Decluttering my home seems like a neverending battle. I find no matter how hard I work on decluttering one room or one space, but there’s still clutter in another space. Then, I was hearing so much about Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I decided to give it a try. After reading the book, you will find Marie Kondo’s uses the konmari method for tidying up which a little different than decluttering advice you have heard in the past. Here’s how you can use the konmari method to get started tidying up with 75 items you can declutter now.
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If you have haven’t read the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, you can grab a copy here. To save time, I decided to listen the the audio version of the book.
The Right Declutter Mindset and Declutter Method
The book begins by focusing on changing your mindset about decluttering. We learn decluttering should not be a process we are constantly doing, but decluttering should be a process we do one time and then we are done.
After we have completed the initial decluttering of our home, then we should live in a way that we don’t add clutter to our lives. Marie Kondo emphasizes it’s a total mindset change. Once we have clutter is removed, we don’t want to add clutter back.
You will also notice this method is different from other decluttering methods in that you don’t work from room to room or space to space, but you work by category to declutter your home. She has 5 main decluttering categories:
For example, rather than going through your bedroom closet, then your master bathroom, then your kitchen. She would suggest that you tidy up all the clothing in your home. Not just your clothing, but your husband’s clothing, your kid’s clothing. All the clothing in one step. Then move to decluttering the next category, books. (Side note, I thought it was interesting that books and clothing were the 2 biggest clutter items in most homes).
As you move through the decluttering process, the first step is always to discard. Anything you don’t want, no longer need, don’t use, is broken, etc… should be discarded first. You don’t want to spend time or energy organizing clutter or trying to up clutter back in its place.
How do you decide what to discard? With the konmari method, you decide by asking yourself, does this item spark joy? If the item doesn’t spark joy, you don’t keep it.
You might be thinking that’s sort of an odd test. But let’s think about it, “does it spark joy?” Look at your closet. How many items do you have that you don’t wear? How many do you not wear because they don’t fit (i.e. they don’t spark joy)? How many items do you not wear because you don’t like the way they look on you (i.e. they don’t spark joy)? If you haven’t noticed, clothes that don’t spark joy don’t get worn. If you aren’t wearing the clothes, doesn’t that make them clutter?
Recommended for you: 30-Day Declutter Challenge
One last recommendation before you start this process, as you work from category to category, rather than just look at what you have and pull out items to discard, Marie Kondo recommends you take every item out and decide item by item to keep or discard. This way you have to make a clear decision on what you are keeping and why.
Let’s get started on decluttering.
Clothes that don’t fit
Clothes you don’t like
Clothes that are ripped, torn, missing buttons, or have broken zippers
Clothes that are faded or have stains
Clothes your kids have outgrown
Clothes your kids won’t/don’t wear
Shoes that hurt your feet/too small
Worn out or broken shoes
Belts you don’t use
Scarves you don’t like/don’t use
Socks with no matches
Socks with holes
Underwear/Undergarments that are worn out/don’t fit
Sleepwear you don’t use
Old/unused purses or tote bags
Jewelry you don’t wear or use
Jackets/Sweaters/Winter clothing you don’t wear
Seasonal clothing you don’t need/don’t wear
Books you didn’t enjoy
Books you won’t read
Books your kids have outgrown/not age appropriate
Old/unnecessary reference books
Old or outdated Atlas’
Out of date books (new/updated versions available)
Used school books/workbooks
Used coloring books
Old receipts (outside of return dates)
Old mail/junk mail (create a practice of sorting and handling mail daily)
Bills that have been paid (save for 3 months if needed)
Previous year calendars/planners
Child art (be sure to keep a few special ones)
Expired insurance data/forms
Old paperwork you no longer need
Old stationery you don’t like/don’t use
Declutter Miscellousnous Items
Unused kitchen appliances
Old or unused plates, cups, coffee cups
Expired food (i.e. expired canned goods)
Used/extra personal products or beauty products you don’t use
Old make-up/expired make-up
All samples you don’t use
Spices you don’t need
Old sports equipment (think golf clubs, balls, baseball bats and gloves)
Old toys and games
Collectible items you don’t need
Baby clothes and blankets when you don’t have a baby
Baby shoes you are saving
Extra or worn out sheets/blankets
Old photo frames
Old or worn out towels and wash clothes
Old pet items
Unused wall art or home decor
Old, outdated or unused holiday decorations
Old, outdated, broken or unused electronics including computers, monitors, printers
Old cell phones and tablets
Extra cords, cables, chargers/broken chargers
Empty boxes from items your ordered or purchased
Declutter Sentimental Items
(Note: I think this is the hardest category of items to declutter, I would not part with items important to me or items passed down through my family, but sometimes we hold on to items in this category we don’t need)
Some photos (blurry photos, damaged photos)
Old Trophies or broken trophies
Journals and Diaries
Items people have hand-made for us
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