The 7 Most Important Things We Learned from ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’
Our new goal in life? To get as much joy from rolling up a pair of socks as Marie Kondo does. The organizational guru’s new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has totally taken over our homes (and our Instagram feeds) and we’re not mad about it. In each episode, Kondo meets people in desperate need of decluttering and teaches them her genius method. But if you have yet to binge-watch the surprisingly soothing cleaning phenomenon, here are seven pointers to help get you on your KonMari way.
Clutter Can *Really* Take a Toll on Your Relationship
In the first episode, husband and father-of-two Kevin admits that constantly stressing out over his messy home means that his family often gets the worst of him. And in episode five, Frank and Matt reveal that all their junk is keeping them from growing into a couple that their parents can be proud of. (Sob.) “Couples can deepen their ties through tidying,” says Kondo. And pretty much every episode proves that exact point. By working together toward a common goal (i.e., being able to see the back of their closet), not only do duos end up with a tidier home; they also reconnect as a family (see adorable empty-nesters Wendy and Ron in episode two for our favorite example). Something to keep in mind when you and your spouse are bickering over who has more shoes.
Things Have to Get Worse Before They Get Better
Warning: Do not embark on the KonMari method the day before a dinner party or right before bedtime. Why? Because you really have to commit to the process, which starts by taking all of your clothes (every. single. item.) and putting them into a giant pile. This is so that you can confront the sheer volume that you own head-on. Let this mountain of stuff show you what you need (i.e., items that “spark joy”) and what you don't (things to donate or throw away).
Tidy by Category, Not Location
Sorry, but if you’ve been tidying room by room your whole life, then you’re doing it wrong. Instead, Kondo recommends sorting by category. Specifically, these five: clothing, books, documents, komono (miscellaneous) and sentimental items. Komono includes things like kitchen Tupperware, random bottles of shampoo in the bathroom, your kid’s toys and whatever the heck is going on in the garage.
The Family That Folds Together, Stays Together
Once you’ve discarded all the things that don’t bring you joy, it’s time to put what’s left back in its place. For clothes, employ the KonMari folding method where everything is folded into thirds (like a rectangle) so that items can stand up in your drawers for easy access. (This works for T-shirts, your unmentionables and even fitted sheets.) It’s a little bit fiddly but that’s where small fingers come in handy—Kondo highly recommends enlisting the help of your kids for folding. Not only will they learn to respect their clothes, but you’ll have one less thing on your to-do list. Not sure your minis will want to help? According to Kondo, when her daughter sees how much fun mom is having tidying up, she wants to join in, too.
Tiny Boxes Are Your Friend
With the KonMari method, everything has a home. Which is easy(ish) for the big stuff but what about all the random, little things that you usually just shove into a drawer? That’s where Kondo’s tiny boxes come in—organized holders where you can store kitchen utensils, socks, keepsakes and other small items. “By using boxes, you can compartmentalize the drawers neatly,” she says. And while Kondo has her own line of boxes, there are plenty of different sizes and colors to choose from on Amazon. Simple.
Be Grateful for What You Have
The first thing Kondo does upon entering a house (after cheerfully declaring, “I love mess!”) is to ask the homeowners to join her on the floor and thank their home for providing shelter and a place to build their life. (Yes, it’s exactly as adorable as it sounds.) And when it comes to possessions, Kondo encourages this same sense of gratitude—even for the stuff that’s getting thrown out (you’re meant to thank your items before getting rid of them). This is pretty much the opposite of every HGTV show (no offense, Property Brothers) that makes viewers believe that the more stuff and luxe finishes you have, the happier you’ll be. And it’s precisely this thoughtfulness that makes the show (and the KonMari method) so magical.
Sleep on It
Shock and horror—even Marie Kondo’s house gets messy sometimes. What does the tidying queen do when she’s feeling overwhelmed by clutter? She walks away or goes to bed. Keep in mind when you start that this process can take several days or longer (each episode of Tidying Up takes place over one month). Slow and steady wins the race, people.