Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series Tidying Up has finally hit our screens and, like the rest of the world, I’m hooked! I don’t know what I love more, seeing how messy some homes are and feeling better about my own home or knowing that there are people (other than me) who get great satisfaction from organizing their possessions (or watching people do so).
From the sheer pleasure she gets out of cleaning up other people’s messes and helping them organize their lives, to the way she introduces herself to the house before she begins her process, Marie Kondo’s unique method of decluttering makes it seem like an enjoyable, empowering, and somewhat spiritual experience (we’re not sure if talking to your house actually helps, but it’s worth a try, right?).
While there’s a lot Marie Kondo can teach us about tidying, organizing, and storing our stuff, she also shares a very honest insight into process of decluttering — the emotional, the physical, the fun (we’ll get to that), and the not-so fun.
As well as some pretty nifty storage hacks, here are five important things I’ve learned from watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series so far.
1. I’ve been folding clothes and linens all wrong.
Everyone has their own way of folding clothes and linens. I fold things neatly in threes, while my husband tends to fold in twos (if at all), meaning they take up more room on the shelf or in the drawer. There’s technically no right way to fold things but, if you want things to look neat and tidy and make the most of what storage space you have, I suggest you adopt the KonMari method. Not only does it make your drawers and cupboards look like they could be in a catalogue, it make everything so much easier to find!
2. Don’t declutter room by room.
How often have you said or thought to yourself, “Today, I’m going to sort out the kids’ rooms,” or, “Today, I’m going to organize the living room”? Well according to Kondo, we should be doing things differently. Rather than decluttering room by room, Marie suggests categorizing your belongings and tackling them all at once. For example, sort through all your books at once, even if you have a bookcase in every room, the same applies for clothes and paperwork and so forth. This forces you to consider possessions as part of a collection, and helps determine what is worth keeping and what you should throw out.
I’ve tried this and, I have to admit, I think she’s onto something. When you see 100 books lying in front of you on floor — some you never knew you owned let alone have read — you’ll start to feel like a certified hoarder pretty quickly and will have no qualms offloading half of your collection to your local charity.
3. You have to make a bigger mess before you can really clean.
This is the fun part I spoke about earlier. To sort through your belongings successfully, it helps to have them all in front of you which means, you get to let loose and completely trash your room! Kondo gets her clients to pull out the entire contents of their wardrobe, make a massive mountain of clothes on their bed and sort through it one item at a time, keeping the garments that “spark joy” and tossing those that don’t. Throw some cheese, wine, and your girlfriends in the mix, and tell me this doesn’t sound like a fun night in!
4. Don’t force yourself to get rid of things if you really don’t want to.
Most “professional organizers” can be pretty cutthroat when it comes to dishing out advice about getting rid of items from your home, asking questions like: “Do you really need it?” or “When was the last time you used this?” without really acknowledging that not all items in the home are meant to be useful.
Getting rid of sentimental items is often the hardest part of decluttering and can cause people a significant amount of stress or sadness, sometimes turning them off to the process of organizing all together. Kondo takes a more considerate approach, suggesting storing these items thoughtfully in the home rather than stuffing them in a cupboard. So, if you’re someone who likes to hang onto things like birthday cards or your child’s artwork, don’t feel guilty. Keep the things you really treasure and store them thoughtfully in a nice box that can be accessed easily.
5. Practice the art of letting go.
On the contrary, if you feel inspired or find the strength to get rid of things with sentimental value, Kondo suggests acknowledging the joy or memory associated with that item and saying thank you before throwing it away. Some may think it’s a tad weird to say “thank you” to your favorite sweater for keeping you nice and warm for all those winters, but I think it’s kind of sweet.
This article was originally written by Olivia Clarke. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.