I stopped by to visit with my friend Amy Jo the other day. While reading this blog, she had noticed I made an off-hand comment about wanting to sell my old laptop. “I’ll buy it,” she said.

“Great,” I said. “And while I’m at it, I’ll bring Ossley some books. I’m purging again.”

Long-time readers know that I’ve been on a decade-long quest to combat clutter. Back when I was a spendthrift, I bought a lot of Stuff. When Kris and I were together, our house and garage and workshop were packed to the gills with Stuff. Even while we were married, I started the process of purging. The more I travel — and while doing so, survive with only a backpack of possessions — the more I realize that, despite having purged a lot of my things, I still own far too much.

Now that Kim and I are prepping to do a lot of RV travel, I’m even more motivated to get rid of the things I no longer want or need. When I stopped at Amy Jo’s place to give her the books and computer, we chatted about the whole de-cluttering process.

“We’ve been getting rid of things too,” she said. “We keep downsizing our home, so we have less and less space for stuff. Plus, we don’t like the mental burden of owning so many things.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpShe showed me a book that she’d borrowed from the library: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. “Have you seen this?” she asked. “It’s all the rage on the internet right now.”

I leafed through it while Amy Jo explained the author’s thesis. “Kondo says that you should only own things that ‘spark joy’ in your life. If you don’t love it, you should get rid of it. And you should get rid of your stuff all at once, not in stages. Anyway, I think you might like the book.”

That night, on my drive home, I stopped to buy a copy at Powell’s. Amy Jo was right. I like the book.

The KonMari Method

Marie Kondo is obsessed. She’s a clean freak. Ever since she was a little girl, her passion has been cleaning and organizing. She loves to de-clutter. And because she’s Japanese, her obsession is tinged with elegance and beauty. Here’s a taste:

An avid fan of home and lifestyle magazines since kindergarten, I would read a feature on how to put things away and have to try out each suggestion immediately. I made drawers out of tissue boxes and broke my piggybank to purchase nifty storage items. In junior high on my way home from school, I would drop in at a DIY store or browse at a magazine stand to check out the latest products.

As I say, she’s obsessed. In fact, some of her anecdotes are almost alarming.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a fun book, but its core concepts could easily be conveyed in a magazine article — or a blog post (like this one). Just as I believe money management is a psychological issue rather than a logical one, so Kondo feels about cleaning. It’s not enough for a space to be tidy. “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved,” she writes. But the problem still exists so long as you have too much Stuff. Kondo claims the real key is to discard as much as possible.

Here’s a rough outline of her method (which she’s named after herself, the KonMari Method):

  • Tidy up in one shot rather than little by little. Gradual tidying doesn’t solve anything. When you clean in one fell swoop, it’s like hitting the reset switch on life.
  • Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely. “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding,” she admonishes. If you start putting things away before you’ve finished purging, you run the risk of getting distracted. Plus, it’s only after you’ve pared down your possessions that you can decide how to best store them in your space.
  • Keep only those things that “spark joy”. I think this is the key to Kondo’s philosophy. She says that we ought only own things that make us happy. Most advice on de-cluttering focuses on whether items are used or useful. But Kondo argues that this sort of thinking leads us to choose what to get rid of rather than what to keep, and that’s backward. She wants readers to handle every item and ask, “Does this spark joy?” She writes: “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” Sounds lame, right? In reality, the advice is surprisingly effective.
  • Sort by category, not by location. “Tidying by location is a fatal mistake,” writes Kondo. Instead of cleaning one drawer or one room at a time, instead tackle one type of item at a time. She even recommends a specific order. “The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos…Sticking to this sequence sharpens our intuitive sense of what items spark joy inside us.”
  • Don’t let your family see. Tidy on your own. Don’t consult with your partner, your parents, or your children. Doing so will only cloud things. Work on your own.
  • Once you’ve finished discarding things — and by this, she means selling them, donating them, giving them away, or putting them in the trash — only then is it okay to store them. Even then, Kondo aims for joy. She wants readers to “store your things to make your life shine”. Follow the old adage, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” That may mean changing some of your habits. (See below for an example of how I changed the way I’ve stored my shirts for the past 45 years.) In particular, Kondo recommends storing things standing up rather than flat.
  • Forget about “flow planning” and “frequency of use”. Kondo says that most organizational systems are based around how often things are used or how convenient it is to retrieve them. This is a mistake. If you need something, you’ll find it and pull it out. It’s much more important to make things easy to put away. She writes: “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out.”
  • Eliminate visual clutter. I’ve always admired the Japanese aesthetic, and a large part of that is how clean everything is. No surprise then that Kondo applies this ideal to de-cluttering. Her advice: “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” Only display belongings you appreciate. Don’t clutter your shelves and floorspace with knick knacks and notes and piles and so on. Keep things clean.

