Heard of the massively popular and successful series on Netflix called ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’? The UK has, by coincidence, experienced a spell of warm, sunny weather and natural light has filtered into homes everywhere. Yes, the stars are truly in alignment — it is time for an early spring clean
, a sort out and general tidy!
The KonMari Method
This is the method subscribed to by Marie Kondo. It combines the practical with the spiritual and aims to help you tidy your home without losing any of its charm or permanently ridding yourself of possessions you love.
Its basic rules are:
1. You must commit to tidying up — no half-measures, no procrastinating, just get on with it.
2. You should imagine your ideal lifestyle and try to create that within your own space by keeping items that make you happy and not having to step over things that should really be put away.
3. Get rid of things you don’t need or want before you start tidying (note: this does not mean throwing things away; you can give items to charity, sell them, or store them until you do want them).
4. Tidy by category (e.g. tidy your clothes, then your books etc) rather than by room.
5. Tidy things in order (start with your clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous bits and bobs, then sentimental items).
6. To decide what to keep and what to say goodbye to, ask yourself “does it spark joy?”
Ready to tidy?
So, with those rules in mind, are you ready to tackle your home? If so, Marie Kondo has some practical tips on how to do just that.
Tackle one category of belongings at a time. Don’t expect to be done in a day or two
— this is a long-term endeavour; a marathon, not a sprint.
Gather everything you own in one category (e.g. clothes or books) into a giant pile. Wherever they’re currently kept, bring them all together and heap them up. This is to give you a sense of just how much you own — the theory being that if you feel you have plenty of something, you are less inclined to want to hoard it ‘just in case’ you need it.
Sort through the pile and separate out things you want to keep (if they ‘spark joy’ or, heck, even if you know you need at least five pairs of pants) from things that you can let go.
Organise the items you have decided to keep. Sort them according to size; little items should go into baskets or boxes to keep them together and make them easier to find. Put things you use often into places that are easy to reach.
Use clear boxes to store small items
so that you can see them — this is especially useful if you’re storing boxes in your garage, loft or storage unit.
For clothing, use the KonMari folding method
and store them by colour and subcategory in boxes; they’ll be easier to find and less likely to get crumpled.
On the more spiritual side, remember to thank any item you’re getting rid of for its service to ‘say goodbye’ to it properly — this can make it easier to let things go.
What should you do with the stuff that doesn’t have a home?
According to Marie Kondo, everything you own should have a home. There’s that old saying, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’
— this is what Marie Kondo is talking about. Your home, though, is a finite space and there will naturally be a limit for how many books you can physically accommodate (Marie Kondo recommends retaining no more than 30, by the way), or how many dinner sets and cooking utensils you have room for.
The thing is, though, that you might want to re-read those books you don’t have room for. You might not use all those cooking utensils every day, but you may well need them at Christmas or other family occasions…
Well, for sentimental items, Marie Kondo recommends storing these in special boxes that themselves ‘spark joy’. Little treasure chests that you can fill with old cards, toys, children’s clothing or other things that you want to keep for the memories they hold.
For anything else that you don’t want to bin or give to charity, you can store these in your basement, loft, garage or self storage unit. Storage costs a few pounds a week and can be as small as 10 sq ft (about the size of a car boot) or as big as you need. You can access your belongings at any time — so you can swap out your books to freshen up your bookcases, or swap winter/summer clothing as the seasons dictate
— and they’ll be kept clean, dry and safe until you need them.
Marie Kondo does not advocate minimalism. If you decide to follow her methods, don’t feel that you have to turn your house into a barren showhome: keep its character; keep the things you love. Self storage can help you to keep everything organised without getting rid of things you may need or want to keep later on.
Whatever method you follow, having a good tidy and sort out will leave you with less clutter and make it easier to find everything!