The Art of Tidying Up

The Art of Tidying Up

In times of uncertainty, when the world turns turbulent, the seemingly simple act of tidying up can provide a sense of relief and accomplishment.


By creating order amid the clutter, we’re altering our surroundings and laying the framework for an approach to life that we can take anywhere. And when it comes to tidying up, there’s no one better on this planet than the legendary Marie Kondo. 

On the heels of her highly acclaimed book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Kondo developed a deep base of devotees, with millions of fans turning to her approach (known as the KonMari method) to organize both their closets and their lives. The step-by-step process allows us to take an edited approach to our lives and create joy-filled homes in the process. Kondo followed up her initial success with a second book, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up,” and a Netflix original show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

Last year, guest lecturer Caitlin Roberts led a masterclass workshop right here at Ward Village where she broke down the ins-and-outs of KonMari method. She also provided insight into the ways the zen-like approach can extend beyond the four walls of your home. So how does it work, exactly?

In the following six-step process, we’re deconstructing this tried and tested approach to decluttering your closets and sparking a joyful life in the process. 

Commit to Tidying

Taking an edited approach to both your belongings—and your life—is no easy task. But if you stay focused, stick to the method, and follow through on your goals, you’ll surround yourself with more joyous items and a healthier lifestyle.

Envision your Ideal Surroundings

Close your eyes, relax, take a deep breath. Now imagine your home set in your ideal surroundings. Grab a pen and paper and sketch or write down what you conjured up. Having this vision will help you meet your goal and can align all of your efforts using a visual reference.

Toss and Separate

According to Kondo, tossing and separating is the most important step. Begin by sorting all of your items and discarding any obvious clutter. At this stage, it’s okay to have plenty of items left over. It’s not wise to distract yourself with storing what’s left before you’ve finished discarding everything.

Organize and Edit by Category

Typically, most of us clean our house by going room to room, but according to Kondo there’s a better way. For instance, approach your cleaning by category, rather than one room at a time. Gather all of your current clothes from every room into a giant pile. You’ll be able to see the sheer mass of everything you’ve created. This can actually serve as a visual wake up call. 

Follow the Proper Order

Because categorization is key, Kondo has crafted a detailed approach to combing through the clutter. Here’s the breakdown: Clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and finally, sentimental items. According to Kondo, so many of us get hung up on the sentimental components that arise when we begin tidying that the actual process never gets done. By not taking a trip down memory lane every time we open a box, we’re saving time and ensuring that the job gets done. 

Does This Spark Joy?

When it comes to parting ways with some of our belongings, the key is to ask yourself a single fundamental question: does this item spark joy in my life? If it does, it stays. If not, it goes. This mantra serves as a rallying cry for converts of the KonMari Method. In the end, it’s not about removing all things from your life, but it’s about highlighting the pieces that elevate our daily life. 

Click here to download a quick guide on these 6 steps, as well as the proper order for tidying!