Perhaps that all seems overwhelming. It’s not — or it shouldn’t be. It all boils down to this: Start by discarding. Keep only those things that “spark joy”. Work first with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous, and lastly, mementos. After purging, organize your space for maximum efficiency (and minimal visual clutter). Do this all at once rather than incrementally.

You’ve finished the process when everything is in its place.

Putting Theory into Practice

So, how effective is the KonMari method? From my experience, it’s awesome. Seriously.

Two weeks ago, I spent my Saturday morning applying Kondo’s ideas to my clothes closet. It took me three hours, but after I was finished I’d eliminated a couple of bags of clothes and drastically reduced the space I needed to store the stuff I kept. I was particularly pleased with how much I could fit into my dresser drawers after watching some YouTube videos about the best way to fold shirts, socks, and — gasp! — underwear. (I’ve always mocked people who fold their underwear. I take it all back. I’m one of those folks now.)

Look at this beautiful image:

My t-shirts, organized and pretty.
Forty-eight t-shirts, all in a row. (But who needs 48 t-shirts?)

I used to store my t-shirts in two messy, mounded drawers (one for cotton, one for wool). Now all of my t-shirts fit into a single drawer — and it’s easy to tell what’s what. (Yes, I know I have too many t-shirts. I suspect I’ll re-apply the KonMari method in a few months, focusing more intently only the shirts that “spark joy”.) Similarly, my sock and underwear drawers used to be disasters. Now it’s quick and easy to find what I want:

My socks, organized and pretty.  My underwear, organized and pretty.
By folding the socks and stacking them on end, I’m able to get my ties and belts in the same drawer.

It does take a bit more time to fold things properly, but I’m okay with that. Actually, I think it’s kind of fun to fold my clothes into tiny, tidy packages.

After sorting my clothes on Saturday, I spent four hours discarding and organizing books on Sunday. Then I moved on to records and DVDs and compact discs. When I’d finished, I’d packed my Mini Cooper with stuff to sell and donate. In the process, I freed up several bookshelves (enough to get rid of an entire bookcase!) and three entire cupboards in our living room. Wow.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn’t for everyone. If you’re naturally clean and tidy, there’s nothing new here. If Kondo’s “keep things that spark joy” message causes you to roll your eyes, you won’t have patience for this book. But I think that most folks could profit from putting the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing into practice.

63 Replies to “The KonMari Method: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

  1. “Keep only those things that β€œspark joy”.”

    What do I do with my toothbrush, trash cans, cheese grater, etc?

    I think de-cluttering is overrated, or at least too easily taken to extremes that aren’t beneficial. There are some incredibly cluttered places that bring their owners, and even their visitors, lots of joy. Pretty much any museum is like this. And lots of workshops full of works-in-progress that are messy but amazing.

    • jdroth says:

      Tyler, this book is not for you. πŸ˜‰

      • No, really though, what do I do with my toothbrush?

        • jdroth says:

          Use the brush that sparks the most joy?

