Cultures

How to use the KonMari cleaning method

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Cosy and soft winter background, knitted sweater and candles on an old vintage wooden board. Christmas holidays at home.

Image: Daria Minaeva/Daria Minaeva

If you’re one of many who dread spring cleaning, there’s good news for you. Unfortunately, housework is still involved, but an alternative is making headlines. The KonMari cleaning method, made popular by the best selling book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has radically transformed the way many people view everyday chores.

The book, written by Marie Kondo (a professional organizer from Japan), redefines what it means to keep a clutter-free home. The simple distinction? Keeping as many items as you want, so long as they inspire joy.

So how does the KonMari Method actually work if you’re not supposed to simply ransack your clothes closet with a donation bag? In seven extremely strategic steps, of course!

Ready to rid your home of the stressful, ever-growing piles that weigh you down? Take a swing at the KonMari Method to declutter your home once and for all.

Step One: Visualize Your Ideal Future
Before you begin decluttering, it’s important to visualize exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want a clean house to make it easier to host guests? Interested in learning how to cook and want a pristine kitchen? Get to the bottom of your needs, write them down, and keep it in mind throughout the entire process.

Step Two: Do It All At Once
According to the KonMari method, you must clean your entire space at once. When you take too long in between smaller cleaning projects, it’s much easier for clutter to rebuild quickly. If you’re ready to overhaul your household organization, block out an entire month (or two, depending on size) to dedicate to the whole project.

Step Three: Clean By Category
Instead of cleaning by room, the KonMari Method organizes by category. We all have similar items spread from room to room (linens in different cabinets, pens and pencils everywhere, décor stored in every nook and cranny), so ditch the old room-by-room technique and pull all like items from around the house. Find one place to store them together, instead.

Step Four: Follow The Right Order
The KonMari Method follows a specific order to organizing the home. First, start with clothing, then move to books, papers, and miscellaneous items. If you’re looking for an even deeper system, her book separates these items into more specific subcategories.

Step Five: Vet Items To Find Joy
Step five is the hidden jewel of the organization process. When you finally organize your items, the KonMari Method is very specific in how to choose which to keep or which to toss. The theory is that if you touch each and every item you own, you’ll quickly learn which ones spark joy, and which ones only weigh you down. Then, after discarding the items that weigh you down, you’ll be completely surrounded by joyful items in your home.

Step Six: Discard Before Replacing
Lastly, as you work through the items in your home, be sure to discard all unwanted items (in a given category) before placing the remainders back. This simple step keeps your mind clear and organized.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r

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