Part 1 - Six Basic Steps of tidying up

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Join my Reading with Purpose Challenge and learn the art of tidying up the KonMari way.

What you can find in my post

My Obsession

How Marie Kondo inspired my Reading with Purpose Challenge

What is KonMari's Six Basic Rules to Tidying?

Spark Joy

More to Come

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My Obsession

Over the past month, I have immersed myself in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and the book's TV adaptation, Tidying Up. During this time, I couldn't resist the urge to try her method in my life. Thus, proceeded my obsession with tidying not only my clothes but everyone else's clothes in my house. It was fun for me, but maybe not so much for everyone else. 😬 Now, every time I open my dresser drawers, I get excited to see the clothes neatly standing up. This is a huge transformation from the jumbled mess they were before. I can see exactly what I have. It 'Sparks Joy' as Marie Kondo would say, which is one of the main purposes of her method.

How Marie Kondo inspired my Reading with Purpose Challenge

This process has taught me a big lesson about being an active reader. Instead of just passively reading her book and thinking, "What a wonderful idea! I should do that, but I never really get around to it." (Does this sound familiar?) I took what I was reading and applied it to my life. I realized what I was reading could add value to my life. I chose to experiment with the KonMari Method to see if it was worth it, and the experiment paid off.

If this has sparked your interest, I highly recommend you read Marie Kondo's books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy for a more in-depth explanation of The KonMari Method.

You can also check out my review on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and my review on her television series: Tidying Up.

My summaries are not a replacement for the book. All information is credited to the author and publisher of the book. To learn more about Marie Kondo check out her website KonMari

What is KonMari's Six Basic Rules to Tidying?

Before we jump in, let's review Marie Kondo's 6 basic rules of tidying: 1. commit yourself; 2. imagine your ideal lifestyle; 3. finish discarding first; 4. tidying by category (not by location); 5. follow the right order; 6. ask yourself does this spark joy.

1. Commit Yourself

Decide whether this is something you want to do or not. If you go into this half-heartedly, you are more likely to stop before you have seen it through. The KonMari Method can be challenging, and it definitely takes time. Have clear expectations and goals for yourself and truly commit to the undertaking. Then, the journey will be more enjoyable. Plus, you are more likely to make it to your destination. Be confident in yourself. If I can do this, so can you!

2. Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle

Take time to envision what you want your house to look like and the lifestyle you want. Identify why you want to tidy up your clothes and how you want to live once this is done. Sketch out the finished project; write down a description; make a collage of pictures from magazines. Visualization can be very powerful. When you find yourself struggling to see things through to the end refer back to Marie Kondo's book Spark Joy.

My vision is to have a clutter-free house, that is easy to clean, because everything has a place, and everyone in my house knows where that is. I want to have a lifestyle that isn't filled with anxiety over clutter. I would rather focus my energy and time on my family and myself, not on endless hours of cleaning that seem to go nowhere.

3. Finish Discarding First

If you start putting things away before you are finished discarding, you risk derailing yourself from seeing the project through to the end. The trap with putting things away before you are finished is your house begins to look clean, so you stop. In reality, it is only clean on the surface. You are still left with unnecessary items that are merely out of sight. This will lead to rebounding.

As Marie says, "You can only plan where to store your things and what to store them in once you've decided what to keep and what to discard, because only then will you have an accurate grasp on how much actually needs to be stored."

An important step to take during the discarding process is to thank the items you are discarding for the use they provided. Handle each item and thank them for providing you with a job well done. State specifically what that job was. This will help you let go of the past and gain gratitude for what you have in the present and make room for the future.

4. Tidying by Category (Not by Location)

This is an integral part of the KonMari Method. I love this concept because I believe it is what will lead to a truly tidy house and everything has its own place. Only through tidying by category can we actually see what we have of each item and how much. Some of these categories can be overwhelming when you are faced with a huge mound of stuff, but you must get an accurate grasp of what you have. The important thing is to not panic. Just take it one item at a time. Pick up one item and ask, “Does this have meaning in my life? Does this Spark Joy?” If it does, then put it in the keep pile. If it doesn't, then put it in the discard pile. If at any point it gets too overwhelming take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind. What are the KonMari categories? They are clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items (CDs and DVDs, stationary supplies, electrical, skincare products and cosmetics, relaxation goods, medicines, valuables, sewing kits, tools, hobby, collectibles, etc), and sentimental items. See Spark Joy for complete lists

5. Follow the Right Order

Marie Kondo suggests that you tidy in a certain order to avoid getting hung up on something (usually sentimental items like photos) and everything comes to a screeching halt.

The order Marie suggests is:

1. Clothing (with Marie Kondo's method of folding)

2. Books

3. Paperwork

4. Komono (miscellaneous items)

5. Sentimental items

I, also love this concept. Tidying by category and following the right order helps to compartmentalize the process. That way you are less likely to get overwhelmed and give up. It is easier to achieve something if you can break it into steps. If I tried to tackle my entire house right now, I would make it a few days, if I was lucky, before I would lose steam. However, looking at it in incremental steps makes it more achievable. To do this, collect every item within a specific group from throughout the whole house, and put it in one location. Then focus on those items only.

6. Ask Yourself if it Sparks Joy

You should not go into this process with the attitude of what you are going to discard, but rather with what you are going to keep. To achieve a sense of joy in your home, you want to keep those items that 'Spark Joy.' Fill your life and surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Discovering this criterion will be different for each person. For some of you, this process will be easy. For others, it may take more time to discover what brings you joy. That is okay. It is important to go at your own pace. Be patient with yourself. By the time you have finished the KonMari Method, you will know what 'Sparks Joy' means to you, and you will find yourself surrounded by those things you love.

Spark Joy

Marie Kondo goes into more detail about honing your sensitivity to joy in her book, Spark Joy. I will provide a couple of her pointers, but for her full description, I highly recommend you read the book.

One pointer is to take time handling each item. Bring them to your heart and hug them if necessary. When you hold it, does it spark joy? If you are unsure what this means pick three things in your pile that you know bring you joy. You only have three minutes to pick them. Once these items are before you, discover why these particular items bring you joy compared to the other items. When you have discovered this, you have discovered what brings you joy. Another tip is to look for things that give you a thrill when you look at them or touch them.

An important note: adapt the KonMari Method to your lifestyle. You need to make this work for you. Do you best to follow the process as much as possible, but don't be afraid to change a few things to suite what you want out of the process and your ideal lifestyle.

More to Come

In an upcoming post, I will discuss the steps to take in tidying your clothes and share my experience in this process. Look for my free KonMari Tidying Journal to share that will help you on your journey to tidying once and for all.

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