Four sweaters folded in a box

How to Organize Your Home with the KonMari Method

You may have heard about the KonMari Method and how it can transform your home. But what is KonMari, and why are so many people talking about items that “spark joy”? From the basic rules of getting organized to deciding when to let clutter go, we walk you through everything you need to know about the KonMari Method and how to implement it for better home organization!

What Is the KonMari Method?

Created by Marie Kondo, professional home organizer and author of best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the KonMari Method is a tidying method that emphasizes removing clutter from your home and surrounding yourself with the things that spark joy.

Similar to the minimalist philosophy of making life choices with intention, the KonMari Method is about keeping items that have purpose in your life and that evoke positivity in your surroundings.

After the release of the Netflix TV show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in early 2019, people around the world have been using Marie Kondo’s tips to declutter their homes and stay organized.

How Does the KonMari Method Work?

KonMari has six basic rules that can help you declutter, get organized, and create a home filled with the items that make you happy. Here’s how the KonMari Method rules work…

1) Commit Yourself to Tidying Up

Sweaters and jeans folded on shelves. Photo by Instagrma user @girlmeetsgold
Photo via @girlmeetsgold

A complete overhaul of your home seems like a lot of time and effort. But how long the KonMari Method takes depends on the amount of stuff you own—cleaning your space could take you one weekend or it could take one month. That’s why the first step is simply committing to a tidy house. Don’t get discouraged if the process takes longer than a day!

2) Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle

White room with orange chair and butterfly wall decor. Photo by Instagram user @bring_delight
Photo via @bring_delight

The type of lifestyle you want for yourself and your home is the foundation for what items you will keep in your space. Create a sketch, write it out, or make a collage from magazines of the atmosphere or purpose you want to design—whether that’s a spot dedicated to relaxation, an area where you can be creative, or the go-to place for gatherings with friends and family.

3) Finish Discarding First

A pile of clothes sitting by a plant. Photo by Instagram user @purplefairiess
Photo via @purplefairiess

Once you know what your ideal lifestyle is, you’ll be able to make decisions about which items have value in your home and fill a purpose for that lifestyle—and which don’t. Considering each item and sorting them into keep and discard piles allows you to create more space for the organization and storage solutions that come later in the KonMari Method.

4) Tidy by Category, Not by Location

Books stacked by a bookshelf. Photo by Instagram user @lifebetweenwords
Photo via @lifebetweenwords

One of the most important Marie Kondo tips to creating a tidy house is decluttering by category. If you’re cleaning your home room by room, you’re most likely rearranging items and tossing out only a few things since it doesn’t feel like a ton of clutter for that room. But by decluttering with categories, you’re able to gather items from all over your home and see just how much stuff you’ve been keeping.

5) Follow the Right Order

White shelves filled with colorful cups. Photo by Instagram user @frenchblossom
Photo via @frenchblossom

Not only is tidying up by category crucial for home organization, but following the categories in a particular order—clothes, books, papers, komono, then sentimental—is key to decluttering your home as well. This prevents you from getting sidetracked or spending too much time looking at certain items because you can stay focused on the order and make decisions about items in meaningful ways.

6) Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy

Hands holding decorative bowl. Photo by Instagram user @romanalilic
Photo via @romanalilic

Deciding if something sparks joy is the criteria for keeping or discarding items when decluttering. Hold the object in your hands and pay attention to the feelings it brings. If the item doesn’t bring positive memories or fall in line with your lifestyle goals, let it go with gratitude. Of course, if you’re torn on the item or if it could fit your lifestyle goals later down the road, that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. You can always move it to a temporary storage space until you’re ready to revisit the item.

FIND YOUR STORE

How Do I Use the KonMari Method at Home?

Decluttering your home may seem daunting, but when you break everything up by category and subcategories, you’ll be able to keep all future messes at bay—which means decluttering your home less often! Learn how to tidy up your home using the KonMari categories below.

Clothes

Boots and clothes sitting on white shelves. Photo by Instagram user @jessannkirby
Photo via @jessannkirby

The first category you need to tackle for a tidy house is clothing. While you might be used to cleaning out clothes in your closet and then your drawers, the KonMari Method suggests gathering clothes and accessories from all over your home—bedroom closets, coat closets, drawers, and under the bed—and putting them all into one pile. This allows you to see just how much you have, as well as help you realize how much you don’t actually wear. If an item sparks joy, keep it. If not, give it gratitude and donate your clothing.

