KonMari: How to Win the Organizing Game by Sparking Joy

After the overstuffed holiday season, it seems natural to scale back, not just diet-wise but at home, too, right? (There’s a reason searches on “organizing” spike after the New Year.) If you’re tired of the regular half-hearted January decluttering exercise and are looking for something that’ll kick the new year into high gear, check out the KonMari organizing technique.

Its fans call the system life-changing, not just for its beautifully and meticulously folded clothes, but because it starts with joy.

Spark Joy book by Marie Kondo

Photo: Marie Kondo, Instagram

Joy. When organizing? Marie Kondo, author of the best sellers, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy,” says yes.

She believes we should surround ourselves with things that make us truly happy. Like William Morris, who said,” Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” Kondo believes the benefit of this golden rule is a blissful home.

Tidy by Category, Not Location

Drawers of colorful clothing organized according to the KonMari method

Photo: Bucktooth Mama

In KonMari, instead of organizing in the usual method — by room — you organize by category, such as clothes, books, etc. In addition, you work through the categories in a specific order, starting with clothes and ending with sentimental items.

KohMari organizing method printable

Photo: Making Lemonade Blog

In addition, you should:

  • Tidy in one shot.
  • Don’t play music or talk on the phone (this reduces your focus).
  • Discard intensely and completely.
  • These are the rules of Fight Club KonMari.

Examine Each Thing

Organized linen closet

Photo: I Heart Organizing

How do you start? Take everything off the shelves and look at each item, one by one.

As you look at it, ask, Does it make you feel happy? Do you cherish it? Does it strike your fancy? This is how Kondo says you know an item sparks joy.

When you have trouble discarding something, ask yourself why you have it and what role it plays in your life. If you decide it doesn’t spark joy, thank it for teaching you what doesn’t suit you, and let it go.

Beautifully organized kitchen drawers

Photo: The Kitchn

It’s chaotic, for sure. The entire contents of every closet in your house, emptied onto your bed at the same time? Yeesh.

And talk about intense. Doing an entire category in one shot seems like it would take days. And it might. But imagine the tradeoff: a day (or a few) of discomfort for a truly organized home.

KonMari Folding

T-shirts folded according to the Konmari method

Photo: One Tall Two Short

Even if you weren’t aware of the KonMari organizing system, you’ve probably seen pictures of the beautifully organized drawers.

There’s a Zen-like reverence in this system to folding clothes and linens. Give every article of clothing, from towels to panties to coats, the respect it deserves by touching, appreciating and then correctly storing it.

Whatever you fold should stand upright; the idea is that the more folds there are, the less wrinkled the item will be when you’re ready for wear it.

P.S. There are a host of youtube videos, hundreds of Pinterest tutorials, and even an official KonMari app, to make sure you’re following the folding method properly.

While we’ll be wishing each other tidings of comfort and joy for the holiday season, how deeply satisfying would it be to give yourself the gift of comfort and joy all year long?

With the KonMari organizing method, you’re not just reducing the clutter in a room; you’re making your space more comfortable and joyful to live in.

Looking for a little inspiration to get started? Check out these beautiful (and beautifully organized) rooms.