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KonMari Method Checklist and Organization Guide

Tuesday February 25th, 2020
Marie Kondo emphasizes minimalism and decluttering while keeping only the things that bring you joy. If you’re ready to get organized in a truly meaningful way, then the KonMari method is for you.

KonMari Method Checklist for Organization

  • Make a Commitment
  • Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle
  • Eliminate Distractions
  • Discard Stuff Before Tidying
  • Tidy by Category (Not Room)
  • Organize in Order
  • Hold Each Item and Figure Out What “Sparks Joy”
  • Avoid Getting Too Sentimental
  • Tidy in One Day (or Weekend)
  • Follow the Specifics for Keeping Your Clothes Organized
  • Find a Defined Home for Everything
  • Remember That It Gets Easier
Kondo’s method of tidying up and organizing is designed to get you to part ways with meaningless stuff and keep only the things that you love to give you life changing organization as the result. 

The KonMari Checklist embraces Kondo’s six rules for tidying up, decluttering, and organizing using the KonMari Method. Using this simple house cleaning checklist, you’ll learn to declutter your belongings and, in turn, declutter your life by streamlining what’s around you.

Who is Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo is an organizing expert and consultant. She shot to stardom in early 2019 when her Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, first aired. But Kondo originally wrote books about her cleaning and decluttering methods, starting with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is now a series. Kondo has also written a children’s book and is in the process of releasing a book about organizing your professional life.

Kondo began her consulting business when she was just 19 years old, growing it into the multi-million-dollar business it is today. In 2015, she was named on Time’s list of “100 Most Influential People,” and she continues to inspire people all over the world seeking new, doable ways to organize and stay organized. In late 2019, Kondo opened KonMari, her online boutique with minimalistic home decor, organization tools, kitchen items, and more. 

You can follow Marie Kondo and her company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels, read her books and watch her Netflix show to get the full scoop on her cleaning and decluttering methods.

What is the KonMari Method?

The teachings of Marie Kondo focus on finding joy in your belongings while cleaning your space to rid it of belongings that don’t bring you joy. Kondo packages up her teachings into the KonMari Method, which focuses on six primary rules:
  1. Committing yourself long-term to tidying up
  2. Imagining your ideal lifestyle and how tidying fits into that
  3. Discarding items you don’t need or use
  4. Tidying by category rather than by room
  5. Following each step in order
  6. Asking yourself if your belongings spark joy
Kondo stresses the importance of following her tips in order - for example, organizing all the clothing in the home before moving onto book organization and purging - for the most complete house cleaning and decluttering. For this reason, many KonMari followers use a KonMari printable checklist or create their own printable checklist to remind them of each step. You can find a printable template with a quick Google or social media search.

Rather than hide your clutter behind sliding closet doors, for example, Kondo teaches you to purge things you don’t use and find a specific home for everything else. There’s no hiding stuff with the Marie Kondo method of organization. In turn, you’ll find a renewed sense of calm within the walls of your home and in your life.
Marie Kondo teaches that it’s best to tidy up your home using her method in one day rather than spreading out the task over several days. She’s also a stickler about purging books, papers, and sentimental items. Her methods are strict, and her style may not be for everyone. However, Kondo’s biggest fans trust the KonMari Method Checklist to bring peace and simplicity to their lives. 

The KonMari Method Checklist isn’t like other tidying methods that tout organizing your miscellaneous items by room or using room dividers to make your space feel more functional and less cluttered. Marie Kondo’s way of organizing governs the order in which you organize items, how you fold clothes, and how you say “good-bye” to each book, decoration, or sentimental item you don’t need.

KonMari Method Checklist for Organization 

1. Make a Commitment

The first step in the KonMari method of organization is to commit to doing it. Kondo teaches that following a decluttering checklist and purging your spaces won’t get you very far if you’re not committed to making over your home and life long-term.

Tidying up can seem overwhelming when you’re first getting started. The simplest tasks, like decluttering the mantels, to ridding bookshelves of books you no longer read, is enough to trigger panic in you if you’re not sure how to part with what you have.

This is why it’s so crucial to commit. Once you make a promise to yourself to follow through with starting the organizing process and keeping it going forever, it’s a difficult promise to break. Whatever you need to do to make that commitment happen, do it. You might write yourself reminder notes, for example, or create a Pinterest board of inspiring, well-organized spaces you’d love to mirror in your own home.

It might also help you to have someone with whom you’re close to joining in on the task. You can set goals and keep each other accountable for your tasks as you move through the KonMari method.

2. Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle

Next, you’ll visualize what you want your life to look like. This part of the KonMari Method Checklist focuses on bridging the connection between home organization and life organization. Following the Marie Kondo method can help you learn that a decluttered home can have positive effects on your personal life.

Imagine how you want your life to be. You might choose to lie down, close your eyes, and daydream about your perfect life. You can also draw, write, or sing what comes to your mind. Be as specific as possible, though, even going so far as imagining every detail of your ideal day.

Once you have it figured out, hold onto your thoughts. You should keep referring back to the images you have in your mind to keep you motivated on your organizing journey. According to the KonMari Method, it’s this picture of what you want your life to be that will get you closer to your final goals.

Your visualization will also spill into Marie Kondo’s beliefs that your belongings should spark joy. As you imagine your perfect life, be sure to include only visualizations of people, activities, and objects that bring you joy to keep the positivity flowing.

3. Eliminate Distractions

Just like clutter has the potential to impact your thoughts and ability to focus, distractions can impede your ability to focus on the clutter. To declutter your life, you need a distraction-free time and place to get moving.

In some cases, that may mean getting a babysitter for the kids and pets so that you can focus on purging your clothes, photos, and miscellaneous items without noise and interruptions. Doing so may also assist in your ability to remain focused on your vision of an ideal lifestyle as you complete each step in Kondo’s checklist.
It’s best to turn off the TV and keep your phone in another room while you work. If it helps you focus and visualize your perfect lifestyle, you can turn on a playlist of your favorite songs or listen to calming tunes.

4. Discard Stuff Before Tidying

The official KonMari Method Checklist says to “Finish discarding first.” What Kondo means by this throw out things you no longer need before you begin to organize everything. Otherwise, you’ll wind up trying to organize extra items that you should have purged instead.

The KonMari Method teaches organization by category: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items, like home decor, makeup, and kitchen utensils), and sentimental items. It’s also necessary to organize in this order. Your purge should also follow this order to help you move along in the process.

For example, start with each bedroom closet and clothing drawers. Remove anything you haven’t worn in a few months and don’t see yourself needing anytime soon. Then, move onto bookshelves, drawers, and anywhere else you store books you need to get rid of.
Once you’ve shortened the list of items to organize, you’ll find it much easier to begin cleaning and tidying using the Marie Kondo method. 

5. Tidy By Category (Not By Room)

It’s in the nature of most of us to want to organize from room to room. Getting one room finished before moving onto the next can give you the motivation to keep going until your whole house gets a refresher.

However, tidying up by category, not room, is an integral foundation piece of the KonMari Method.  Marie Kondo encourages you to follow the same order as you did when discarding - clothing, books, papers, komono, and sentimental items - when it's time to tidy.
Kondo’s method focuses on the items that typically cause the most significant delays in the organizing process. Books, for example, can hold sentimental value for some people, which can make you delay sorting through your collection. By targeting the items that are commonly the bottleneck of tidying, you can nip them in the bud right from the start. Additionally, the order in which Kondo suggests you organize starts from the easiest to the most difficult items to organize, with clothes being the easiest of the group and sentimental items the most challenging.

It also makes more sense to sort through a category of items spread throughout the home at one time so that you can get a true sense of how much of that item you have and how best to organize it. It can also help you keep similar items together rather than having them scattered in separate areas of the home.

6. Organize in Order

This step falls in line with the previous one of tidying by category instead of each room, but it’s not quite the same. This rule is Kondo’s reminder that it’s necessary to follow the steps of her process to avoid distractions.

For example, you’re probably going to find papers and sentimental items when you’re going through clothing in your closet, but don’t lose focus. If you do find items that don’t go along with what you’re sorting right now, simply place them to the side in a neat pile to circle back to when it’s their turn.
Kondo teaches that you should have an order when sorting each category, too. After you bundle all items from the category you’re working on, you can hold each one, decide if it “sparks joy,” and if not, discard, donate, or gift it. After you do that with all items, you can move onto organizing.

7. Hold Each Item and Figure Out What “Sparks Joy”

Think back to the ideal lifestyle you envisioned at the start of this process. What about that lifestyle brings you joy? This is exactly what Marie Kondo wants you to think about as you go through your stuff piece by piece.
Kondo’s key phrase, “Does it spark joy?” is crucial in deciding what to keep as you declutter. As you hold each item in your hands, ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Kondo recommends thanking the items that don’t spark joy for the role they’ve played in your life thus far before discarding or donating them. Doing so can help you let go of them and move on, especially if you become attached to items easily. 

As you ask yourself if your items spark joy, be sure to think about your ideal lifestyle vision. Will the item you’re holding contribute to it in any way? If you don’t foresee anything life changing coming from a particular piece of clothing, a book, or komono, it can be easier for you to send them on their way.

