Your guide to Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”
Declutter like a KonMari Expert
Are you ready for a bombshell? Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” only scratched the surface of her genius organizing tips. If you skipped the book and went straight to the screen, these are the best nuggets of organizing advice you missed.
You Don’t Need to Tidy Every Day
All it takes is one big tidying session to get your house into shape. So, do it right and do it well, and you shouldn’t have to add “declutter” to your chore list ever again. Organizing all of your belongings at one time allows you to see results immediately, which has a profound impact on your mindset. Once you finish tidying one category, you’ll feel confident and motivated to tackle the next area.
Storage Can Be a Trap
Storing before sorting results in hoarding. Before stepping foot in The Container Store, remember this: Bins and baskets just disguise clutter without addressing the problem. Boxes are only useful when they hold items that you actually need and want. Shoeboxes and clear food storage containers work just as well as any pricey organizing gadget.
Visualize Your Future
This is perhaps the most important takeaway from Kondo’s book. Visualization is your most powerful tool when decluttering. If you can’t picture yourself using an item in the future, or if it doesn’t align with your current lifestyle, toss it. After all, the goal of the KonMari method is to help you live your best life. A clear vision will energize and inspire you to finish organizing.
Arrange Clothes from Heaviest to Lightest
A subtle but impactful change, arranging clothes so they rise to the right visually improves your closet. Kondo says hanging clothes from heaviest (coats, jackets, pants) to lightest (dresses, blouses, skirts) energizes your closet and makes it easy to quickly find what you need.
Labels Are Not Your Friend
Hate to break it to all the die-hard label maker-lovers out there, but words are the enemy. Quiet the “noise,” as Kondo calls it, by removing stickers from storage boxes or items that don’t need labels, like scrubbers or mild soaps. However, if removing labels makes you nervous, at least decant food and basic cleaning supplies into clear containers. This creates a clean, streamlined appearance in closets and on shelves which prevents you from feeling overwhelmed with choices.
(Ed. note: We do not recommend removing warning or toxicity labels.)
Forget About Seasonality
Packing up sweaters and shorts isn’t necessary, Kondo says. Instead, she recommends sorting clothing by material (wool, cotton, polyester, etc.) instead of season or activity. This way, all of your clothes are on-hand and visible when the weather turns fickle. Those with small spaces or limited storage can put away specific off-season items like bathing suits and scarves in a set of drawers. Remember that this task should be done after getting rid of unwanted garments, leaving plenty of empty space to add seasonal clothes back to your closet.
“Someday” Means “Never”
This might be the hardest pill to swallow, but be brutally honest with yourself when tossing clutter. Partially finished projects, ill-fitting clothes, unused gadgets – all of these items cause stress and guilt. No one wants constant reminders of failure. Free yourself from the “eventuallys” and focus on the now.
Always Unpack Your Bag
It’s such a simple task, yet we rarely do it! (Even Kondo admits that she skips this task on days when she is especially tired.) As soon as you get home, place your wallet, keys and work ID in a nice bowl or box on your dresser or near the door. Emptying your purse or backpack every day ensures that no important papers or receipts are lost or forgotten.
Scattered storage spots result in more clutter. Consolidate storage areas so that it takes minimal effort to return items to their designated spot. The KonMari method requires you to group similar items (like electrical stuff) in the same place. For instance, don’t store shoes next to every door in the house, which looks cluttered. Instead, corral them all on a shelf or in a basket in one spot so you always know where to find them. Don’t get caught up with where or how often you use an object. Focus on the storage category and organize from there.
Bulk Isn’t Best
Sure, it seemed like a good deal at the time, but now your closet is bursting with never-worn clothes that still have tags. More isn’t always better, even if your favorite t-shirt style is on super sale. Kondo suggests only buying what you need (to save storage space and reduce waste), immediately removing new items from packaging and putting them away.
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