How to Clean & Declutter a Room Using the KonMari Method
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Komono (small things)
- Sentimental items
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.
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.
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.
Marie Kondo categorizes books into four subcategories. Put books into piles that represent a category, like the ones listed above.
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.
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.
Marie also suggests the above categories for papers. As you go through them, sort them into the categories above.
d) Komono (small things)
The type of komono you have depends on your personality. Put your komono in piles like the categories above suggest.
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.
I have card collections that make me happy when I see them. So, I’ll keep them.
My father collected stamps, but I don’t feel excited when I see them, so I decided to sell them.
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!
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.
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.
But if you want to keep the letter or cards, take a photo of them to keep as data.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 room.im not wanting to keep her things and nor do I want to rid of them either