Want to see the Konmari decluttering method in action? The TV show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo released on Netflix at the start of 2019. In a short time it’s given thousands of people encouragement and motivation to start decluttering and tidying their spaces.
The start of the new year is naturally a time when we feel the urge to start fresh, get organized, and do some serious decluttering. But along with the process of decluttering, we often feel guilty, ashamed, and overwhelmed.
But, you won’t see any of those feelings from Marie Kondo in her approach and demeanor in her TV program, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
That’s one of the biggest underlying takeaways from the show – by decluttering and letting go of the things that no longer serve us, we can also let go of the guilt, shame, and overwhelm.
The KonMari Method
On the show, Marie Kondo teaches households her Konmari of tidying. This involves five categories in a specific order:
- Komono – miscellaneous items in the kitchen, bathroom, garage and more
- Sentimental Items
In theory, clothing is the easiest to declutter, so as you work through the specific Konmari tidying order, you work your way up to more challenging categories. But, in the process of doing this, you’re gaining decluttering experience and confidence.
Want to learn more? Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, will walk you through the KonMari method as you tidy and declutter your own home.
- What Should You Do with Decluttered Items?
- Realistic KonMari for Moms
- Declutter 101 – Where Do I Start?
Why Watch Tidying Up?
If you’re looking for motivation to declutter, you’ll certainly see yourself a little bit in one or more of the episodes of Tidying Up.
And while you’re watching, you can also be working on your own decluttering projects – you can be productive, while being motivated and learning tips and tricks that will help you look at the organization of your home in a whole new way.
Biggest Takeaways from Marie Kondo’s Show
- Does it spark joy? – Once you have a handle on this concept, everything else about tidying and decluttering becomes easier.
- Clutter impacts relationships
- Everyone in the family can be responsible for their own things – even children.
- When you let items go, you let go of the guilt or shame associated with them.
- Create a space that suits your ideal self – Tidying can help you change your space so it reflects who you are becoming or aspire to be.
Decluttering Lessons Learned from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
You don’t need to watch the episodes in a particular order. Start with the ones that will be most useful or motivating to you.
- Tidying with Toddlers
- Empty Nesters
- The Downsizers
- Sparking Joy After a Loss
- From Students to Improvements
- Breaking Free from a Mountain of Stuff
- Making Room for Baby
- When Two (Messes) Become One
Episode 1 – Tidying with Toddlers
If you’ve ever thought the KonMari method wouldn’t work with kids, you’ve got to see this episode! The parents have different organizational styles, and they are dealing with busy schedules, active toddlers, and little time to tidy.
Marie helps the Friend family declutter and focus on time with family. You can see how clutter has impacted the parents’ relationship, and they definitely feel overwhelmed with all of their stuff.
The cutest parts of the show? Seeing Marie Kondo’s daughter folding a little towel and when one of the Friend toddlers tells her daddy he’s cute! 🙂
Tidying Lessons in Episode 1
In this episode Marie explains what Spark Joy means (a warm, positive feeling – similar to what you’d feel when holding a puppy or wearing your favorite outfit). She explains that as you go through the tidying process, you’ll become more sensitive to what sparks joy for you, and that will make the whole tidying process more manageable.
She also demonstrates how to fold properly, and use folding as an opportunity to connect with your garments. They show how to fold t-shirts and jeans. Kondo recommends folding with your kids so they can learn to appreciate folding too.
Komono is all of the miscellaneous items you decide to keep that aren’t clothes, books, or sentimental items. Kondo recommends using boxes to compartmentalize drawers neatly.
For kitchen drawers, Kondo recommends storing like items together by size, and using little boxes to separate and store items.
Store things so you can see them. By storing things vertically, it makes it easier to see what you have.
Take everything out and put all of your stuff into categories. Save sentimental items to work on later after you’ve built up your tidying skills.
Episode 2 – Empty Nesters
Wendy and Ron are empty nesters, and clutter is keeping them from having a “normal retirement.” They have three generations of belongings in their house, and it’s overflowing with stuff to the point where it’s difficult to walk through some rooms.
They have a lot of clothes, Christmas decorations, and baseball cards that are very special to them. The transformation in this home is amazing!
Tidying Lessons from Episode 2
Take out ALL of your clothes, and put them in one huge pile. This way you can see the total amount of clothing you have – and the amount you actually have may surprise you. Seeing all of your clothing in a big pile at once can help you finally start to make decisions about what you want to keep and what you can let go.
