clothes first), I started with my closet. Which, like most things in your 20’s, looks like a colossal train wreck behind closed doors.
Kon-quering every article of clothing I own was no small feat. It took three hours, two garbage bags, and one look at my perfectly folded sock drawer (lay together then fold into thirds so you can stack them vertically) to be completely Kon-verted. Which got me thinking, what else can be KonMari-ed?
If my pre-Kondo closet (or social media feed) is any indication, I like everything to appear orderly — not one pixel out of place. But the inner workings of my kitchen cabinetry (much like my psyche!) are anything but organized. When it comes to the kitchen, Kondo advocates a space you actually enjoy cooking in. A space that tugs at your heartstrings. A space that reflects the person you are becoming now, not the person you were in the past. (I want to be the person who doesn’t have a four-year-old bag of popcorn sitting in her pantry.) To Kondo your kitchen, try: fridge first, pantry second, everything behind closed doors, then move onto the spaces you can see [like countertops]. Kondo suggests taking advantage of vertical storage space, giving everything a home [off the countertops — gasp!]… and keeping it that way.
Thanks in part to a recent run-in with burnout, genius inventions like Netflix, and some very sage wisdom from goddess of truth Danielle LaPorte, I’ve been ruthlessly Kondo-ing my calendar for the past six months. I now filter every invitation and potential “obligation” through Kondo’s signature question, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, I politely decline. The results have been extraordinary. I don’t feel guilty about saying no. I have way more time to do the things I actually want to do. I experience JOMO on a very regular basis. And I’ve become smitten with the freeing, healthy, good-for-the-soul kind of whitespace I used to run away from.
It only makes sense to use products you love, especially on the face you’re putting out into the world! Whether it’s a smokey eye, bold lip, or a simple moisturizing SPF, if you enjoy your beauty routine, that joyful energy will radiate out into the world. In true KonMari fashion, only use products you love and adore. Get rid of the rest. I was shocked at how many products I’ve kept over the years that are either empty, expired, or loaded with ingredients I no longer use.
My inner Kondo kind of freaked when I took a closer look at my inboxes (all 9 of them). Despite enrolling in Unroll.me (a free inbox unsubscription service), there is still a lot of junk sitting in my inbox I never open, never read, and never even remember subscribing to. Per Kondo’s cue, simply thank the sender for serving your inbox until this point (a large part of the KonMari method involves gratitude), and then press UNSUBSCRIBE.
Clutter can be more than just the physical stuff so it’s important to take inventory of your entire space, including your psyche. We have 50,000-70,000 thoughts swirling around our heads per day. How many of these thoughts are currently bringing you joy? If you’re human, according to Google, it’s probably around 20-ish percent. It’s time to Kondo that! Start by observing your thoughts. If they’re not adding joy to your life, say thank you, then let those stories, self-talk, beliefs, and preconceived notions go. This kind of Kondo-ing is like a cleanse for your consciousness. (This kind of Kondo-ing is also called meditation.)
Although Kondo-ing your heartspace (i.e. your relationships), usually requires uncomfortable inner work, forces you to get vulnerable, and on many occasions involves having the difficult conversations you desperately want to avoid, the freedom and clarity gained from letting go of toxic relationships is incomparable. As Kondo might suggest, if the relationship isn’t serving you it’s probably time to part ways, bid gratitude, and let it go.
Dinner Plate —
Not to be confused with Kondo-ing your kitchen, Kondo-ing your dinner plate involves asking yourself prior to eating if the food sparks joy, real joy, or if you’re eating out of starvation, boredom, guilt, or some other form of mind hunger? Which again, like above, only you can answer truthfully.
What areas of your life would benefit from a little KonMari housekeeping? Continue the conversation in the comments. This space is yours.