How to Clean & Declutter a Room Using the KonMari Method

Samurai Matcha
by Samurai Matcha

During the New Year holiday, I went back to my parents' house. My room was cluttered with all kinds of things, so I decided it was time to clear out my room. So, I used the KonMari method, developed by the worldwide tidying expert, Marie Kondo. Keep reading to learn more.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

What is the KonMari method?

In her book, Spark Joy, Marie Kondo recommends three cleaning concepts from the KonMari method, which I used. I’d like to share them with you. These three concepts might help you clean and organize your room, too.

Thinking about your ideal life in your room

1. Think about your ideal life in your room

Imagine your ideal room. What will you use the room for, what will you do in there? Doing this exercise will help you become clear about what you want to keep in the space.

For me, I only use the room once in a while, so keeping the room simple with minimal belongings will help me relax when I am here.

How to tidy using the KonMari method

2. Tidy by category

Start tidying one category of items at a time. That way you can see how much of one category you own. It can be efficient to categorize your belongings in this order:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Komono (small things)
  • Gifts
  • Sentimental items
Does this spark joy?

3. Keep only things that speak to your heart

You’ll only keep things that speak to your heart. Marie Kondo says to pick up one object at a time and ask yourself very quickly if it sparks joy. Pay attention to how your body responds. If the answer is yes, keep the item. It's really simple.

Now, I’d like to move on to the categories I created and the steps I used to get my room under control and organized. 

KonMari clothes categories

a) Clothes

Marie Kondo categorizes clothing into subcategories. Put clothes into piles that represent a category, like the ones listed above. What I mean is don’t think about what you might want to wear in the future, or the memories attached to the clothes. 

When you are sorting clothes in each category, focus on the present. Thinking about the future and the past is one of the biggest reasons why you can't throw away your clothes. 

How to organize clothes using the KonMari method

Pick up a piece of clothing and ask yourself if it sparks joy now. If you are holding an item that you’d wear in another season, ask yourself if it was winter or summer would you wear that piece of clothing? If the answer is yes, keep it.

Even if you pick up an item you liked in the past, it may not spark joy now so take the plunge and get rid of it. You'll be released from the past and you’ll feel so refreshed. I promise.

KonMari book categories

b) Books

Marie Kondo categorizes books into four subcategories. Put books into piles that represent a category, like the ones listed above. 

How to declutter books using the KonMari method

Pick up one book at a time and make a quick judgment. Don’t start reading the book or you’ll become consumed by the contents instead of trusting your intuition. Maybe you think you’ll read it again someday, maybe you haven’t read it at all, or you read the book but don’t remember the contents of the book, which means it probably wasn’t important. Get rid of it.

If you think you need a book in the future, ask yourself why you aren’t using it now? It’s unlikely you’ll use it in the future so get rid of it.

How to organize papers using the KonMari method

c) Papers

Marie Kondo suggests all papers should be discarded so that all you have left are three categories: what you need right now, what you need for a while, and what you need to keep for the long term.

KonMari paper categories

Marie also suggests the above categories for papers. As you go through them, sort them into the categories above.

KonMari komono categories

d) Komono (small things)

The type of komono you have depends on your personality. Put your komono in piles like the categories above suggest.

How to organize komono

For me, I had so many empty boxes! I kept them because I thought I might use them to ship items in when I sell things. But space is limited, and I decided to throw them out so I could use my space more efficiently.

Decluttering using the KonMari method

I have card collections that make me happy when I see them. So, I’ll keep them. 

How to declutter like Marie Kondo

My father collected stamps, but I don’t feel excited when I see them, so I decided to sell them. 

What is KonMari?

Another collection I’m realizing I have is all kinds of coins! I didn’t know what to do with them, so I decided to keep them until I figured out what to do with them. If anyone has any good ideas, let me know!

Decluttering gifts using the KonMari method

e) Gifts

Another problem I have is getting rid of gifts. I thought if I threw away a gift, I’d feel guilty or bad for the person who gave it to me. Marie Kondo says that presents deliver feelings so if you don’t feel a spark of joy when you hold it, you should release it. Thank the gift for the feelings and memories it brought you the moment you received it. By honoring it, you can then let it go.

Decluttering sentimental items using the KonMari method

f) Letters, photos, and other sentimental items

I can’t easily throw letters away, for example. But it’s like a gift. The feeling you got when you received the letter is more important than the actual letter. So, if you don't feel joy holding the letter now, throw it away.

Taking photos of sentimental items

But if you want to keep the letter or cards, take a photo of them to keep as data.


Going through photos

Photos are full of memories so it's hard to throw them away. Hold photos one by one and keep it if it sparks joy.

Deciding what sentimental items to keep

There are many things that make me happy when I look at them, so I kept them. For example, there are so many cards that I received when I was hospitalized with an illness. Just looking at them makes me want to do my best. So, I’ll keep it.

Deep cleaning a room after decluttering

4. Do a deep clean

The last thing I did was remove the carpet from the room! It had been there for 20 years, and it needed a thorough cleaning.

What to do with decluttered items

5. Donate, sell, or put in the garbage

Finally, it was over! Then I had to deal with everything I didn’t keep. If an item didn't spark joy, I divided them into one of three categories, and I had to get started getting them out of the house:

  • Things to sell
  • Things to donate
  • Things for the garbage.
KonMari declutter

KonMari declutter

After all this cleaning and organizing, I feel so light and refreshed. A small samurai came to visit me and I was happy that there was so much room for him to play!

Let me know in the comments if I was able to spark joy in your cleaning efforts!

Join the conversation
4 of 11 comments
  • Debbie Debbie on Sep 27, 2022

    I will definitely try this method. Lost my husband 18 months ago and I have 39 years of accumulated things to deal with. Hopefully this inspires me to take the plunge! Thank you!!

    • Eve Eve on Sep 27, 2022

      Suggestion for you . First I’m so sorry for your loss!! If you have children get them involved if not maybe get some nephews & nice’s . Somethings are easier to do if you have support with you . Good Luck to you !!


  • Shelbie Atwood Shelbie Atwood on Sep 27, 2022

    I'm going to try your method of declutter..I feel like hoarder.since my mother passed a year ago I've been very reclusive and avoiding the part where I go through her belongings to a point of putting it in storage and now in my hotel not wanting to keep her things and nor do I want to rid of them either

    • Eve Eve on Sep 27, 2022

      So sorry for you loss !! Maybe some of other family members would enjoy them.

      I have very few things that belong to my mother & I treasure them .!