Housekeeping for Happiness — The KonMari Way

You might have heard about the bestselling book by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the organizing challenge inspired by the book which is then aptly named the KonMari Organizing Challenge. So what is the challenge about? Basically individuals who think that they need to get their lives together follow the recommendations made by Marie Kondo in her book to organize their homes according to whether or not the items spark joy. In other words, consider dumping items in your home that doesn’t make you happy. As one writer for GQ wrote:

“The secret to the KonMari Method is this: You are not deciding what to get rid of, you are only deciding what to keep. This is helpful, because you don’t have to look at a beloved item and think, “Does this belong in the trash?” Instead, you only need to hold each individual item in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”” 

We haven’t tried it ourselves, but feeling inspired by Marie Kondo’s ideas, yet feeling skeptical about the utility of the project, we did a quick search over the net and found some motivation in the pictures that people across the globe have posted in lieu to the challenge. As per recommended by Marie Kondo, one should organize items according to categories in this sequence – clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally, sentimental items – and that is how we would organize this post as well—KonMari style.

  1. Clothes

    What we have been most amused about is Marie Kondo’s insistence on underwear drawers. But we also see from many instances on the net that it is important to sort your delicates out, and decide which ones spark joy. Knowing what you should keep and what you should not is really the key to letting one feel beautiful inside and out.

    Taking all your clothes out of the closet and putting them in a pile before deciding what you would keep is the KonMari way of organizing your closet.

    • Get rid of what you wouldn’t wear anymore, and which doesn’t make you happy
    • Arrange your clothes from heaviest items (longest, darkest in colour, or thickest material) to the lightest
    • Fold your delicates and other foldable clothes the KonMari way (Youtube it)

    Pictures from: Abby Lawson & Caffeinated Talks

  2. Books

    If you love your books as much as we do ours, this part will be painful for you. This particular KonMari challenger had taken the advice of Marie Kondo to give away books that she wouldn't read anymore, then had colour-coordinated the remaining books. Ouch.

    Picture from: Elana Lyn

    The thing is, as much as we are skeptical about giving our beloved paperbacks away, KonMari challengers have mostly reflected that the process is a good cleansing experience. Intentionally setting aside these books and thinking about whether you really need them is a good exercise that will probably make you think twice about buying your next book. Maybe going to the library is a better idea after this cleanse.

    Picture from: Abby Lawson

  3. Papers

    Step 1: Dig out papers from everywhere (because Marie Kondo says to organize by categories, not by location)
    Step 2: Decide whether it sparks joy
    Step 3: Throw out what doesn’t 

    Here are some tips KonMari tips for organizing papers, if it doesn’t fit into any of these 3 categories, throw it out—

    • Currently in use
    • Frequently used
    • Infrequently used but must be kept indefinitely (e.g. insurance papers, etc.)

    Picture from: Kelly Gartner Style

    It’s also a good idea to get dividers and organizing boxes for your papers so that you can keep everything in one place, which is also what Marie Kondo recommends!

    Picture from: The Turqoise Home

  4. Miscelleneous

    This section has a broad base to cover, from skincare to kitchen items, to what comes with your hobbies like paintbrushes and photo rolls. That is why it’s recommended that you list down the different groups of things. According to challengers, the tip is to always ask if you are keeping things because you love them, or “just because.”

    After the “purge”, skincare products and vanity items can be easily placed into organizing boxes. Choose only what is needed, and not what you think you will eventually need. This will be really difficult for the ones who love their extensive make-up collection.

    Picture from: Kelly Gartner Style

  5. Mementos

    This is typically the part that is the toughest because nobody likes the idea of throwing our memories out. As The Zen Leaf said, it is the “last culling”.

    One common thing that we found with this last culling of the challenge is that for the most part, challengers can just say “thank you” to their clothes, books and papers and then put them in the recycling bin. However, it is not so easy with sentimental items. Marie Kondo encourages one to talk to their sentimental items, and properly say goodbye if you know that you would not need it any longer. Also, focus not on what you throw away, but on what you keep, that mentality will really help to deal with the last culling. 

    Picture from: Kondoed


    At the end of all these, are we convinced about the KonMari challenge? For sure, every article that we’ve read so far have positive results and challengers have been ever so thankful to have found the book and taken on the KonMari challenge. 

    However, we’d like to bring up the point that it is not a universal problem-solver. Although it generally brought joy to people, it is undeniable that every challenger had different experiences and had faced varying difficulties in the process. Some challengers admitted to cheating and not following the KonMari method to the tee, and we feel that that’s okay! As long as you think it has helped you, nobody else can say otherwise. Maybe we should attempt at KonMari challenge too.

    Written by Ange Chua
    Edited by Cynthea Lam

    Ange Chua is an aspiring bird-watcher trying to fix her black thumbs. When she is not writing, you'd find her drinking tea out of teacups or reading in bed with her dog. She thinks her spirit animal is an alpaca.