8: Avoid Getting Too Sentimental

Sentimental items are, undoubtedly, the most difficult to get rid of, which is why Marie Kondo lists them last in her order of categories to declutter. Although it can feel almost impossible to do, it’s necessary to avoid getting too sentimental when you’re sorting these items.

Instead of focusing on what you’re getting rid of, focus on what you’re keeping and why. Just like you would any other item, you should hold each sentimental item and ask yourself if it sparks joy. You can even bring it to your heart, hug it, and spend some time with it to get the clarity you need. If you’re sure that your item brings joy to your life and it has a place in your ideal future, then it’s perfectly okay to keep.

Remember that you will need to find a place within your home for any sentimental items you keep and that knick-knacks must be dusted regularly.This can help you remember that you are aiming to make your life and home as streamlined, and simple as possible.

9: Tidy in One Day (or Weekend)

According to Marie Kondo, it’s best to get all your tidying done in as short a timeframe as possible. You might be used to taking a weekend or a full week to finish discarding items and tidying them, but for this method, your goal should be to finish in one day. 

This will, understandably, seem like a lot to most people (it is!). But there’s also an important reason behind the ideology: If you tidy everything in one day, your home won’t be cluttered again before you finish. Tidying by just one room a day leaves you open to seemingly never-ending clutter that gathers all over your home.
If you absolutely can’t get it all done in one day, that’s okay. Kondo says that spending the weekend tidying is okay if you need to, but try to get done as much as you can in as short a time period as possible. In other words, stay focused on the task at hand and keep reminding yourself of your goals so that you don’t lose your mojo.

10: Follow the Specifics for Keeping Your Clothes Organized

The KonMari Method lays out specifics for organizing your clothes, which you can find in illustrations of Kondo’s book, Spark Joy. You may want to make a personal KonMari clothes checklist to help you remember the steps. 

The Marie Kondo folding method keeps your clothes from taking up too much space and makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. Here are a few top tips that Kondo suggests for folding clothing:
  • Clothes should stand upright on an edge rather than horizontal and flat in drawers. This reduces the amount of space they take up and makes it easier for you to see everything.
  • Lay clothes flat on a hard, flat surface before you attempt to fold them.
  • Use several folds for each item to prevent wrinkling in storage.
  • Store small items like socks and underwear in small bins inside a drawer or use drawer dividers to define a space for them and keep them contained.

11: Find a Defined Home for Everything

If there’s one thing Marie Kondo is against when it comes to organizing, it’s fancy, expensive storage units. Instead, Kondo prefers simplicity - it’s the centerpiece of her organization method, after all.

Your items need properly defined storage areas. However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on storage bins and units. Kondo prefers focusing on defined spaces in pantries, cupboards, drawers, and closets, which you can create with small shelving units or drawer inserts.

Cloth storage boxes can come in handy for storing utensils, dishcloths, clothing, and other items in drawers and closets. Plastic or metal shelf inserts and baskets can help you customize your pantry and kitchen cabinets to create a home for spices, fruit, and bread. These storage options are ones you can find easily and inexpensively in almost any store that sells home items. 

To get a big step closer to your ideal KonMari kitchen and home, remember simplicity.

12: Remember That It Gets Easier

The very first time you use the Marie Kondo folding method or follow her tips to declutter your home, you’re going to feel challenged. You’re going to have more items to sift through, which takes time.

But the more times you follow the method, the easier it will become. One reason for this is that, if you dedicate yourself to keeping your home organized, you won’t have as much maintenance because everything will have its place.

You’ll also become more familiar with the KonMari Method and each step in the checklist, so you’ll make it through with ease. If you’re dreading the thought of following these steps every time you organize, just remember that it will get easier and less frequent. Plus, everything you’re doing now, and in the future, to stay organized gets you that much closer to your dream life.

Sparking Joy With the Marie Kondo Method

If other methods of organizing have left you feeling overwhelmed and unaccomplished, then the KonMari Method Checklist may be just what you need to drive change. Marie Kondo designed her tips to be encouraging, uplifting, and motivating. She also backs her steps with a clear purpose that can help you declutter your life by working toward an end goal.

The KonMari method may seem strict and unyielding to you. In some ways, it is. However, those who follow Kondo’s way of organizing believe that it has a significant impact on not just their homes, but also their personal lives. 

The Marie Kondo method of decluttering and organizing is an effective way to help you connect more to items that are meaningful to you while allowing yourself to escape from the ones that aren’t. In doing so, you’ll become more mindful of what you keep around you and free your life from clutter.
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