          Clearly, Tyler, some things are merely (or more) functional than they are aesthetically pleasing. I think Kondo’s message is that, when possible, you should choose only to possess things that bring joy to your life. Maybe there’s no such thing as a toothbrush that will bring you joy. But most folks love certain pieces of clothing more than others. They like certain appliances and pieces of art. I think the point is to, whenever possible, choose to only own those things that increase your happiness.

          • She wants readers to handle every item and ask, β€œDoes this spark joy?” She writes: β€œKeep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.”

            Except, you know, not really?

          • Melanie says:

            You must only keep things that “spark joy,” but that doesn’t mean they must spark joy every second of every day. Perhaps your toothbrush will spark joy when you glance at it and realize it’s your favorite color, or when you’re at the dentist office and you have no cavities, or when you’ve finished brushing your teeth and know you have minty fresh breath. πŸ™‚

        • Spicehandler says:

          @Tyler You brush your teeth (and tongue) with it. Watch a funny old film from the 1980’s called “The Jerk” with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters. He sings a song about it while he’s shopping for a toothbrush for her. Even a “lowly” toothbrush or cheese grater can be chosen with quiet delight and can be used and cared for lovingly.

        • Erik says:

          You don’t realize that your toothbrush gives you joy. It works for you. Without it you would be in bad shape. You need to reevaluate your relationship with these kind of items that work so hard for you.

        • Ali says:

          If your toothbrush does not bring you joy…discard it. Perhaps after a week without it you will feel the need to go out and buy a toothbrush that brings you joy.

          • Ahaha ^ Ali said exactly what I was thinking.

            For things like essentials, the book helped me focus on purchasing quality items in the future rather than whatever’s just there or cheap. Your toothbrush is going to wear out – maybe make sure your next one is one you really like, instead off something you fished out of a dollar bin? I have a Sonicare and, I gotta tell ya, I love the thing.

          • karen says:

            I can’t stop laughing on this final “drum-roll” remark…

        • Joy says:

          Tyler if you are worried about your toothbrush because that is clutter in your space then maybe you do not have an issue with clutter at all and do not need to use this method!!

        • Sead says:

          I assume having healthy teeth makes you happy, so your toothbrush is a keepr and you should store it where it is most easily used.
          Having an easy place to keep trash until you take it out certainly will make a person happier than letting trash collect all over.
          Grated cheese makes me joyful, how bout you? If you love,it too, than the grater is a implement of joy. Store it within easy reach.

          This isn’t difficult.

    • LennStar says:

      A museum ist not – or should not – be cluttered. Then you couldnt read all the text and look at the thinks from different perspective.

      The only thing that makes fun when its (carefully) cluttered are books.

      The “only what makes” fun is really the most effective method.
      Of course you cant throw away everythign you need, but you can give yourself the things you need in nice form. Not necessary the toothbrush but it starts where you put it.
      Also you coudl define “fun” here as the most effective toothbrush, because that is the most fun to use – the fastest way to lay it down again.

    • Catherine says:

      I guarantee that if you had to live without a toothbrush, trash can or cheese grater for a month, those items would spark true joy on their return to your life! Put time into searching out your vision of the perfect example of any of those items and I can guarantee they’ll bring you joy all the time.

  2. Cody says:

    This seems to fit nicely with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, where he recommends getting every loose end in your life (both physical objects *and* tasks/mental clutter) into one big pile and taking several days of concentrated effort to purge and organize every single piece, once and for all.

    Now if I could only figure out which pile of clutter I saw that book in last…

  3. Need to pick up a copy. One of my goals for this year is to de-clutter.

    • LennStar says:

      hint: Dont buy a book that clutters, lend it from the library πŸ˜‰

      • Lucia says:

        Except when I checked at the library there were 40 people ahead of me on the hold list. I need to declutter pronto so I opted for the kindle version. πŸ˜‰

        • Sarah says:

          You could always buy it (it’s pretty inexpensive as far as books go) and then donate it to the local library when you don’t need it any more. That keeps it from becoming clutter, and I’m sure most libraries would love an extra copy!

  4. Kathleen says:

    HAHA I knew there would come a point where you’re airing your underpants for all the world to see.

