Spark Joy Faster: A Marie Kondo Cheat Sheet

Whether you have heard about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or have seen the trailers for her Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, there is no mistaking that Marie Kondo will have a lasting influence on the way many people view their material possessions. The KonMari Method, Marie Kondo’s custom style of decluttering and organizing, helps you keep items that spark joy and eliminate everything else. If the thought of a certain closet or drawer creates stress, it’s likely you need some Marie Kondo in your life. If you don’t have time for a Netflix-binge, consider this your cheat sheet to KonMari your home.

KonMari your belongings at one time

To successfully KonMari your home, Kondo advises going through the tidying process at one time, by removing every item from your closet, drawers, etc., to determine what can stay and what needs to be eliminated. She also advises to organize by category, not by room. This means assess all clothes you own, including items you may store in another room.

Ask yourself, “does it spark joy?”

A simple but effective question, asking yourself if the item sparks joy can bring clarity to whether or not the item still belongs in your home. It may have served its purpose at one time, but now it’s time to part ways. Place this item into the donation pile.

Focus on what to keep — not what to eliminate

When assessing your items, shift your focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to eliminate. This offers a more edited approach to selecting the items that serve a purpose in your life. Go through every item before moving on to the next category (i.e. tackle all your clothes before moving on to your linen closet). It’s important to not put items back you haven’t assessed; remember, neat doesn’t mean decluttered.

Create a home for everything

Once you have selected the clothing items you are keeping, follow Kondo’s signature style of folding to create more storage in your drawers and to make items easier to find moving forward. This means folding every piece of clothing standing it up vertically. Kondo also recommends decanting products like hand soap and dish soap, to eliminate branded visual excess and to create a more unified, peaceful space.

Tidy solo

Tidying is a personal experience, so do it alone. When others see the items you are eliminating, they may try to convince you to save them, or make you feel guilty about what you are eliminating. It’s only up to you to determine what items bring you joy.

Buy storage containers after tidying

Buying storage containers can be a quick fix to make your home feel instantly organized. However, once these fill up, you will find yourself going through the tidying process all over again. Avoid this by first identifying the items you really need to keep. Then buy storage containers based on the remaining items.

Get rid of gifts

This can be difficult, due to the sentimental nature of giving and receiving presents, but Kondo explains that the true meaning of a gift is to be received. If the gift does not serve you or bring you joy, part ways. Remember, the giver would not want you to keep it if you don’t use it or if it brings you stress.

Written by Deanna Kane
Deanna Kane is an interiors, home decor, and real estate writer. She enjoys taking on her own home renovation and design projects, and staying current on the local real estate market.