In her No. 1 New York Times bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo introduced the world to a new philosophy of home organization. Kondo describes the approach as “focused on what to keep, not what to eliminate.”
The now 34-year-old Japanese consultant and author began organizing friends’ homes as a “side-hustle” at age 19, all while studying at university. As demand for her services grew, she honed her approach.
“Tidying is not about throwing out as many things as possible,” Kondo explains. “It’s about focusing on what you want to hold on to in your life based on whether or not it sparks joy.”
Kondo’s way of relating to the objects in your home is about connecting with items one by one — books, pants, beauty products, and boxes of cereal alike — and searching your body for a reaction. Does it make you happy, excited, hopeful? Does it bring back wonderful memories? It’s a keeper. But if it weighs you down, or fails to elicit a positive reaction, it’s taking up precious space.
If you’re surveying your space and deciding you’re forever doomed to have an untidy home, take a deep breath. You’re not alone.
Consider the following four common dilemmas that stand in the way of an organized home and Kondo’s advice for tackling them head-on.
1. Your storage is limited
“Before you consider different types of storage solutions, it’s much more important to be aware of what you’re planning to keep,” says Kondo. “Make sure that what you have inside the home are all things that spark joy for you. Only then is it time to consider how to organize them. I typically use items I already own, like gift boxes or shoes boxes, to compartmentalize my drawers.”
2. Your closet is chaos
“By neatly folding your clothes, you can solve almost every problem related to storage. The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle, and then store these items standing upright in drawers rather than laid flat. When you organize your clothing this way, there is more space in your closet to hang things. Arrange hanging items so that they rise to the right. By category, coats would be on the far left, followed by dresses, pants, skirts, and blouses.”
3. Your fridge is overstocked
“My advice for tidying the kitchen is take the time to tidy all of your food. Discard items that have expired, tidy by food category, and designate a home for each thing. This will give visibility to what you have on hand. That way, you don’t amass food unnecessarily. I recommend assessing your kitchen inventory regularly so you know what’s about to expire — and can plan to replace it.”
4. You want to get the kids involved
“First, you as parents must finish tidying your own belongings. Second, as you tidy, explain to your children what you’re doing so they can learn from you. When you make it fun, you encourage their interest in tidying, too. Assign a designated spot for everything — and make sure that system is clear for your kids as well.”
When Netflix released “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” a new legion of fans eager to declutter their lives and build a joyful space joined the Kondo craze. We’re well into the new year now, but it’s never too late to resolve to tidy your home. Happy tidying.