If you want to live a tidier, more harmonious life, you may already know about Marie Kondo. The founder of the KonMari MethodTM, Marie Kondo, has revolutionized the way we clean and organize our lives. The author of several books, Marie has been featured in several high-profile publications – and for a good reason.
Incorporating certain traditional Japanese daily rituals and focusing on creating a cleaner, happier lifestyle, the KonMari MethodTM has become extremely popular over the last few years. One of the things that makes it so unique is the six simple rules you need to follow.
To help you jumpstart your Marie Kondo way of living, we’re going to go over the six cardinal rules, and how you can start using them to live a neater and more joy-filled lifestyle.
Before you get started on this journey of tidying up your life, you need to understand that it isn’t a quick fix or a once-in-a-while habit. The KonMari MethodTM is about making a permanent change and pledging yourself to the principles of this lifestyle.
That’s why, according to Marie, you first need to commit to the time, dedication, and permanent changes involved in the process. Once you’re ready to change your life, you’ll be able to find the motivation you need to get started. It takes a lot of time and effort to initiate and maintain the lifestyle, but many who’ve stuck it through have found it incredibly rewarding.
Take some time and walk through your home. If you’re thinking about starting this journey, you’ll likely encounter a lot of clutter, decorations you don’t need, and you might even feel a bit miserable.
Remember that feeling as you see everything you hang onto but never use. Mull things over for a few days, and if you genuinely feel like it’s time to change your life, don’t delay. Get up and get started.
Remember, the KonMari MethodTM isn’t about making a quick change or cleaning up a little before you receive company. It’s a complete lifestyle turnaround and tidying up your environment in such a way that you enjoy spending time in it. Now that you’ve committed to making the change, it’s time to start imagining your ideal lifestyle.
Marie recommends that you begin by thinking about your home and how you’d like to live in it. Then, find a way to express this ideal lifestyle.
This is a turning point, so really devote some time to this step before moving on. Go to a place where you won’t be disturbed, and imagine the lifestyle you want. Once you have a clear idea, it’s time to express it.
Write it down, make a drawing or sketch, or get cutouts from magazines to create a picture book. When things get tough, you can always come back and look at what you’ve imagined for yourself.
Marie makes it clear that the point of this process isn’t to throw things out, but it’s an integral part of her method. Remember, it’s not just about neatening up your surroundings, but also decluttering to create an environment that makes you feel welcome and comfortable.
It’s essential to understand exactly what this step entails. You’re not going to be walking through the house with a trash bag in one hand and throw things into it with the other. It’s an incredibly thoughtful process that’ll likely take a few days, not a few hours. During this step, you’re going to be reflecting on many of your past experiences.
As you walk through your home, gather the items that you want to discard. Think deeply about each one and what it contributed to your life. For example, if you’re throwing away something you never used, it taught you that you don’t need things like it.
You might even have to discard sentimental items. Don’t just throw it away – Marie uses a Japanese ritual to thank each item for what it brought to her life, and then discards it. Only after you’ve given every item its proper send-off can you start focusing on what makes you happy.
This step might go against what most of us do when we clean. We run into each room, grabbing everything we don’t need, throw away the rest, and move on. However, according to the KonMari MethodTM, this dooms us to a never-ending loop of tidying up and never really solving the root issue of our messy surroundings.
Instead, focus on cleaning by category. For example, if you’re cleaning up one room at a time, you’re likely to keep the cup of paperclips in your office, even though you have several bags in the attic. Tidying by category means you can see exactly how much you have of a specific item, and then get rid of what you don’t need.
First, start by following the category-order recommended by the method: tidy your clothes, then books, papers, komono (or miscellaneous things), and then your sentimental items. We’ll go into more detail in the next step, but doing it this way means you’ll be able to get a clear idea of what you have, how much of it you have, and what you don’t need.
Don’t just discard the unnecessary things you find while tidying. Instead, remember to give it the same appropriate send-off as you did while discarding during the previous step.
Remember the order in the previous step? It’s absolutely vital to follow that precisely. According to Marie Kondo, she managed to figure out that this is the most effective order to follow after hours of lessons and experiments. When you’re going to start tidying up, stick to this order:
- Sentimental Items
Why this particular order? It works from the easiest items to sort through (such as clothing), to the hardest things to get rid of (sentimental items). By the time you get to the end, it’ll be a lot simpler to decide what you need to keep, and what you should discard. There’s a reason for that, too.
As you move through the categories, you’ll start feeling a sense of achievement. You’re making changes, and you’ll be able to start seeing these relatively quickly. When you do get to the far more challenging sentimental items, you’ll be feeling energetic and enthusiastic, making it a lot easier to finish the process.
First, start with clothes. Go through everything – clean and dirty – and decide what you don’t need or don’t enjoy wearing. If it doesn’t spark your joy, get rid of it. Better yet, after giving it the appropriate send-off, donate it to a local charity.
Do the same with organizing your photos, books, and papers. If it doesn’t distinctly make you happy, it’s time to say goodbye. Remember, if you’re feeling any doubt at all, don’t keep the item. You don’t want to keep something that may or may not make you feel happy. If there’s no spark, say your thanks and your goodbyes, and let it go.
People use several different methods when choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. One of the most common rules is throwing away anything you haven’t used in two years. The KonMari MethodTM, however, focuses on something else entirely – joy.
It’s this specific rule you’ll be using every time you need to decide if you’re going to keep something or discard it. Your feelings are essential, and focusing on that particular element is what makes this method so unique – and so powerful.
As you go around your home, cleaning, tidying, and discarding, you’re going to be basing every decision on this rule. Pick up one item at a time and consider it carefully. Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”.
Pay attention to how your body and mind react to the object. If it genuinely makes you happy, then it’s something you’re going to want to keep. However, if you’re feeling unsure, don’t experience anything, or react negatively, it’s time to say goodbye to what you’re holding.
We can all use a little more joy in our lives, and for some of us, Marie Kondo’s method might just be the perfect answer. By cutting out unnecessary clutter and anything that doesn’t make you feel good or happy, you can start changing the way your environment affects your emotions and your life.
Remember to follow the steps and orders that the method recommends to get the best results. However, it’s most important to remember the central rule: It must spark joy. Once you’ve surrounded yourself with the things that make you happy, you’ll find yourself living a much happier – and neater – lifestyle.