7 Ways the KonMari method is Different than Other Types of Organizing
What is the KonMari Method?
The KonMari Method- made popular by Marie Kondo's bestseller; "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up", and later, in the hit Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo-” is the highly acclaimed Japanese art of home decluttering & organizing.
This method, developed by Marie’s lifelong passion of tidying, presents a specific way to organize. But it’s also more than just an instruction for how to get organized, it’s a way of life that examines your relationship with belongings.
Here are 7 ways the KonMari method is different from other organizing advice:
1- The KonMari method starts by discarding.
Some organization methods will focus only on sorting your belongings into bins, systems, etc. In the KonMari method, you can ONLY get organized after you have cleared your home of clutter. Clutter is anything that doesn’t “spark joy”- or, make you happy or improve your life in some way.
2- You should organize all-in-one go.
This doesn’t mean in one day, but commit to making a change in your home, then working steadily until you have finished. This might take a weekend, or several months.
This is different from other methods that might suggest to “take one item out for every item in”, or, “declutter 5 things a day” or the advice to do a little at a time. Decluttering in “one go” helps you shift your mindset, hit the “restart” button, and keep your home clutter-free moving forward.
3- There is very little focus on storage
Many organizing methods advocate for specialized storage systems, fancy bins, or complicated gadgets to keep your home tidy and organized.
After all, there is a huge industry and entire stores dedicated to these storage systems! To quote Marie, “putting things away creates the illusion that clutter problem has been solved.”
These containers do not help you solve the clutter, it just shuffles the clutter into racks, dividers and storage units- which when overused, can add more clutter to your home. In the KonMari method, simple boxes are recommend for keeping things sorted, and you don’t need expensive systems.
4-Sort by category, not location
Most organizing advice suggests that you tidy and declutter by location- the hall closet, the garage, the playroom, etc. But, most people keep the same type of item in multiple places. For example, in my home, I have clothes in my bedroom closet, jackets on the hallway hooks, a few sweatshirts inevitably in my car, and special occasion outfits in the guest room.
It’s perfectly fine to store things in different places, if that’s what works in your home. But, if we only tidy by location, we fail to take into account the volume of what we really own, end up repeating the same decluttering work over and over again, and can never truly finish tidying.
5- Declutter and only keep things that “spark joy”
When deciding to keep an item or not, the KonMari method asks us to determine if an item sparks joy. What this means varies from person to person, but in general, it means items that make you happy.
The books, originally written in Japanese, used a word that translated to "flutter, throb, palpitate".
For practical items where joy might not be obvious- maybe the frying pan or the toilet brush- consider the ease it adds to your life, and what would be missing if you didn’t have it.
6- Sort in a specific order
The KonMari Organizing order is very specific: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous- kitchen, makeup, etc.) and then, sentimental items.
The reason for this order is it starts with what is usually the most simple item to declutter and tell if it sparks joy. We all have those favorite pants we are comfortable in, or that dress that makes us feel sexy when we wear it. Those are items that spark joy.
Starting with clothing is a good way to cultivate that sense of what sparking joy means to you. By the time you reach the last category, and usually the hardest to declutter, you will have honed in on what sparks joy to you, making the process go easier.
There are no other organizing methods that place so much importance on the value of mindfulness for your belongings, and one of the reasons why I personally love the KonMari method.
Marie Kondo takes a soft Zen Buddhist outlook on belongings. She advices that we greet the home and items, we treat them with respect and care, and we thank items for their service as we let them go.
Regardless of your religious outlook, respecting and caring for items, even if you believe them to be inanimate, is good financial and ecological sense.
Interested in trying the KonMari Method in your home?
I will be training under Marie at the end of this month, and am excited to offer in-home KonMari tidying lessons soon! Let’s chat about how I can help you!