Marie Kondo’s latest book “Spark Joy” has just been released while her previous book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” is still all the rage and is inspiring people all over the world to declutter. Maybe you’ve heard about it and wonder what the fuss is all about. Or maybe you want to get organised and wonder whether you should wait to read it to get started. Well, I’ve read her first book so let me summarise the 10 key principles of the KonMari method for you and offer you my views on it as a professional organiser.
1/ Before you start, visualise your destination.
Agreed! As in any project, it’s critical to define your goals for your organising project. Visualising the outcome is indeed very powerful. It’ll help decision-making during the de-cluttering process and keep you motivated when the going gets tough.
Peter Walsh in his book “It’s All Too Much” says “The key to getting – and staying – organized is to look beyond the stuff and imagine the life you could be living”.
2/ Discard first, organise second
Absolutely! More often than not, organising challenges are due to people having just too much stuff. It’s only once you’ve de-cluttered that you can decide the optimum location and storage system for the amount of stuff you’ve decided to keep.
3/ Discard all at once, intensely and completely
Hum maybe… I do recognise the value of such a drastic approach. It does work for some people, but for others, de-cluttering is a highly emotionally charged time and there is so much they can swallow at one go. What’s important to me is to be a catalyst in my clients’ lives and equip them with the tools, skills, motivation, and confidence to take their organising journey as far as they want it.
4/ Sort by category, not by location
Yes, where possible. That’s something I like to practise too because it forces you to gather all the items you own in one category and although it can be overwhelming, it’s really powerful to make you realise how much you own and take action.
However, this method may not always be practical, especially if you have a large home, a large volume of stuff not easily accessible, or if you don’t have the possibility to work on your project for long periods of time in one go. In these scenarios, I usually recommend a two-step approach: first, a quick-and-dirty de-cluttering by room removing the obvious items easy to part with before attacking the most complex decisions by category.
5/ Sort in the correct order – being clothes, books, documents, miscellaneous and sentimental items
Yes to the correct order provided it’s the correct order for YOU. We all have a different relation to stuff. I had a client who was extremely attached to her books and couldn’t imagine getting rid of any of them although she knew she had to. We had to tackle them towards the end otherwise it would have been a much longer and more tedious process. I recommend my clients walk their way through their stuff from the easiest to the most difficult categories for them instead of going through a standard sequence.
6/ Keep only those things that inspire joy
Oh yes! That’s the one principle that’s in my perspective really ground-breaking in the KonMari method. More traditional approaches focus on letting go of stuff that we don’t love, need, or use, that’s no longer in good or working condition, etc. But I find that focusing on the keeping instead of the letting go makes the whole de-cluttering more positive. I’ve noticed that keeping things that spark joy re-energise people.
7/ Thank the items for having served their purpose
Hum maybe… This may appeal to people who form strong emotional attachments to their stuff as it may help them let go more easily. However, most of my clients don’t relate to the idea.
8/ Designate a place for everything
Definitely! In fact, it’s a common step in all methodologies that have developed over the years by professional organisers such as:
Julie Morgenstern’s SPACE: Sort, Purge, Assign a home, Containerise, Equalise
Sara Pedersen’s PEACE: Process and Sort, Edit the clutter, Assign a Home, Containerise and label, Ensure success
9/ Return things where they belong after you use them
Definitely! This is the only way indeed to maintain the results of your organising efforts.
10/ Never pile things: vertical storage is the key
A definite yes because it makes things more visible and retrieval easier. We’ve been practising this for quite some time with my son’s clothes and it’s been a win-win for both of us. His soccer kits and sportswear drawer below:
The book was actually first published about 5 years ago but it’s only in the last couple of years that there’s been a craze about it. So should you read it? Yes, if you have never read any other organising book – I’ve personally enjoyed it. But most of the principles that have been attributed to her are actually not new. So in my humble opinion, don’t wait, there’s no better time than now to get started! De-cluttering will truly transform your life. And if you have a problem finding the motivation, don’t hesitate to contact me, I’d love to be part of your journey!