Real-Life Organization Lessons You Can Take from Marie Kondo
Are you ready to KonMari?
Who doesn’t want to spark more joy in their life? Even if you aren’t quite sure how, it sounds like a great idea, right? By now, Marie Kondo is practically a household name. Her best-selling book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, introduced the world to her method for sparking joy.
There’s even a Netflix show based on the book! The simple idea is that by systematically decluttering your home, keeping only the things that truly make you happy, you can increase your family’s sense of peace and contentment.
How to Apply the Marie Kondo Method in Your Home
On the surface, the KonMari method is simple. Deceptively simple. Step one: Divide all your belongings into four categories. Step two: Work your way through the categories one at a time. Hold each item, and ask yourself if it sparks joy for you. Step three: Get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy; organize and care for the things that do.
In reality, this approach can feel overwhelming, but the results are worth it. Let’s break down each of the steps and look at the potential difficulties:
Step One: Divide Your Belongings Into Four Categories
Rather than cleaning and organizing room-by-room, Kondo’s unconventional approach divides belongings into four categories. You’ll sift through your clothing, books, papers, and komono—kitchen and garage stuff, knickknacks, doodads, miscellaneous kitsch.
Go through one category at a time. Pull out all items in the clothing category, for example, and pile them in one central place. This step can be tough—especially if you have a little too much stuff. If you have done this step (or seen others do it on her show), then you understand the magnitude of it. There is something very powerful about seeing every item of clothing you own in one giant pile, but that’s the brilliance of her system. Kondo knows that seeing all of our stuff out in the open, in one place, is the only way we can be honest about where we need to make changes.
Step Two: Decide if Each Item Sparks Joy
Thinking about joy motivates you to pare down. But how? Instead of getting bogged down in practical questions about how much wear is left in an item, you simply hold the item and tune in to how it makes you feel. Does it spark joy? If so, wonderful! Keep it. It is worth finding room for. If not, also fine. There is no quota, just a commitment to rid your life of clutter to make room for joy.
Step Three: Get Rid of Anything that Doesn’t Spark Joy
If an item doesn’t spark joy, thank it for its service and get rid of it. While it may feel a little silly to be talking to an old sweatshirt that has been at the back of your closet since college, this too is an important step. Stuff is rarely (if ever) just stuff. It is attached to fondly-remembered chapters of your life (I remember when the kids used to play with that.). Or best laid plans that somehow never quite materialized (I meant to learn to play that guitar. I really did.).
Using this system helps you reconcile these unresolved issues. Life’s chapters have endpoints. The leftovers and trophies can crowd out your ability to enjoy the chapter you are in right now. In this step, you are tidying up and decluttering not just your external space but your internal self as well, letting go of whatever might be holding you back, weighing you down, or getting in your way—literally and figuratively. When you have decided what is staying and going in each category, put the “keepers” back in a more organized fashion, and move onto the next category.
Your Personal Concierge Can Help You Spark Joy in Your Life
As valuable and liberating as this process is, it can also certainly be daunting. Unless Marie Kondo herself is coming to your house (and there is a long wait-list for that!), then you are likely to need some support in the process. This is where Monogram Concierge can step in. Consider these practical ways we can offer help:
One man’s trash, another man’s treasure
As you sort through your belongings, there will be items that you no longer want or need but are useful to someone else. Those are things you’ll want to donate. However, no one wants to haul around their donations in the trunk of the car for five months before finding time to stop by Goodwill. We can arrange to donate any items that still have value to your favorite charity or resale store. Perhaps the thought of your old items sparking joy for someone else brings happiness to you as well.
We’ll hold your hand through the process
Many have noted that the magnitude of this task can be a bit overwhelming. If it helps to have a friendly set of hands going through the process with you, your Personal Concierge can do just that – whether that means toting boxes, emptying junk drawers, or simply asking the right questions to keep you on task. It is much easier to hold yourself accountable when you have a good friend there to give you guidance. Your Personal Concierge can assure you that you’re probably never going to wear those acid-washed jeans again or find the missing lids to all those Tupperware containers.
Taking care of your other errands to free up your day for the project
Perhaps you’ve committed to decluttering your life, but you prefer to work in privacy as you evaluate your things. This process can be emotional, and for some, it is a time to reflect and remember. If that’s the approach that fits you, but you can’t seem to carve out sufficient blocks of time to tackle the task, let us take some other things off your plate. We can help by taking care of your other errands so you can clear your calendar. It might motivate you to get through that pile if you know that you don’t have to put the rest of your life on hold. Partner with a Personal Concierge and when you’re done, the dry-cleaning will have been dropped off, the groceries bought and put away, the oil-change handled, and a nice home-cooked meal will be sitting on the table to reward you for your hard work.
Everyone loves a good yard sale
You may also want to get some bang for your buck by selling your not-needed-but-still-useful belongings. Maybe making a little money for something special can motivate your children to get behind the KonMari process and take the sting out of cutting back on their toys. Depending on just how much you hope to sell, organizing and executing a yard sale is a big deal. We can help you pull it together—the advertising, signs, hosting on the day of, and hauling off of the leftovers when it’s all over.
There’s no doubt that Marie Kondo sets a high standard, a standard that is not appealing to everyone. There are plenty of reasons to keep some things that don’t spark joy, and it’s OK to have some books on your shelves that you might not get to for a few years. It’s also acceptable to hold on to those old love letters or special mementos that she might have you release. It’s really about balance, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all fix.
However, there are bound to be areas of your life, or categories of your belongings, that can benefit from the KonMari approach. When you’re done, you’ll feel more like you own your belongings rather than them owning you.
At Monogram Concierge, we are all about sparking joy. We are ready to help you navigate KonMari so that you can bring some magic to your home and your life. Give us a call today and let’s work together to declutter your life and make room for more joy.