If you’re not familiar with her (some would say, “uninitiated”), Marie Kondo is the author of the immensely popular best seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the developer of the KonMari Method (the magical Marie Kondo folding method is truly life changing), and the host of the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. As a cleaning consultant, despite being primarily based in Japan, she has managed to revolutionize how people declutter and organize their lives around the world with the Konmari checklist. Her methodical approach to cleaning and organizing is unparalleled in its deceptive simplicity:
“Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.”
While it may seem overwhelming to re-organize your entire house (heck, your entire life!), we suggest starting with the most important room in the house — your bedroom. Your bedroom is where you escape from day-to-day stressors, wind down, recharge your batteries, and… well, you know! It’s important to set yourself up for success in the bedroom, especially when it can mean the difference between a full night of sleep and a night of tossing and turning. If you’re thinking about re-organizing your bedroom, you ought to start off the strongest way you can — decluttering with the KonMari Method checklist which includes the Marie Kondo folding method. After you find yourself left with the best of the best, it’ll be much easier to reorganize your room for better sleep.
“If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.”
The KonMari Method
The KonMari Method isn’t just about cleaning, it’s about adopting a more organized lifestyle and going through the Konmari checklist. When you wake up in the morning, do you want to dig through the pile of clothes mysteriously growing out of the top of your dresser? Do you enjoy shuffling through shirts in the closet that remind you of when you used to work out regularly? Are you happy when you reach under the bed only to find piles of… stuff? Probably not, huh? That’s what this is about — letting yourself create space for things that you actually want in your bedroom.
Letting you create space in your bedroom only for things that spark joy.
The KonMari Method (that includes the KonMari Method checklist) is deceptively simple (some might say ruthless, but the end result is positive) as its pretense hangs on the concept of looking at each item in your bedroom individually and asking to yourself, “does this spark joy?” The concept flips the script of “should I get rid of this” in a way that celebrates instead of demonizes possession.
YES -> Keep it because it sparks joy
NO -> Get it out of here, it does not spark joy
Deconstructing the KonMari Method
Order is very important to the KonMari Method — if you want a detailed break-down, her book is the obvious best go-to — but the rules are as follows:
- Start by Discarding - The goal is not to get rid of things willy nilly, it’s to keep only things that you care about. There’s a distinct difference in the attitudes of keeping or eschewing. Discard everything that no longer sparks joy, and do not put things away until you have discarded everything in a category that you must.
- Does it Spark Joy? - Marie Kondo says, “we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to give up.” Don’t look at your sock pile and think of what you want to get rid of — even those tattered old Beatles socks with the toe holes that you got for Christmas three years ago have some sentimental value. No, when you instead hold them in your hand and say to yourself, “does this spark joy?” you can decide based on what you want to keep, not discard.
- One Category at a Time - You want to go by category, not place. That doesn’t mean you can’t do your bedroom before the rest of the house so much as it suggests you sort through all of your clothes first (using the Marie Kondo folding method), before moving onto books, then papers, etc (the order is important). To get more granular, the KonMari Method suggests going through all of your shirts before your pants, your pants before your socks, and so on. It’s important is to get all of the categories in the entire house and put it all together in one space — the floor of your bedroom. We know. This seems hard, but it’s worth it.
- Discard Before Storing - With the KonMari Method, it’s very important to fully discard things (according to the KonMari Method checklist) before you move onto storing them. Despite how tempting it is to start putting your now-reduced pile of shirts back in the dresser drawer, you’re not ready for that yet — you need to first see all of your items together in one place before really knowing the right storage solution. Only then can you know how to store your things.
- Success! - Now you’ve got a bedroom that really suits itself to bedroom activities, don’t ya think?
“One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making ability.”
Order of Operations
It’s important to stick to this predetermined order (Konmari checklist) in which you go through each category in your room, from least sentimental to most sentimental (so that you don’t get bogged down by the emotional weight of recycling a family photo in the first hour of KonMari-ing your room). Why not start off strong with your ugliest underwear!
- Clothes - After all the clothes are in a pile on the floor, separate clothing type from shirts to underwear, keeping only those items that truly spark joy. Excess clothes are probably most of your bedroom’s clutter! And there’s a simple Marie Kondo folding technique for folding clothes that Marie Kondo herself can show you RIGHT HERE! It honestly will change your life.
- Books - Do you really need that old text book? Does that copy of Dune with a bookmark somewhere in the third chapter spark joy or remind you that you’ll never actually read the dang thing? Display what you love, discard what you don’t.
- Papers - Sort papers (letters, notes, magazines, insurance policies) by their longevity — into short term, long term, and indefinite. If you can, pare down papers as much as possible and designate space for them in another room (like an office or filing cabinet). Remember, the bedroom is for sleeping, not work!
- Komono - Miscellaneous things like makeup, electronics, extra bedding and pillows, household items… our suggestion here is to take ALL of this out of your bedroom unless it pertains to bedroom uses. You really don’t need extra mystery cables in your closet, do you?
- Sentimental - This is by far the most emotionally taxing as it requires serious consideration of your photos, keepsakes, souvenirs… your physical memories. You can write a note down about something to trigger a nice memory later and toss out those movie ticket stubs and whatnot accumulating in a shoebox under the bed that don’t do much for you.
And there you have it! The KonMari Method. It’s pretty approachable when you look at it as a list of simple steps, right? You’ll have to really dig deep inside yourself for the sentimental bits but at the end of the day you’ll find yourself surrounded by things you love in a room that’s more organized than ever — which means you’ll sleep better than ever, the stress of your mess a thing of the past. With a little introspection and an afternoon of hard work, you can rest comfortably having created space in your bedroom only for things that spark joy. Goodbye clutter, hello comfort.