Komono – Decorations
Put all of your Christmas decorations out in one big pile. If you normally decorate for Christmas together as a family, do this with everyone in your family so they all have input. Hold each item, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If the answer is yes, keep it. If not, let it go.
Store decorations in clear containers so it’s easier to see what’s inside.
Don’t store miscellaneous items in plastic bags because it makes it look like trash.
Sentimental – Photographs
Hold each photo and decide if it sparks joy for you. If it does, if not, let it go. If you have similar photos, hold onto the one that sparks the most joy.
Store photos in a box or in an album. Kondo recommends storing photos in an album so you can enjoy them. You’ll also need to figure out a place to store your albums or boxes – usually on bookshelves or coffee tables.
Related article – Step-by-Step Photo Organization
Episode 3 – The Downsizers
The Mersier family moved to Los Angeles from Michigan over a year ago, and now they’re living in a smaller space. They’re struggling with clutter and how to feel at home in their new smaller space.
The father is a musician and the mother is a hairstylist.
The mom knows where everything is in the home, but no one else does. So, she ends up fielding a lot of questions about where to find stuff. Sound familiar to anyone? 😉
In this episode, Kondo tries to teach the rest of the family to be responsible for their belongings too.
Tidying Lessons from Episode 3
Kondo has the kids put all of their clothes into one big pile in their room. The children pick up each item and decide if it sparks joy for them. If it does, they keep, if it doesn’t, they thank it and let it go.
Because the children don’t have a dresser, she has them fold their clothes, stack them vertically, and put them in shoeboxes on their shelves. She says that the shoeboxes are a temporary fix until they get their own dressers.
Kondo suggests starting with the miscellaneous items that are easiest for you to declutter first.
Kondo recommends folding fitted sheets in thirds, and then in half.
If you’re storing the sheet in a linen closet, just fold it in half again one more time. If you’re storing it in a deep drawer, fold it in thirds and store it upright in your drawer. For a small drawer, just roll the sheet up.
Store frequently-used items like plates, cups, and mugs, in a place where they’re easily accessible. Put less frequently-used items up on your higher shelves.
Store paper plates, straws, etc. in a box together so they’re easier to get to.
Episode 4 – Sparking Joy After a Loss
Margie has lived in her home for 30 years. Her husband passed away, and she doesn’t know what to do with his belongings. She’s alone in her home now, and she’s ready for a fresh start, but wants to keep the same “calmness and coziness” in her home.
Tidying Lessons from Episode 4
Kondo has Margie start out by putting just her own clothing on the bed to declutter. She recommends that people wait until later to declutter clothing from a lost loved one because the process can be very difficult with his/her belongings. There’s a good chance it would slow down the tidying process.
Kondo asks Margie to go through the process of holding clothing items to see if they “spark joy” for her. If this is difficult, Kondo recommends starting out with favorite items that you know will spark joy. That way you can get an idea of what “spark joy” feels like.
Store purses or bags using the “bag-in-bag” method. Put smaller bags into larger bags, and make sure the handles or straps are all showing so you can easily find everything.
Margie starts to declutter books, but she feels stuck and wants to continue going through Rick’s clothing upstairs. Kondo tells her to go ahead and work on Rick’s clothing so that she will feel more comfortable.
Kondo has Margie go through her storage room. She has to pick up each item one by one to decide whether or not to keep it.
Kondo says to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to eliminate.
Kondo says you can categorize photos by year, event, or both.
Store items upright, and put accessories in small boxes. Store the box in a place that sparks joy.
Episode 5 – From Students to Improvements
Frank and Matt want their home to be more organized and grown up before Frank’s parents come to visit. They are both writers, and they have a lot of books, papers, clothing, and kitchen items to declutter. They have a lot of things from their college days.
They feel like their home is a reflection of their relationship. They think that Frank’s parents will take their relationship more seriously if they can see that their home is tidy and organized – a grown-up space instead of a dorm room!
If you’re a book lover, this episode will be super helpful to you. One of the best parts of the show is when Matt grasps the concept of something sparking joy when he holds his copy of his favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird.
KonMari Method – Before and After
Here’s a great clip of Matt and Frank’s linen closet before and after using the KonMari method:
Tidying Lessons in Episode 5
Kondo recommends hanging ties or folding them in half twice and then rolling them up. Put the ties in a box and store them in a drawer.
Take out all of your books in the whole house. Take every book into your hands and see if it sparks joy for you. Ask yourself if having these books will be beneficial to your life going forward.
