What is Kon Mari and Why Are People So Excited About Tidying Up?

Marie Kondo is quickly becoming a household name these days. It’s thanks in part to her books and her Netflix series Tidying Up.

We’d also hazard to guess that she’s also far more organized than 99.9% of the population.

Organizing Shelves

Her method of tidying, Kon Mari, has been an increasingly hot topic as of late. Now countless people are trying to apply it to their lives. Is it the life-changing magic the Japanese cleaning consultant claims it to be though?

Apparently, some people really do believe it is.

Understanding Kon Mari

No, it’s not some ancient Japanese cleaning ritual. The name is simply derived from Kondo’s first and last names. What it entails is a very minimalistic and calculated approach to tackling clutter. For most people, it also means getting rid of a lot of stuff.

Marie Kondo

It starts off with six basic principles:

  • First, you must commit to tidying up.
  • Next, you’re supposed to envision your ideal lifestyle.
  • When you discard something, you should show gratitude towards it for serving its purpose.
  • Tidying is done by category as opposed to approaching things room by room.
  • A specific order must be followed.
  • And, lastly, for everything you own, you should ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Tackling the Five Categories

While the word “tidying” is used frequently, Kondo’s method is more about ridding yourself of things that lack value. To do this, you’ll tackle each of the categories one by one, deciding which of your belongings should be kept.

First, you’ll take all of your clothes out of their respective storage spaces. Once you have a giant pile, it’s time to decide which things spark joy and which don’t. Those that don’t are thanked and discarded (they can also be donated to charity or sold).

Next, you’ll do the same for all the books you’ve collected. Then, you’ll move on to papers. After that, you’ll have to go through all those miscellaneous items, or as she calls them, Komono. Lastly, you’ll find yourself dealing with sentimental items.

Sparking Joy

Kondo explains that the method can be somewhat unnatural or even a bit awkward at first. Your ability to determine what spark joy is something you’ll hone over time, hence sentimental items being the last category.

Essentially, you’ll go through all of your possessions for every category and thereby whittle down the overall amount of stuff. To finish each category, you’ll put back the things you want to keep.

The intent behind the method is to have a home that’s free of clutter and full of things that actively bring you joy.

Wondering where the bit about imagining your ideal life comes into play? As you tidy up, it’s important to visualize your ideal lifestyle and consider the things you need to achieve it. If something won’t help you achieve your goals, it’s doesn’t deserve to take up space in your home.

More Information

If you think the method sounds interesting and you’d like to learn more, Marie Kondo has authored several books. There’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, for starters. Additionally, there’s Spark Joy which includes a handy guide for helping you decide what sparks joy for you.

And, of course, there’s also her Netflix series.

There are also Kon Mari consultants for hire, but they don’t come cheap. So, unless you’re quite rich, you’re probably better off just learning the method yourself.

Have you tried the Kon Mari method? Have you truly figured out how to discern what does (and what doesn’t) spark joy? We’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments below!


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