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Not Just “Tidying Up”, A Whole New Way of Life

If you haven’t already seen the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix, I insist you watch it.

Internationally renowned cleaning expert and bestselling author Marie Kondo has rapidly become a global sensation. She has traveled the world, motivating others with her proven organizational efforts and now, she has made her debut on Netflix.

The KonMari Method is a process of organizing your home as a way to bring happiness into your life. The extensive four-step ritual goes something like this:

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First, dump out all your clothes into a pile on your bed. Then, hold each item one-by-one and see if it “sparks joy”. 

That feeling you get when “holding a puppy”, Kondo explains.

If not, politely thank the item for allowing you to wear it and then put it aside to be donated or thrown away.

As for the items of clothing that do bring you joy, keep them and fold them, using her expert folding style.

For tops, create a rectangle in the middle, fold in half, then fold into thirds.

For pants, fold them in half, fold in half again, and then fold into thirds.

Within the first episode, I quickly learned I had been folding clothes the wrong way my entire adult life. The only right way is the KonMari way.

“You’re not just making your clothes smaller,” Kondo explains, “it’s also a way for you to talk to your clothes and thank them.”

I have continued to practice this since watching the show. Rather than feeling like I have too many clothes but nothing to wear, I can easily find the item of clothing I want. The added bonus of getting rid of things I didn’t want is that I actually like every piece of clothing I own.

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“Wake them up.” Kondo says in the show, as she gently taps on the mountainous stacks of books the client has created.

This step was difficult for me. As an avid reader, I struggled to throw out books. Even books I may never read again. But it’s an important part of the process. And if a book doesn’t bring you joy, it needs to go.

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This consists of four parts and is arguably the most challenging step. Kimono includes the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, and everything miscellaneous.

Organizing the kitchen is crucial for anyone with dozens of plastic food containers and can never seem to find the matching lids. Or for the person searching through a drawer full of endless utensils for that flipping spatula.

Well, the answer to your problems is KonMari. Take all your utensils and organize them by use and by size and put them in a small container or wooden box before placing them back in the drawer.

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As for the bathroom, the purpose here, like the other rooms, is to rearrange all your belongings so that each object has a specific place. So keep cleaning, keep folding, and invest in lots of storage containers.

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The garage, if you have one, like most people, it is probably being used for storage. How do you organize it? Racks and storage containers are your friends. Expert tip from Kondo, use clear plastic bins so you can see what’s in each one without having to open them all.

Miscellaneous includes everything else that doesn’t fall into one of the aforementioned categories.

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Sentimental Items

Last, but certainly not least, all of the cherished memorabilia you’ve accumulated over the years. I’m not sure how or why you’re supposed to throw out old photos. But, it’s a required step and critical part of the process.

When done correctly, this decluttering method can take several weeks or even months, depending on how much time, and stuff you have.

The lesson I learned from watching Kondo’s show and attempting to utilize her method in my own life, is to be thankful for what you have and treat your belongings with respect. A value that is not often practiced.

In our materialistic society, possessions are merely temporary objects to hold our attention for a specific purpose. Once it’s served its purpose, we toss it and instantly buy newer and better stuff.

The act of thanking an item you have and before you get rid of it is humbling.

I believe the Kondo method should be applied to all aspects of life. Including our social media platforms, the food we eat, and even the people in our lives. Surround yourself with items that make you feel a “zing” and get rid of anything that bolsters negativity or bad vibes.

It sounds simple, but it is truly profound.

In the show, before she begins teaching her clients how to “tidy up”, she takes a tour of their home. Then she finds an area in the house to kneel down on the floor. She closes her eyes and sits in silence for a few moments before bowing her head. As her translator explains to the clients gawking in confusion, she is “getting to know the house” and taking time to thank the house for letting her be there.

As I watched, I was able to appreciate the deeper message she was trying to convey.  Come to find out, after doing some research, there are spiritual elements to her methods.

KonMari has roots in Shintoism, which is a Japanese religion that proposes a belief in a sacred power, or kami, that exists in both animate and inanimate things.

“Treasuring what you have; treating the objects you own as not disposable, but valuable, no matter their actual monetary worth; and creating displays so you can value each individual object are all essentially Shinto ways of living,” writes Margaret Dilloway on Huffington Post.

So who is this woman who seems to have found the answers to deep meaningful questions that have plagued millions of people for centuries? Questions like, how do I achieve happiness?

Well, Marie Kondo is a devoted wife and loving mother of two children. She is the author of four books. She is originally from Tokyo, Japan and now lives in Los Angeles. When she was younger, she had an epiphany about tidying, not just throwing stuff out but appreciating what you have and finding a place for the things you love. And ever since, she has dedicated her life to sharing this truth with the world.

In fact, anyone can become a cleaning consultant and make a living helping clients organize their lives by using the KonMari method.

Once you’ve successfully organized your own home and it rises to the level of the KonMari standard, then you get to attend a three-day training seminar. After that, you must complete at least 50 hours of practice sessions with 2 or more clients. Make sure to document the work in written reports and then take an online test. If you pass, pay $500, submit an application, and become certified

Although some may dismissively refer to it as a trend, the KonMari method has inspired millions of people all over the world. It’s more than just cleaning and it’s not just a phase, it’s a lifestyle and it’s commandeering homes all over the world.

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