February 16, 2019  

The 4 Key Principles of the KonMari Method


Updated 2/16/19 | Published 5/19/16

Interested in the KonMari method of tidying? Here are the big takeaways from Marie Kondo’s book that I learned as I applied her method to our entire home. If you’re thinking of KonMari-ing your house, make sure you know these 4 principles first!

konmari-book-on-tray

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In case you hadn’t noticed, I can get super nerdy when it comes to organization. I simply love color-coded closets, neatly labeled baskets, tabbed binders, and a well-maintained calendar. An afternoon spent on an organizing project is oh so satisfying to me.

After hearing so much about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo back in 2016, I picked up the book and studied her method of tidying. While I wouldn’t say it was “life-changing”, it did motivate me to declutter our house top to bottom following her approach and I got rid of a ton of clutter! 

With Netflix’s new show,Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, now streaming, there’s a new wave of excitement and interest in the KonMari method. I have been loving all of these everyday conversations about decluttering and organizing! 

Last week, I shared a detailed introduction to the KonMari method: what it is, how to get started, what the order of tidying is, and much more. If you missed that post and aren’t very familiar with KonMari, go check out that post to learn the basics. 

Today, I’m sharing the big lessons I personally took away from Marie Kondo’s book. I think these will help you understand her tidying method and will serve as a summary so you don’t have to read the entire book yourself if you don’t want to.

Related Reading: KonMari Method Basics & A Free KonMari Checklist

Ready to jump into KonMari-ing your home? Be sure to download the free checklist!

Download Your Free KonMari Checklist!

Review the rules, check off your progress, and see which category is next with this free KonMari checklist! Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox. By downloading this guide, you will also receive weekly emails from me filled with organizing tips!

I'll never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

marie-kondo-book-on-tray

Lessons Learned From The KonMari Method

Lesson #1 | Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore

Usually, you think you’ll be most likely to stick with something if you work your way up to it a little at a time. But Marie Kondo makes a strong case for the need to tidy your entire home all at once.

If you tidy everything all at one time, you’ll be able to see how big of a transformation your effort has on your house. And seeing that impressive before and after in such a short amount of time is very motivating and satisfying! 

If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset.
~Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’m not convinced you can tidy once and be set for the rest of your life as Kondo teachers, but I can get on board with dedicating some serious time to tidying so that everything has its place and your house is clutter-free. This will help you maintain order in your home as you go about your daily life.

Lesson #2 | Organize by category rather than by location

I typically organize by rooms, so this concept totally shifts my way of thinking. To follow the KonMari method, you should first gather up all like items into one big pile and then start sorting.

The root of the problem lies in the fact that people often store the same type of item in more than one place.
~Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

So when you are tidying clothes, you will gather up all of the clothes from every closet and drawer in the entire house and sort through them all at one time. This includes your coat closet, seasonal items, costumes, and everyday clothes. 

I like this principle of the KonMari method a lot. It can be very overwhelming but it really does help you get a handle on just how much you own in one particular category. 

Since moving into our new house last year, I’ve really noticed the need for tidying by category. When we moved, items got stored all over the place and weren’t able to be organized in the same way I had them in our last house.

I’m often running around searching for something in two or three different spots. It would make a lot of sense for me to gather all of that category into one spot, discard the excess, and organize it in a more intentional way.

Ready to jump into KonMari-ing your home? Be sure to download the free checklist!

Download Your Free KonMari Checklist!

Review the rules, check off your progress, and see which category is next with this free KonMari checklist! Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox. By downloading this guide, you will also receive weekly emails from me filled with organizing tips!

I'll never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Lesson #3 | Only keep things in your home that spark joy

One of the main premises of Marie Kondo’s book is that everything you own should “spark joy.” We all have an easy time getting rid of things that are broken or worn, but it’s much more difficult when there isn’t an obvious reason to discard something.

When we’re organizing a space, most of us look around and decide what to get rid of. Kondo flips that way of thinking upside down and says you should be considering what to keep not what to get rid of. Carefully choose the items that spark joy for you and keep them while discarding the rest. 

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.
~Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This was definitely a mindset shift for me at first as I imagine it is for you as well. I think most of us would scan our closet looking for specific items to discard rather than carefully selecting the items we really want to keep.

There are items hanging in my closet right now that I never wear and I can see now that it’s because they don’t’ spark joy. But I haven’t discarded them because they are still nice clothes.

closeup of dresser drawer in a nursery

Lesson #4 | Let go of things that have served their purpose

Another lesson learned from the KonMari method of tidying is to let go of things that have served their purpose.

I think a lot of people struggle with getting rid of things that are still in good condition, but Kondo teaches that not everything has to stay in your life until it’s completely broken or threadbare. It’s okay to let go of items that no longer have a purpose in your home.

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
~Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I think everyone can learn from this lesson. A belonging may be in great shape, but that doesn’t mean we must hold onto it forever. It’s okay to discard belongings that are still in good condition if they are no longer serving you.

organized-craft-supplies-on-shelf

 

Where do we go from here?

Now that you’re aware of these main principles of the KonMari method, it’s time to put them into practice! Some of them are things I already did, but there are parts of her approach that are a total mindset shift from the way I normally approach organizing.

Take these lessons to heart and try them out in your own home. Fill in the form below to download your free copy of the Ultimate KonMari Method Checklist which will give you a roadmap to follow as you tidy your home one category at a time.

Ready to jump into KonMari-ing your home? Be sure to download the free checklist!

Download Your Free KonMari Checklist!

Review the rules, check off your progress, and see which category is next with this free KonMari checklist! Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox. By downloading this guide, you will also receive weekly emails from me filled with organizing tips!

I'll never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Looking for more decluttering inspiration? Take a look at these blog posts:

Happy tidying,

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  1. I really enjoyed this post! I haven’t read the book, but I know the rest of the world is talking about it. My biggest problem, which you’ve totally nailed, is that I clean one room and it all seems to just end up somewhere else, so its very disheartening. If I did the whole house (I don’t even know how long that would take!!) that wouldn’t be a problem. Definitely food for thought.

    1. Hey Bee, it’s definitely easy to organize one area or room and then find the rest of the house even more disorganized! I hear ya! The KonMari Method has you organize things by categories of possessions rather than by room, which I think really helps with that exact problem. You should read the book!

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