How to declutter your life with the Konmari method


If you’re not a minimalist yet but consider becoming one, take a leap towards it today. It’s such a relief to get rid of things that don’t serve a purpose for you anymore. This goes with physical as well as mental things. If you start to declutter your stuff and organize the things you do want to keep, it helps your brain to relax as well. The method we are going to discuss today is the beautiful konmari method, a method that is dear to my heart and I highly recommend.

the konmari Method

I am sure you’ve heard of the The Konmari method. The method is invented by Marie Kondo, the author of the book The life changing magic of tidying up. It is quite simple. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. The power that this simple method holds can be potentially life changing if you apply it to your own life. It’s the persistence and the determination on your side that will help you achieve the goal of decluttering both your outer as well as your inner environment. 

The method goes like this:

  1. Put everything in the category your are working with in a pile on your floor. 
  2. Pick one item at a time. Hold it in your hands and ask yourself the magic question:

“Does it spark joy?”

Be intuitive with this. For example: you decide to start with your closet. You have all your clothes in a big pile on the floor. Pick up an item. Hold it in your hands and try to recall if you have any certain memories related to this item. Are they good or bad memories? This can be one paparmeter that will determine whether you want to keep the item or if you want to give or throw it away. If it brings back good memories, it will clearly be in the “spark joy”-section. But let’s say that it’s something you never use anymore. Then it can be a good idea to put it in the “throw away”-pile anyway. Otherwise it will just hold up space in your closet for no reason.

Don’t be too emotional

Be brutal with your belongings. If you truly want to become a minimalist, you have to be able to let go of things you don’t use in order to keep only the things that really matter to you. Things are just things after all. But if you feel that this is a thing you want to keep, put that in the “keep” pile. 

Spark joy

A great deal about the Konmari method is that you have to feel if the item “sparks joy”. So what is this magic “Spark of joy” that Marie Kondo speaks about in her book?

I think you have a intuitive feeling about this, and it’s exactly what you think. It’s not logical  dor reasonable. You have to trust your intuition on this one. What do you feel when you hold the item in your hands? Go with the first thing that you feel. This is almost always the right one. 

If you have doubts, put that in a separate pile. Note that this isn’t a way for you to be indecisive about your belongings. You are eventually going to have to decide if they stay or if they go. The  Konmari method is about tidying up, not putting things in a 2what if” pile. 

If you want, you can test the “what if”- pile by putting the items away in a box and out of sight for a while, let’s say three months. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. If you haven’t missed a single item in that pile when you check it again, it goes for sure. 

Konmari Categories

According to Marie Kondos method, all your belongings can be organized in four different categories: Clothes, books, household items and the rest. 

Her suggestion is that you do one category at a time. Everything from that category goes in one pile, regardless of if you store the items in different rooms, if you have some at work and some at home etc. Put everything that belongs to the category in one pile and start to cleanse. 

Fold and organize your remaining stuff correctly

According to the method, the art of folding and storing the remaining belongings correctly helps with your wellbeing and it is a part of the method. Clothes, towels and so on needs to be folded in a certain way. This is of course to help store the things in a practical way, but Kondo also talk about the “life” of the things. A pair of socks will be “happier” and serve you better if you roll them up and store them nicely in your socks drawer. 

“konmari” your mind as well

So how do you do to declutter and “konmari” your mind? The idea is simple, but of course it is harder to put all of your mental garbage in one pile in the same way you do with your clothes. 

Nevertheless, the brilliant Sarah Knight has come up with a method that is actually inspired by the Konmari method. The method suggests that you write everything down that you want to get rid of in terms of things you don’t want to care about anymore. 

But there are other ways to do it. Even though I love Sarah Knight’s method and highly recommend you try it out, it still has some aggressiveness to it that I don’t resonate with. I’m more of a “release it lovingly” kind of person, which means that I don’t necessarily want to get rid of everything, I just want to have a different approach to it. 

Related article: 10 ways to declutter your workspace

So how do you get started with the konmari method?

Start with something simple. The pile isn’t going to be overwhelmingly big, and you can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My suggestion is that you start with your socks. Put all your socks in one pile and sort out the ones that have holes in them (if you have those) and all the odd socks. You should only have complete pairs of socks left when you’re finished. 

Hold every sock in you hand, that you want to let go of and say loudly: Thank you. Let that sock go. Put it in the “throw away” pile. 

The reason I think socks are a good way to start is that we oftentimes don’t have emotional attachments to sock as we do with the rest of out stuff. Photos, postcards, that old vase that you got from your grandmother … those things are harder. So start small and work your way up. When you sit in your tidy home, you will thank yourself that you let all that stuff go, and you will be left with only the things that matter the most to you. 

If you want to read more, visit Marie Kondos official website

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