9 Ways To Tidy Your Life Up With Marie Kondo

Writer: Nadhirah Badardin

I’ve heard about Marie Kondo and her 2012 best-seller, “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up”. I remember steering clear of getting into the decluttering frenzy she sparked around the world because, well, I just generally hate tidying anything up.  

Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2019, I find myself in a new apartment (and country) surrounded by piles of boxes and thinking myself “How did Mum do it????” every 5 minutes. After 5 hours of trying to sort my way through what felt like a hundred boxes, I got frustrated, switched Netflix on to chill and saw that Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is now streaming – a TV series where she visits several families in America and helps them declutter their homes. And it sounded just like the kind of thing I need to start this apartment (and year) off in the right direction.

About 3 episodes in, I find myself sitting in front of the TV folding my clothes into teeny tiny rectangles and made sure they could stand on their own before organising everything neatly in the closet. Kinda like this:

But I’m not jumping on the joy of tidying up train alone, I’m taking all of you with me. Here’s what I’ve learned from watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo so far:

1. Start by confronting your clutter

In every episode, Marie Kondo will make the families take everything they own out in the open and pile them up into a large mountain. This seems daunting at first because EVERYONE’S got piles of stuff and that mountain of clothes would just look like a mountain of anxiety (and shame), but this also works because you’re forced to actually look at the things you own to know what you’d want to keep or toss.

2. The KonMari method is basically fool proof – just don’t skip any of these steps

Over the years, Marie has conceptualised 6 basic rules for tidying up – stay committed to tidying up, imagine your ideal lifestyle, finish getting rid of stuff, tidy by category (not location), follow the right order and ask yourself if it sparks joy. These steps sound relatively whimsical (especially if you’re a cynic like me) but if done the right way, you’d actually end up with some pretty amazing results.

3. Treat your home like a living organism

Before beginning to declutter, Marie introduces herself to the home by picking a spot, kneeling and has a moment of silence while she paid her “respects”. I thought this was ridiculous at first, but soon my perspective changed because it was all about connecting with the home and trying to approach the situation in a positive way as opposed to “This house is a mess and straightening this out will be a pain.” Greeting and thanking your from for being good to you personifies the home and makes you want to believe that change and decluttering is possible here.  

4. Only keep things that spark joy

Throughout the season, Marie’s premise when it comes to sorting through your things is this – if an item you have sparks joy in you when touch it, keep it, if it doesn’t, it’s time to toss it out. Touching your items plays a huge role in making this decision. If you touch a piece of clothing and it gives you warm fuzzy feelings about how good it looks on you, keep it. But if doesn’t, it’s probably time to find it a new home. This method applies to everything in your home – kitchen utensils, books, Christmas decorations, EVERYTHING.

6. Organise your stuff in a way that you’re able to see everything

The main reason why everything gets cluttered is because most of the time, we’re not even sure what’s in our closets/living room drawers/kitchen cabinets/garages/etc. Which is why after all the discarding is done, Marie highly recommends sorting everything out by category and making sure to store them in places where you can actually see them. If it’s clothes, fold them up nicely the KonMari way (folding them up into rectangles and then into thirds). If they’re items like kitchen utensils, try to store them vertically or neatly in transparent boxes. It’s also important to store the things you use regularly in places that are easy to get to and store the stuff that doesn’t get much attention all year round (like seasonal plates) in the higher shelves.

7. Make tidying up a habit

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Swipe to see the transformation from @konmari_and_me! This is how tidying the clothes category looks like 😉👍⠀ ⠀ She says: "Before and after #konmari. 🙌✨ I finally carved out a little "me time" and used it to sort through pre-pregnancy, #maternity, #postpartum, and #nursing clothes. Such big life changes required a #konmarimethod reset. My body has done such amazing things and made SO many changes this past year!! It was nice to take time to celebrate that and *thank* the clothing items that supported me through it all. 🙏🏻💛 …all while getting my #tidy drawers back!! 🤗 My favorite maternity pieces will be stored for future pregnancies and there are a couple of #sparkjoy non-nursing-friendly items that I have stashed for later too. But it feels so good to give myself permission to EMBRACE and dress my body exactly where it is now. (Also to give myself permission for my style to have changed while pregnant! 😜)"⠀Photo by @konmari_and_me.

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It’s nice to see everything organised once you’re done going through everything in your home. But the key to keeping it tidy is making a habit of making sure that everything in your home goes back to its’ own home at the end of the day. So, if you’re doing laundry today, make sure they’re folded and back in the closet as soon as they’re done. If you’re cooking, make sure to put away the pots and pans in their respective places once the cleaning is done.

8. Do NOT store anything in plastic bags

Marie is totally against storing stuff in plastic bags because, well, they’ll end up looking like garbage and you’d probably forget about them right after. This is why it’s really important to make sure you give everything in your home a home and make sure you can actually see them.

9. Always say thank you to your things

I’m completely besotted with the KonMari method because it’s changed the way I look at my possessions (and hopefully, in time, my life). Just like your home, Marie Kondo is out to change the way you look at your home and possessions by treating them like living organisms and encouraging the people on her show to show gratitude to their things – even the ones they’ve decided to toss. Giving thanks is important because it gives you the ability to appreciate the things you own and provide closure when it’s time to let them go.

If you’re sitting there thinking “You know what? I might actually get on this Tidying Up with Marie Kondo train,” I strongly urge that you do. Just don’t get discouraged when your home gets messier than before you started because this WILL happen and you WILL tug at your hair thinking “WHY DID I EVEN DO THIS?” But we’re getting our shit together in 2019 and I hope you know that you deserve to live your best decluttered life, KonMari method or not.