  5. While this is interesting, I agree this book is probably not for those people who have lots of in progress stuff. Be they artists or crafters or wood workers or home improvers. My tools don’t have to spark joy, they just have to do the job and effectively. And some of us have me MANY things that spark joy like my dishes for every single holiday season.

    That said, the only problem I have with this is the telling no other family members. I would certainly never remove something from my house that was not purely mine without consulting, except for toddler children. But maybe she just meant not having anyone around when you purged your own things.

    • DB says:

      Right, she explicitly tells you NOT to get rid of other people’s stuff without them knowing about it. But she does encourage you to get rid of your own stuff without your family seeing, because all too often they’ll be tempted to “save” some things that they really don’t need or want, and those things end up becoming a problem for them.

      • chacha1 says:

        That’s the key. If you involve other people, you will start hearing “but what if you need that” or “but that’s so nice” or “but didn’t Grandma give that to you.” The whole point with this is to NOT base retention on anyone else’s wishes but your own, and if they’re watching over your shoulder it’s pretty hard to not be influenced/pressured.

  6. EurFI says:

    The t-shirt drawer looks really neat. Before reading your quote “who needs 48 t-shirts?” I was already thinking “wow, that are many!”

    When you take some out (during the week) does the rest fall over? Maybe not for the t-shirts but for the socks?

    Thanks for your book review and inspiration. I really liked it.

    • jdroth says:

      Haha. I was worried about things falling over too. But you know what? They don’t. There’s enough tension that everything stays standing on end.

  7. Katiekate says:

    I love this book and I’ve implemented her method with quite a bit of success – however doing the whole house at once is a bit much.

    Her ideas about the living qualities of objects (eg don’t roll up your socks, fold them so that they can rest in your drawer) were a bit wacky but did challenge me to take better care of my possessions.

  8. Gail says:

    I think I have another issue with the “spark joy” idea – it encourages keeping stuff you don’t use.

    I just cleared out my t-shirts, and most of the ones I chucked were ones that made me laugh or smile, or evoked memories. But I junked them, because even though they fit and I like them I haven’t worn them since we moved house 18 months ago.

    Guess I should have chucked the ones I wear and kept the ones I don’t?

    • Melissa W. says:

      Can I ask why you hadn’t worn the t-shirts in a year and a half if they fit, you liked them, and they made you smile?

      I don’t intend this to be confrontational, just to suggest that perhaps the ones you kept and wear make you happier than those you got rid of. In that sense, you followed the method.

  9. Olga King says:

    I’ve been living (to my best) like this my whole life and de-cluttering is so much one of my core values. A great reminder now that I quit my full-time job and do have time and mind present more (still work 2nd job at 30 hrs/week and business) to do things I had postponed.

  10. I love that t-shirt folding method! That’s how I fold my husband’s t-shirts and it’s kept me sane. I no longer see piles of messy shirts that he dug through to get to the one he wanted. That drove me bonkers.

  11. Felicity says:

    I was at my company retreat a couple of weeks ago, and one of my colleagues had brought along the KonMari book – specifically at my request. A year ago, I would’ve rolled my eyes at the idea of reading a whole book about clutter. But now that I’m living out of suitcase, I realize how much stuff one really doesn’t need.

    The best part about having the book at retreat is that, when I mentioned it in conversation, several more of my colleagues wanted to borrow the book when I was done. That’s how you know you’ve built a great team of people! πŸ™‚

  12. Honey Smith says:

    Glad it seems to be working for you, but this made me pause: your friend showed you a book she checked out of the library, and you stopped and BOUGHT it on the way home.

    Kind of summarizes your tendencies in a nutshell, eh?

    • Ruth says:

      What we purchase for wisdom or education repays with interest. I don’t classify these kinds of books in the same way as I do other household clutter.

  13. Purging all at once makes sense. I too get into the habit of tidying up an area and getting rid of things, then a few weeks later I feel like I need to do it all over again.