Books

Books stacked in the corner of room by couch. Photo by Instagram user @casework.it
Photo via @casework.it

Once you’ve completely gone through your clothes, the next category on the KonMari Method checklist is books. Much like your clothes, you should also gather every book in your home and put them in a pile to decide which ones spark joy and which ones don’t. However, if your ideal lifestyle means your space is filled with books, keep them. The point of home organization using KonMari is to figure out what you value and then surround yourself with things that you love.

Papers

Files in white box. Photo by Instagram user @amongallofthis
Photo via @amongallofthis

Counters, closets, drawers, and boxes tend to be a catch-all space for documents. One of the best decluttering tips for paper is to break them up into three groups: papers you currently need, papers you need for a short time, and papers you always need. Items that you currently need might be bills to pay, projects you’re working on, or documents to sign. Things like tax forms or warranties on recently purchased items can be filed under “short time.” Birth certificates, passports, or marriage licenses are documents you’ll always need. If papers don’t fall within the three subcategories—or they’re not considered sentimental—then shred or recycle them.

Komono

Utensils organized in black drawer. Photo by Instagram user @marj0085
Photo via @marj0085

Komono (that is, miscellaneous items) are all the things you have left over after going through clothes, books, and papers. Because this category is usually the largest—as it’s comprised of many unrelated items—the best way to tackle komono is by breaking it up into subcategories. You can create groups like electronics, beauty supplies, home decor, canned goods, or writing utensils. It might be tempting to go room by room for this extensive category, but make sure you’re still gathering items from all over your home and putting them in one pile. That way, you’ll be able to store similar items together to easily find them and not have everything so spread out.

Sentimental Items

Pictures scattered on a bed. Photo by Instagram user @surround_us
Photo via @surround_us

Because sentimental items are usually the hardest to part with due to our emotional and psychological bond to them, the KonMari Method says that these items should get decluttered last. That way, you have more time to reflect on whether a photo, souvenir, or old notebook sparks joy and evokes positive memories. It’s okay to take some extra time going through these items.

How Do I Store the Items that Spark Joy?

After deciding what you want to keep in your home, good storage solutions will help you keep everything organized. Discover some of the best KonMari organization and storage tips below!

Try KonMari Folding

Scarves folded on white fur pillow. Photo by Instagram user @eikachickaknits
Photo via @eikachickaknits

Not only has Marie Kondo created her own method of decluttering and organizing, but she’s also shared a unique folding technique for clothes and linens! The KonMari Method of folding helps keep drawers, baskets, and bins neat and tidy—and it makes finding your favorite sweater or scarf easy!

Use Boxes in Drawers

Hair accessories in small boxes. Photo by Instagram user @konmari.co
Photo via @konmari.co

If you have gift boxes, shoe boxes, or jewelry boxes, don’t toss them out! These are great DIY home storage solutions for keeping small things like jewelry, beauty supplies, phone chargers, and other miscellaneous items organized in drawers and cabinets.

Store Papers in File Organizers

Purple patterned expandable folder. Photo by Instagram user @fatimamarini
Photo via @fatimamarini

Not sure how to organize your papers and keep them in one place? Keep them in an expandable file folder or in binders with labels so you can easily find the documents you need! You can also repurpose photo albums to hold kids artwork, poems you’ve written, or letters from loved ones.

Invest in Wicker Baskets

Wicker baskets on white shelf. Photo by Instagram use @simplyciani
Photo via @simplyciani

Whether you’re storing blankets in the living room, towels in a bathroom closet, or kids toys in a playroom, wicker baskets are a great way to get stylish yet functional storage solutions at home. Just make sure you fold any sheets or pillowcases the KonMari way!

Looking for more home organization and storage ideas? Check out our ultimate home decluttering guide or learn more about organizing with minimalism!

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Have items that spark joy that you can’t fit into your home? A temporary storage solution with Extra Space Storage can help you keep items that fit your ideal lifestyle, even if you don’t have room for them now. Find self storage near you!

Pinterest Graphic: The KonMari Method: How to Declutter & Organize Your Home

Looking for home decluttering tips? Give the KonMari Method a try! Learn about the KonMari rules and categories for decluttering so that you can get organized at home! via @extraspace