Marie Kondo is like the Beyonce of Japan: the larger-than-life superstar of organization.
Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is also making waves among Americans who want to learn how to live a neater and more zen lifestyle.
We read the book, and can vouch for its life-changing impact. Here are the lessons we learned from Kondo through her technique, which she calls the KonMari Method.
1. Get rid of unnecessary possessions
We've all heard this one before, but the KonMari method is to ask yourself if it "sparks joy." How can you tell? Don't think about whether or not you "might need it later" or if someone gave it to you as a gift - pick it up, touch it and decide if you feel a visceral joy for this item. If not, thank the item for serving its purpose to you (whether or not you actually used it or if it just gave you momentary joy when you purchased it) and toss it. Kondo is adamant that you must throw things away before you try to reorder your home.
2. Do big purges
Don't chip away at your mess. Kondo says if you don't want to relapse into your slobbish ways, do your big discards at once. Why? Kondo says when you tidy completely, "you transform the scenery" and the tidiness will inspire you to keep it neat.
3. Tidy in order
Tidying isn't emotionally easy, so Kondo recommends tidying in the following order: clothes, books, papers, random items and lastly, mementos. Kondo says we don't have as much attachment to clothes as we do to mementos, so this is the easiest order for us to clean in order to build up resistance to being overly sentimental.
4. Put everything on the floor
Kondo says it's easier to assess an item if you take it out of hibernation. You'll be able to see them better, and it will be easier for you to pick up each item and touch it to see if it sparks joy.
5. Store everything vertically if possible
Kondo likes to store everything upright. She says stacking wears out the bottom items and that it's easier to see what you have when it's stored upright instead of at the bottom of a pile. Also, stacking is more difficult when items are stored vertically, which means you are less likely to take on unnecessary clutter. Kondo folds up her clothes so they stand on edge and even stores her carrots vertically in the refrigerator.
6. Use shoeboxes
Kondo is against buying pricey storage containers, especially if they're not square or rectangular. She suggests using shoeboxes instead because they are durable and the perfect size for storing small items. She even likes using the lids to store spices inside cabinets.