5 Tried and true tips to declutter once and for all

Marie Kondo introduced the world to the Kondo Method of decluttering and elevated the act of tidying up to darn near an art form with her 2011 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Now, speaking Japanese in her soft, gentle voice, frequently dressed in shades of cream, and just in time for our 2019 resolutions, Kondo has debuted a new Netflix series, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” While some of the concepts may feel superfluous (saying good night to your socks, for example, or folding your clothes into origami-like masterpieces), Kondo’s core tips — along with some practical basics — will help you make the kind of changes that stay the course.

woman folding laundry
Photo: Pexels

1.- Envision the life you want
Kondo recommends envisioning your ideal life both before and during your tidying process, and it’s a great motivator. Do you want your future to be overflowing with stuff and drowning in clutter? Or would you like to get rid of things you don’t need and live a life surrounded by the what makes you happy? Keeping this in mind can help if, during the inevitably daunting process, your spirits start to flag.

2.- Start with the trash
This part isn’t about deciding to toss out sentimental objects; this is purely about getting rid of flat-out garbage: old receipts lying on your desk, that curling iron that’s been broken since 2015, the take-out menu from a nearby Thai place that really wasn’t any good. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can fill a trash bag.

3.- Divide and conquer
While many people choose to declutter their homes by going from room to room, Kondo recommends going by category — specifically, what she has defined as five categories: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items (Kondo call these junk drawer-type things “komono”), and last but certainly not least, sentimental items. The order is important, Kondo’s reasoning being that if you start with the less-emotionally fraught stuff, you’ll be able to tackle the sentimental items at the end of the process.

4.- Take it all out
While most people clean out a closet by rifling through their belongings and going from hanger to hanger, the Kondo Method involves taking all of your clothes out during a decluttering session and putting them in one place (for example, piled in a horrifyingly enormous mountain on your bed). Then, decide what you want to keep and get rid of the rest. Not only does this serve to bring home just how much stuff you have (and how many versions of, say, the same black cardigan sweater), it allows you to discover hidden gems that have long been forgotten.

5.- Take that spark of joy with a grain of salt
One of Kondo’s trademark techniques is about keeping items that spark joy within you. When you’re deciding on whether or not to get rid of something — whether it’s a book, blouse, or antique jewelry box — ask yourself if it makes you happy. Having said that… don’t take that concept too far, as my friend’s husband did. When asked why he had thrown away all their extension cords, he answered plainly: “They weren’t sparking joy.” True that, but everyone needs an extension cord now and then.

Also read: 5 Tips to set goals and actually attain them

How to follow the best of Marie Kondo’s tips to declutter, within reason, and never have to do it again! #mariekondo #declutter #family

Luisa Colón

Luisa Colón is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the New York Times, New York Magazine, Glamour, Family Circle, Latina, BuzzFeed, and many more.