    I started folding my shirts the way you described a few months ago, but for some reason I never translated the idea to my sock and underwear drawer. Lost opportunities.

  14. Kandace says:

    I thought the same thing as Honey. But I bought the book a few months ago because my library didn’t have it. I’ve started the process (my folded t-shirts and underwear look great!). KonMari says it can take up to six months to go through everything, so don’t feel like you can’t implement what she advocates.

    As for the toothbrush, is there a color that sparks joy for you?

  15. Ian says:

    I flipped through this book at the store because I love tips on de-cluttering and being clean in general. I have to say though that the author’s tips appeared too extreme, as JD sort of hints at, but I haven’t read the book to give a fully-informed opinion.

    The other point is that I had already read two excellent books on de-cluttering: “The Joy of Less” by Miss Minimalist blogger Francine Jay; and “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh. Both books use the same concept as KonMari of keeping only things that “spark joy,” albeit in different terms. I highly recommend both books, and I believe they are written towards a more mainstream audience.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you for the recommendation. A version of “The Joy of Less ” is available to read for free in the Amazon Cloud Reader. The other book is less than $10 on Amazon.

      I wonder if you think that the authors of these books contradict anything Marie Kondo says? If so, what. And, what do you mean exactly by “main stream”?

  16. liz says:

    Regarding utterly necessary utilitarian items, you should probably at least get that quiet sense of satisfaction from having a tool that does the task exactly as you need. For a toothbrush, does it fit your hand right, have the right size head for your mouth, do you like the color, does it fit your toothbrush holder, and so forth. So for that sort of item, it’s about taking a moment to deliberately chose that one instead of a new one (or realizing that you do need a new one). We don’t think of necessary objects day by day, but when we do consider them, they should be pleasing.

    Clothing that evoke memories but has not been worn for over a year should maybe be considered with mementos not clothing. A t-shirt from a concert for instance is basically a souvenir. I suspect it’s also about seeing whether things that haven’t been worn, but bring you joy when you hold them, should be worn, or thanked for the memories and let go.

    Or so it seems from the tv movie they made on this.

    • June says:

      Exactly. I am working on my house right now… My wedding dress is something I will never wear again, my daughters might want it or not, but it sparks joy to me. I love looking at it from time to time. I am willing to get rid of other things so I have room for it. I love it and it is not an utilitarian item to me. It is a memento and I will keep it around because it makes me happy to do so.

  17. Sounds great, but with a couple of caveats. Personally I’d keep the T-shirts because eventually they wear out (i.e., become cleaning cloths). The ones you use most often wear out faster, but when they go you’ll have replacements. Plus you’ll never run out of cleaning rags.
    Better make sure you define “joy” carefully, too. Otherwise, some stuff you’re on the fence about — but that later on becomes more valuable either emotionally or otherwise — could disappear in the throes of your Great Cleansing Urge to Purge And Make Things New Again.

  18. Melissa W. says:

    I just read this book on Sunday, and did the clothes and books/dvds discard yesterday afternoon. Day 1 totals: 3x 45gal trashbags, 1 box of books/dvds/cds, and a suitcase with another suitcase inside of it are in my car to take to Goodwill this weekend, and 2x 45gal trash bags worth of stuff went into the dumpster. This came out of a 500sq ft apartment that had already been purged from twice in the past 18 months. I shudder to think of what’s going to happen next with “paper.”

    It seems that some are taking the “spark joy” thing, among other advice, super literally, which leads me to wonder if people are adverse to the method, or the idea of intensely decluttering as a whole. No, a toothbrush itself does not spark joy, but going to bed with clean teeth and fresh breath sure is nice. It’s also a necessary hygiene thing. I also don’t think it encourages you to keep things you don’t use, such as superfluous t-shirts. Sure, you may keep a few things that won’t get much use (ex. I kept a pair of shoes that are not comfortable to wear for more than an hour or so since breaking my ankle, but I put three identical-style pairs in different colors up on eBay), but I found as I went through stuff that the things that made me happy were the things I used, and those I didn’t use, I didn’t really need. I no longer have clothes that make me feel bad because they no longer fit, soccer scarves shoved in a closet that never get used because the are the most non-functional thing ever (too short to keep your neck warm!), and books I bought years ago sitting on a bookshelf taunting me to read them. I think the greatest thing that has come out if this, so far, is that, with the exception of 4 pairs of shorts and a few gauzy summer tops, ALL of my clothes are visible, and I am fully cognizant of what I have. This will (in theory) prevent me from buying clothes without the awareness that I already have the item, it’s just in a suitcase under the bed.

