How to Spring Clean Like Marie Kondo
How to Spring Clean Like Marie Kondo
If this weather already has you planning outdoor picnics and weekends at the beach, you aren’t alone. Spring is practically here and warm weather, blue skies and longer days are practically beckoning us outdoors. But with springtime, comes spring cleaning, and the idea of going through your house to organize, clean and declutter sounds pretty miserable. But this year I decided I would get ahead of the mess, start a month early, and do it the Marie Kondo way.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo has been making waves since her new Netflix special hit, and fans of her home organization methods have been touting her virtues of cleanliness since her book was first released in 2011. I knew my mother’s traditional way of cleaning the house top to bottom was thorough and would get the job done, but I needed a new way to think about the space around me, so I went to work, with some trash bags, incense and plastic drawer liners in tow.
Do you really need all that stuff? This advice from the Organizing Queen will help you decide what stays and what goes, fast.
Your Home, Your Sanctuary
Kondo always suggests starting off your spring cleaning by thanking your home. It’s provided shelter for your family, it’s a relaxing haven after work, a playground for your children and a place where you and your loved ones have built many happy memories. I thanked my home (albeit slightly awkwardly) and got to work with the first step in her five-part series. Cleaning out your closet.
Goodbye Clothes, Hello Space
Have you ever seen how much clothing you actually own? Per Kondo’s instructions, all clothing from every closet, drawer and cupboard needs to be pulled out and placed onto the bed. All of it. The mile-high pile is intended to show you the amount of excess in your closet—does anyone need 15 hoodies? Really? Then the pile needs to be sorted and folded, but not until you physically touch each and every piece. Decide if it’s something that sparks joy or needs to be discarded or donated. Considering my closet is the only part of my home I periodically clean and organize, it only took me an afternoon to go through everything, but if you haven’t gone digging through your walk-in in a couple of years, be prepared to make a day of it.
Marie Kondo’s advice is simple: Keep what brings you joy and get rid of everything else.
Sort Out Those Coffee Table Books
Next Kondo suggests moving onto books. This part was easy—I love all of my books and if they don’t bring me joy I don’t keep them in the first place. (Why would I want to relive a particularly bad ending?) Take everything out of your shelves and find which books and magazines bring you joy and which are just there to look pretty on your coffee table.
Moving onto her next category, papers, can be difficult, as this can include letters, cards and necessities like bills and financial statements. The most important thing here is organization—set aside the paperwork you need from the more sentimental pieces. Sentimental pieces are dealt with last, but if you know you don’t need it—out it goes.
Declutter Your Living Spaces
For Kondo, komono is all the miscellaneous goods in your home that still need to be organized and cleaned. This can mean kitchen cabinets, bathroom storage, even electronics. The kitchen can be the most difficult to tackle, but again, take everything out and decide what you need, what brings you joy and what can be donated. Love your grandmother’s old teapot even if you only use it on holidays? Yes, keep it! Haven’t made muffins since 2008? You can probably toss the muffin tin. In my house electronics can be the most challenging to tidy up. For sentimental reasons I still have my original PlayStation 1 from when I was a kid—it brings me absolute joy to see it even if I never use it. Old mousepads, unused headphones and wires that connect to nothing? Out they go.
Don’t let nostalgia cloud your judgment – What if yesteryear’s trinkets bring you joy? Find a way to consolidate them.
Go ahead, donate what you don’t need. You and your space will feel infinitely better. ~ Marie Kondo
If It Brings You Joy, Keep It
Finally, Kondo suggests organizing sentimental items or mementos last. By now (hopefully) you’ll have distinguished between what brings joy, what needs to be tossed and what needs to be kept for necessity sake. Keep in mind when you go through these sentimental pieces if you are keeping them purely for the memory they are attached to, or if it’s something you want going forward in your life. You may not need your soccer trophies from high school to remember the fun time you had with friends, but a letter your late grandmother wrote to you on your birthday will always be a treasured item. Spring cleaning isn’t just de-cluttering your home and tossing out a few old sweaters. Find what brings you joy. Surround you and your family with pieces and things that will bring you together, make you happy and give you the space you need.