Kondo says that books are a “reflection of our thoughts and values.” Keep the ones that hold information that’s important to you in the moment.
Kondo says to divide the papers you want into three categories
- Pending – papers you need to take action on like bills and letters
- Important – papers you need to keep like contracts, certificates, etc.
- Miscellaneous – papers you use often – notes from a class, recipes, etc.
Store items upright in boxes so you can see them and know what you have.
Episode 6 – Breaking free from a Mountain of Stuff
The Mattison family has two young children and they’ve been married for 17 years. They would like to have another baby, but they feel like they won’t be ready to do so until they can get their home decluttered and organized.
Tidying Lessons from Episode 6
Like in previous episodes, Kondo has the Mattisons take out all of their clothing, and put it on the bed.
Sehnita says that she doesn’t necessarily like a lot of her clothes, but she wears them because they fit. Kondo recommends starting by picking out things that she wears frequently, in that case.
Purifying the Space
If you get stuck, Kondo recommends lighting a candle, using an aromatic room spray, lighting incense, or opening a window. This will help purify your home, and inspire you to start making decluttering decisions.
Folding Children’s Clothes
For baby onesies, Kondo says to:
- Fold in half
- Tuck in the sleeves
- Fold in half again
- Fold in thirds”
Kondo also demonstrates how to fold children’s socks and underwear.
The family puts all of their books in the family room and starts going through each book one by one. They have to ask themselves if each book is something they want to carry with them into the future.
Take out all of the toys. If you have more than one child, make separate piles for each child, and then ask the children which toys spark joy for them.
If they love all the toys, ask them to rank their toys from favorite to least favorite.
Store toys in separate bins or baskets for each child. For shared items, store them in bins by category.
Episode 7 – Making Room for Baby
Clarissa and Mario have a baby on the way! They need to make space for their newborn. They have a lot of shoes, and some of them are part of a collection.
Tidying Lessons from Episode 7
To start, Kondo has them bring all of their clothes down to the living room. They have clothing in multiple rooms, so she has them put everything in a central location. Seeing all of their clothing in one spot really has a big impact on Mario and Clarissa.
Kondo has them select the things that spark joy for them.
Kondo says that saying goodbye and thank you to the items you discard can help you feel less guilty about getting rid of them.
She says it’s important that you express gratitude towards the clothing you never wore. Those items taught you that you don’t like wearing those types of items. It also makes it more clear what clothing items are necessary for you.
Just fold them in half as a pair so the bands don’t stretch out as easily.
Fold them in thirds as a pair.
- Create one pile and look at each item.
- Aim to get rid of everything
- Always remove papers from their envelopes
Mario has trouble letting go of a lot of miscellaneous items because he attaches sentimental value to them. Kondo has him hold the items and see if they spark joy. This helps Mario let go of some of the stuff, and the whole process starts to click for him.
If you’d like to display your shoes, do it! You can arrange them by color, shape, brand or year. For a shoe rack, keep heavy shoes on the bottom and light shoes on top.
Episode 8 – When Two (Messes) Become One
Tidying Lessons from Episode 8
Angela and Alishia just got married and moved into a condo together. They’ve only been in the house for three weeks, and they’re still figuring out how to merge their belongings.
When sharing a closet, Kondo recommends having separate areas for each person to store clothing. This makes it easier to see everything you have all in one space.
Alishia has trouble getting rid of a dress her grandmother gave her years ago. Kondo says that the purpose of the exercise isn’t to force yourself to eliminate things, but to confirm the feelings you have about the items you own.
Kondo also demonstrates how to fold hoodies and undergarments.
For bras with cups, store them in a way that doesn’t fold or crush the cups. Storing them in a color gradient is visually pleasing.
Fold cupless bras in half and tuck in the straps to store.
Fold soft cup bras in half, tuck in the straps, and roll them up.
Store bras in boxes to keep them more organized
Kondo has the women take out all of their kitchen items and ask themselves if there are any items that don’t belong in their lives ahead.
Store like items together and organize by category. Store snack items in boxes so they’re easier to pull out. It’s also more visually appealing.
Create a separate space for pet items. Divide the space by category. If you take talks every day, put your leashes on a hook that’s easily accessible.
Top Ten Tips from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Want to see some of the biggest takeaways from the series? Watch the video below that outlines the ten best tips from the show:
Learn More – KonMari Method and Decluttering
- Realistic KonMari for Moms
- Declutter 101 – How to Get Started Without Feeling Overwhelmed
- How I Taught Myself to Let Go of Stuff and Build a Decluttering Habit
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