    Thanks for the review, JD. Prior to reading the book, I thought all these “spark the joy” people were crazypants. While it can definitely be taken to the extreme, I enjoy her excessively simple formula for discarding and keeping. I’m glad to see other people of varying lifestyles also embracing the method.

    • Catherine says:

      I just thought of a problem I have with the ‘spark joy’ approach. I have a pair of silver or pewter leather sneakers that spark so much joy I’m practically in seventh heaven over them. I’ve never worn them, though, because every time I put them on I feel like I’m attracting too much attention to myself. don’t quite know what I’ll end up doing about those.

      Everything else, though, the ‘spark joy’ approach works well for me πŸ™‚

      • Joanne says:

        I have a pair of heels that kill my feet and I never wear. But they are so gorgeous and really different, so I’m going to put them on a shelf so I can look at them. They spark joy if I can see them πŸ™‚

  19. Jason Beck says:

    I’m a little confused by your actions.

    “Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out. ”

    But you now spend extra effort every time you want to put away your shirts and underwear? This seems backwards. But perhaps you can elaborate on “In particular, Kondo recommends storing things standing up rather than flat.”

    • June says:

      I don’t understand your question. Folding tshirts and pilling them up requires the same time and effort as laying them down next to each other. And you save time because you don’t have to keep doing it over and over again when the pile gets messy trying to “fish” a tshirt that was buried under the pile. In fact I used to not wear something I wanted, just because I didn’t want to mess with the pile… and would instead settle for whatever was on the top.

      • raisin mountaineer says:

        I didn’t get this at first either. But standing the t-shirts allows me to see ALL of my choices at a glance, rather than fishing around. For whatever reason, the t-shirts fit better in the drawer this way, also. Lastly, I have to have t-shirts of a particular kind for work, and it makes it easy to see those t-shirts vs. the “fun” ones.

        I think, too, although she didn’t expressly say it, that when you only keep the things that really spark joy, there’s not so much to store. Hence the not sweating so much on where things are stored.

  20. Margaret says:

    I got the book from the library and read it. I have “tidied” my clothes so far. I have a laundry basket of hangers to get rid of. I have been applying “does this give me joy” to other areas of my life. I end up changing the channel on the television. I got rid of CD’s and haven’t even starting sorting them yet. Once you get the hang of it (feel whether it gives you joy) it is easy to make a decision. This book really is life changing because it helps you focus on what you really want in your life. Feel the fear and do it anyway!!!

  21. Margaret says:

    I had 6 bags of clothes to donate after I “tidied” my clothes.

  22. kayla says:

    I’m curious if anyone has completed the full cycle because I’d like to ask for clarification on the statement: Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding (p. 35). It seems like if you have one of those spaces that take 4-6 months, your house will look like a bit of a wreck until you’re done purging. Has anyone worked on a project that large and was able to wait until the discarding stage had ended to start putting what remained back?

