If you haven’t watched the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix or read the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, we highly recommend that you do so. Author and lifestyle coach Marie Kondo is an expert at taking homes with seemingly insurmountable messes and transforming them into a neat and minimalistic space.
While there are some steps in her lauded KonMari method that might not be realistic for someone with a hectic day-to-day routine, Marie also offers a number of super simple tips that anyone can use to make their apartment or house less cluttered and more enjoyable.
Here are three of those easy steps that we’ve actually tried ourselves.
1. Discard first and then organize.
“Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to keep things,” Kondo writes in her bestseller. “Of the two, discarding must come first.”
First things first, the purge. This step is one of the most life-changing, but also the most difficult. Getting rid of stuff you’ve had for long periods of time can be hard, especially when it comes to clothing, but you have to be tough with yourself. If you haven’t worn that tube top since the early 2000s, you’re probably not going to be wearing it again anytime soon. This step must always come prior to organizing because it’s much easier to do so when you have fewer belongings to sort and why spend time organizing something you’ll ultimately get rid of? Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself, you’ll just end up getting burnt out and give up.
2. Sort your belongings by category, not by location in your home.
Kondo says, “the root of the problem lies in the fact that people often store the same type of item in more than one place.”
When you start the process of tidying up, it might seem easier/more logical to section the process off by room. However, Kondo suggests focusing on organizing your belongings by category, not location. The reason being, that we often don’t realize how many multiples of things we have and end up storing the same things in more than one place. For example, say you start organizing books in your bedroom before tackling the bookcase in the living room where the books are intended to stay. Wouldn’t it make more sense to organize the bookshelf, as well as discard/donate books you don’t want, and then go throughout your house and collect books from places they aren’t meant to be so that you can make more space in those rooms and fill up your bookshelf?
3. Only keep belongings that spark joy for you.
Lastly, and most importantly, only keep the belongings that spark joy for you. Kondo says to “take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
This might seem like a silly practice at first, I mean let’s be real none of my bras spark joy for me, but I should probably still keep them. That being said, don’t kick it ’til you try it. If you can’t seem to find the “joy” in the sense that Kondo practices, maybe try holding each object and weighing its usefulness as well as how often you see it. Is this parka useful when I live in Texas? Probably not. When was the last time I saw it? A ski trip 10 years ago. K, time to donate you.
We know that starting the process of tidying up can be intimidating and overwhelming, but take it slow and don’t be afraid to let things go.
Trust us, you’ll feel so much better.