Tips & Tricks

7 Marie Kondo Tips We Learned from “Tidying Up”

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If you’re the type who has a Pinterest board for every room in their house, shop on opening day for Chip and Joanna Gaines’ newest Target collections, and watch House Hunters religiously, you’re probably already an expert on all things Marie Kondo. The rest of you may have just heard the name Marie Kondo floating around, or watched an episode or two of her Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Either way, it doesn’t take a home expert to know that Marie Kondo has some seriously sage tidying tips.

If you’re in a time crunch, you don’t need to watch all episodes of her show to get the best tidying tips (even though we totally recommend watching them all). These are the must-know Marie Kondo tips from Tidying Up to turn your home from a cluttered mess to a clean castle Marie herself would love.

The Top 7 Marie Kondo Tips

Tip #1: There’s a Correct Order to Tidying Up

The Marie Kondo tidying method encourages you to break down your tidying into five distinct sections, and tackle them in order:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono (e.g. everything else)
  5. Sentimental

Handling them in this order is essential. Starting with clothes, you’ll gather all of that type of item (more on that below), hold it in your hands and see if it sparks joy.

This is a tough skill to hone, as Marie’s clients find out in her show, but the more you do it, the better you get at it. Items like clothes and books tend to have less sentimental value and are easier to part with, making them a great place to start tidying. Sentimental items, which we’ll talk about later, require the most honed joy sparking detection, which is why they’re last. 

Tip #2: Never Skip the Mountain Phase of Tidying

So how do you get the tidying itself done? Part of the solution is in motivating yourself, and part of the solution is in making tidying a task that’s impossible to abandon. That’s why Marie Kondo uses the mountain method: for each category, she recommends you take everything in that category and pile it up in a mountain. For clothes, that means not just your closet, but your drawers, your coat closet, your stored clothes, even that hoodie draped over the kitchen chairs. Take every single piece of clothing in the house and toss it in one pile until you have a clothes mountain. Then, go through each item and see if it sparks joy. Repeat the process for books, paper, and all the subsequent categories.

But before you start determining what sparks joy, Marie encourages clients to take a moment to recognize the sheer volume of your pile. This will force you to recognize just how much stuff you have, and see how much of an impact tidying it up will have on your home.

Tip #3: Think of Your Stuff as More Than Just Stuff

You’ll notice that when Marie Kondo talks about stuff–whether it be old clothes or unused plastic containers–she speaks about it as if it’s sentient. This may be a new concept to you, but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it allows you to better employ Kondo’s methods.

When you’ve found an object isn’t sparking joy and you’re going to dispose of it, Marie coaches that you thank it for its service before you do. Just taking a moment to say the words, “thank you,” to something you’re donating or getting rid of will help you more easily release it, especially when you do get around to mementos and sentimental items.

But beyond thinking of your objects as things with feelings, it helps to picture them as beings that enjoy being used. If you think of that sweater you never wear as just an object, it’s easy not to wear it. When you think of it as something that wants to be used, it becomes more difficult to ignore it. Now, that doesn’t mean wear it even if you don’t want to. It means that if you feel like it’s not living up to its mission, you need to recognize that you’re holding it back from serving someone else. Thank it for its service and donate it to fulfill its purpose elsewhere.

Tip #4: You Can Teach Your Kids to Clean (In a Fun Way)

On the first episode of Tidying up, Marie helps a family with two young children declutter their home. As the family talks about the challenge of cleaning when young children are around, Marie brings up something that would shock any parent watching: her own children love helping her tidy around the house.

As she goes on to explain, it’s easy to teach kids to like decluttering and cleaning. Part of it is in your own attitude: if you complain and get angry every time you have to declutter, your children will mirror that behavior. But if you take a positive attitude and include them in the process, they can learn to enjoy it. Try guiding them in how to fold clothes, making a game out of tidying up their toys, or giving them rewards after they’re done tidying to teach them that tidying itself is an activity that should spark joy.

Tip #5: Folding Beats Hanging

You’re probably familiar with Marie Kondo’s folding technique (if not, check out the video above for a tutorial). Even if you’re a master folder, her method is a game-changer. It’s easy to learn, versatile, and takes up far less space, all while keeping your clothes unwrinkled.

But once you’ve mastered the fold, you may find how you store your clothing changes. Cotton pieces, jeans, and sweaters can almost always be folded, so you no longer need to clutter your closet with them. Suddenly, your closet is half empty and your entire morning routine is different.

This is where quite a few of Marie’s clients get stuck on Tidying Up: now that most stuff fits in their drawers, what do they do with their closets? You’ll likely find that your closet looks much nicer–one might even say that it looks downright pretty–when it’s only half full. Consider keeping it this way as more of a display spot, or use the extra space to store items that have survived the KonMari purge, but aren’t being used every day. Accessories, travel gear, and linens all come to mind.

As for the excess hangers, Marie recommends getting rid of these. They take up space and just invite you to buy more clothes (and unless you want another clothes mountain, you should probably not do that right away).

Tip #6: Leave the Sentimental Stuff for Last

There’s a reason Marie Kondo’s method has sentimental items as the last category. Like mentioned previously, your joy sparking skill will be more honed by the time you get to this. But the reason sentimental items are last goes beyond this: by this time, the rest of your home will be KonMari’d, so you’ll have some space you didn’t have before. That means that you can think about creative ways to store and display your sentimental items that you didn’t have available to you before your decluttering began. With the walls clear of cluttered bulletin boards and art you’ve outgrown, you have plenty of room to display photos or mementos from favorite moments. Shelves that once held books can show awards or gifts from those close to you. You should still aim to remove the clutter in the sentimental category, but by now, you should have a sense of how much room you have to breathe–so you don’t need to toss things you hold dear just to make space.

Tip #7: To Prioritize Tidying Up, Remember That a Clean Home is a Happy One

One thing that Marie emphasizes on Tidying Up and in all her books is that decluttering your home is about more than just organization. Cleaning up your home, as well as keeping it clean, is a lifestyle change. Clutter causes stress and frustration, and just like clearing your mind can help you relax, keeping a clean home can help relieve that stress. While decluttering can be a painful process, seeing your tidied up home at the end, and keeping it that tidy, will help you calm your mind and improve your life.

Ready to implement some of these Marie Kondo tips and start tidying up? We’re here to help. Get your unwanted stuff donated or taken to the dump with Dolly. We’ll connect you to a Helper with a truck who’s ready to take care of your unwanted items, whenever it’s convenient for you. Get decluttering and book a Dolly today.

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