    • Nancy says:

      If you read the book (or listen to audio book on utube) you would realize that you sort by category and if you have too much in one category you can break that category into a sub category. The whole house is NOT DONE in one day. For example: Clothes. If you have too many clothes you can break that category into sub catagories such as tops, pants, etc. But you MUST DO the ENTIRE category at one sitting then you are ready to store that particular category. It’s really not that hard, sounds like a lot of people just like their clutter. I’ve used her system, works great, makes sense. Works because the concept of keeping something becomes ingrained in your brain replacing the “old” reasons we keep stuff. My teenage daughter just did her closet didn’t take much time. She picked what she wanted I put them in her closet. When finished she opened her closet and saw everything she liked she could not believe how good it felt being rid of things she was holding on to for rediculous reasons. After doing this we realized that we hold on to a lot of stuff for not great reasons and now we don’t feel uncomfortable about donating or discarding items when they serve us no more. That’s why it works because you may tidy up but you will NEVER again have to do a purge because your brain has no problem letting go of something, keeping your space tidy.

      • kayla says:

        Nancy, have you completed the entire course following her directions precisely?

      • Joy says:

        Your comment really helped me!! Thank you! I was thinking I was not dong it correctly because I could never do it in a day! As I mentioned my clothes took me well over nine hours. I am also not able to do papers the way she suggested because we gave a home office. I think I have the paper aspect down but I have to keep many things to verify write offs.

        I think the book is super! It is changing my life for sure!!

    • Erin says:

      Kayla, I was wondering this as well. I’ve just gotten started and I can’t imagine waiting until the very end to put things away. I’m still working on clothes at the moment. I discarded mine & then put them away. I did my daughter’s clothes & then put them away. Currently working on my son’s clothes.

      I can’t imagine that Kondo wants us living in misery for 6 months (unless it’s to show us just how much stuff we still have!) I took her comment to mean that, for example, we shouldn’t start putting our shirts away while we are still sorting through the rest of our clothes. Otherwise we get distracted with organization and will not finish discarding. Old habits die hard…

    • For what it is worth, I’ve gone through the whole cycle with my own possessions, and my husband has made about a 75% declutter with his. (My children, who are at school, do have their rooms full of stuff. I did not touch their things). It took six weeks and we have a four-bedroom house with a garage, cellar and weird mudroom storage area.

      I put things away by category after I decluttered that category. The miscellaneous category (komono) got broken down by type (electronics, kitchenware, household linens, knitting and sewing supplies and stash, etc) . While the process only took me about six weeks (I tend to dive deep into stuff) I was not going to leave my clothes in a pile on the floor for that length of time, and didn’t.

      Perhaps if you live in a Tokyo apartment or have a room in your parents’ house, doing it all in one day and leaving all the junk out until you are done would be reasonable, but American homes tend to be quite large, and I think that six months would be a reasonable time frame to do this, even if we went hammer and tongs and did it a lot faster.

      I have since done a little rearranging of storage, but to be honest, I got rid of so much stuff in each category that putting it back was simple and the process seemed so logical that it just wasn’t a big deal to put away the things I had decided to keep after I had sorted the category.

      • Teresa says:

        When you say six weeks, how much time did you have to spend in that six weeks to get it done?

  23. Joy says:

    Thank you!! For your comment. I was searching for justification that I am not doing this in one fell swoop. I LOVE the book and the method. I am doing things in order, but I just started on Sunday evening. Just doing my clothes took me well over nine hours! I am up to books and have a bit of a dilemma with this because I have many books that are reference and could never spark joy. It is difficult to explain. They fill a built in bookshelf and I think they need to stay. I plan to move on tomorrow, but in rereading the order and method I realize that I am not doing it exactly right and can’t even imagine that it could be done all at once.
    I am tidy are super organized but I just wanted to take things to another level. As I said I am loving it and really hope my husband jumps on the band wagon even a little. He has heaps of things!! I really see the importance of doing it in order but I find many things are not in a category for example linens.
    I will continue to purge and enjoy the process.!

  24. Joy says:

    I want to comment to the person who is having issues with taking her things out of the bathroom and emptying her purse each day. I live where it is extremely dry and leaving what I use each day in the shower is not a problem at all.
    As for emptying my purse I am still having issue with that too. Having a place for each item in it is not my problem. It is that I come and go from my house several times each day. Also, I do not constantly change purses. That being said I am wondering why I have kept so many??? I will work on not carrying around things I do not need each day in my purse and keeping it clean.

