Love her or hate her, tidying phenomenon Marie Kondo is quickly becoming a household name, even to skeptics like me. I remember thinking, why do I need to read a book to learn the benefits of cleanliness and organization? Didn’t we already learn the basic principles of cleaning in kindergarten? What could she possibly teach me that I don’t already intuitively know?
That being said, I’ve been putting off making sense of my home and possessions for years. Clearly I could’ve used help but I didn’t want to commit to reading a trending book, following the process of someone who doesn’t know me, and risk losing precious time and wasting efforts. My recent attempts at straightening up left me with reshuffled items and still stuffed closets, though, so, I decided to give the KonMari Method a two-part test run to find out once and for all if her process could help me.
If you’re on the fence about tidying your home the KonMari way or if the thought of reading a book on top of tidying is overwhelming, take just one weekend to do the test run I did before making your decision. No book purchase or commitment necessary.
“Think about what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it.” – Marie Kondo
I’m jumping you to Marie’s second step of her method. In my opinion, this is the most enjoyable step because you get to daydream. It’s designed to help clarify why you want to tidy and identify the kind of life you want to live once you’re finished.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle and express it in any medium you’d like. If you have a domestic partner, I highly recommend including him or her in the exercise.
I’m a horrible visual artist so if you don’t want to draw, try tackling it this way.
- Make a list of the things you must have and not have in your ideal home. Don’t limit yourself to just rooms and items. Consider colors, work/play environments, textures. Have your partner make their own individual list. Here are some of my must-have’s: music area, cozy lounge, functional fitness room (indoor and outdoor), green, blue, gold, grand piano, great showerhead, open spaces, good air circulation, kitchen accessible to outside or light, plush bedroom rug.
- Categorize your list into thematic purposes or values. If you’re working with your partner, compare notes and do this step together. Examples of categories could be music, nature, wellness, accessibility, creativity, bold colors.. My partner and I came up with our four values: creative expression, connection to nature, comfort + bonding, functional movement + health.
- Using your categories as your guide, go through your list and gather images of each line item that most resonate with you. If you have a domestic partner, I assume you often need to agree on things before purchasing items for your shared spaces so this is a great exercise to do together with both your lists. This is where my partner and I saw our vision come alive. We stored our inspirational images in the Quest® like a vision board so we can easily go back to it. If you want to do the same, copy the Quest to start creating your own vision board.
“Confronted with an enormous mound of clothes, you will also be forced to acknowledge how poorly you have been treating your possessions.” – Marie Kondo
This is the last part of your test run and admittedly it requires you to tidy part of your clothes the KonMarie way but the result will be revealing. Tackling the entire category can feel overwhelming so instead, tidy only your tops. Marie has lots of tidying rules and how-to’s but here are the only rules you need for the test run.
- Gather every top you own from your home in one spot. The idea is to objectively see exactly how much you have. You’ll probably have the same incredulous reaction I did after seeing the pile.
- With each item, decide whether to discard or keep it. This is where “spark joy” applies. To determine whether a top sparks you joy, Marie suggests that you hold the item in both your hands first and notice how your body responds to the item. If it gives you dread, anxiety, confusion or a feeling of heaviness, it’s definitely not sparking joy – discard it. For practical items that don’t necessarily “spark joy” but make your life easier because of the high degree of functionality, keep them confidently knowing they have a strong purpose.
- Fold the tops you decide to keep the KonMarie way. After I got the hang of it, I realized it’s actually a very simple method of getting your item of clothing into a narrow, long rectangle and folding it short into thirds so that it’s able to stand on its own. If it’s a thinner fabric or especially long rectangle, fold it short in half first then do the thirds. Unique items like undergarments and bulkier items have slight variations. If you don’t feel like Googling it yourself, watch the how-to-fold videos I’ve gathered for you for each type of item.
- Store each top so that everything is visible and standing upright. Finish storing and assess your final result.
Congrats – you’ve completed your test run of the KonMarie Method and saved time before committing to reading the book! If you entertained the thought of applying the method, you’ll have made your decision about it before the end of weekend based on how far you get on the test run and how you feel about the results.
As for me, after my test run with the joint efforts of my partner, we fully bought into sparking joy. As of this posting, I’ve read her second book (no need to read her first) and am 75% done with tidying our home the KonMari way.
If after your test run you decide to go all in like I did, you can join my Quest below and I’d be more than happy to continue sharing tips and hacks with you. If you’d rather opt out after your test run, I’m glad I saved you time.