    I am one week into the purging now. I have done clothes, papers, books, and am half way through komono. I am loving thus and really excited to feel the moment when I know I have just what I need and nothing more!!!!

  25. earl says:

    the 48 shirts… why didn’t you sort them by color? now it still looks chaotic.

  26. candy says:

    I enjoyed her vision board idea. Picture in your mind or find some physically that represent how you would like your home to be. I took as a “feeling like home”. That assisted in joy sparking measure because when I was unsure, I tapped into the vision board. And I was also flexible about it. For me, home wanted to feel open, uncluttered and positive. A place I wanted to be, of course. So it was a state of mind. I borrowed her other suggestions, saying hello to the house when I came home, thanking my items after using them, and practicing gratitude. When I started to do this, my home felt calmer, happier, and comforting. It even changed the feelings of my parents (who i actually bought the house from). My dad had always felt the house was still his and often acted that way (which didn’t bother me, i know his personality and its hard for him to let go of things, i know what it was about), after starting KonMari, he commented that the house no longer felt like his, that it was ours. And the things that they had left after moving out, they came by to pick up without me saying a thing.

    This method brings magic for sure. When I started releasing the things that did not bring me joy, more joy came to me (I wanted a guest bed but could not justify the expenditure atm–my husband’s coworker just offered us one for FREE!)

    I kept an open mind even with the parts that seemed different (i don’t want to say weird, because it isn’t…just different than what i’m used to) and tried it for myself. It’s helped me save money because I now only purchase what truly sparks joy (and might spark joy for its use, like a teal toothbrush πŸ˜‰ )

    • candy says:

      In regards to the buying the house from my parents, what I meant to mention is that the house for a while always felt like us living in my parent’s home, not us living in our home even though we’ve been here 5 years now…

  27. Jacqueline says:

    Hi. I heard about this book somewhere just a few weeks ago. I didn’t buy it thinking it may end up being a Christmas gift (having put it on my wishlist). Well, Santa didn’t bring it so I’ve ordered it and it should be here mid-week. In the meantime, I have a few days of free time that I’d really like to utilize for purging and organizing.

    I’ve spend time this evening watching videos and reading blogs on the subject. I appreciate the reality based comments of your readers and wanted to ask a few questions in hopes that I could get these answers before reading the book.

    1. I have a couple of hobbies that bring me joy. One is crochet and involves many, many skeins of yarn, pattern books and magazines as well as tools for the craft. I prefer hard copies of things such as these because I have never cared to read online and I feel attached to these items. The second is sewing. While I have little skill in the area, learning about it and reading about it is a desire of mine and it brings me joy to think of it and play with it. Again, it involves storage of related materials and items. Both of these crafts require storage but I have dedicated storage means for them and hopes to have a craft room in my next home. It means that much to me. I wonder what thoughts Maria Kondo has to stay about ‘hobbies’.

    2. What does she say about storage of food items? I typically buy multiple items of things when they are on sale or at a very good price. I used to do this with coupons and had a small stash, but now I have no need to keep so much since my kids are grown and I don’t have the overhead. But I do like to take advantage of purchasing things at an advantage. At least now I only do it with things I use routinely or know I will utilize soon. The problem there is that I may end up with way too many shampoos or toothpastes or cans of coffee.

    3. Finally, what does she say about sentimental items? I have saved the baby books and items of my four children as well as boxes of home videos (in e-format). I also have a myriad of photo albums and framed or farmable photos. All of these things bring my joy or course, but does she have advice on how to organize them or tidy them so that they are not just sitting around as stored items?

    I am getting ready to move yet again. My last move was from a 2000 square foot four bedroom home into a single wide 3 bedroom trailer which I own, but where I am very unhappy. Now I am stepping down to a 2 bedroom apartment. I’m hoping to move one more and final time to a permanent home after this next rental. My goal is to keep my life as simple and stress free as I can and to have a place where my grandchildren and children can visit and feel comfortable.

    I appreciate any and all comments.
    Thank you,

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