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7 Marie Kondo-Inspired Makeovers That'll Make You Want to Declutter...Right Now

These transformation photos spark joy in all of us.

January 10, 2019
Photo by Denise Crew/Netflix

I never thought that I could part with the bulk of my material possessions (let alone want to), including the ones that I never use but probably definitely might need one day. I love my stuff, I thought, even the bright orange Nike sneakers and '80s-era sequined top I had neatly stored under bed (I wore both once a year, if that). I thought I could never ever part with these things—until I binge-watched three episodes of Marie Kondo's new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in a row the other night.

If Marie Kondo's name sounds familiar, it's because the book (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a must-read in my opinion) upon which the show is based took over the world when it was first published a few years ago. Her manifesto, which utilizes what she calls the KonMari Method is simple yet brilliant: Only keep items in your home that spark joy, discard the items that don't (you must thank them before you get rid of them), and organize everything in a way that makes items easy to find.

Now, with the release of the new series, Kondo mania has swept across the States yet again, and it's galvanizing everyone who's seen it to clear their lives of clutter, get folding, and share the results on Instagram (of course).

Here are seven Marie Kondo transformations inspired by her Netflix series that spark joy in us, and make us want to clear out everything (and we mean everything, that's how the method works) from our own closets, pantries, and bathroom cabinets, ASAP.

A Lesson in Folding, the Kondo Way

It may sound strange if you haven't seen the series yet, but watching Kondo fold clothes—a task I'd normally despise—is one of the most soothing parts of every episode. (For a quick primer on her folding method, check out this video tutorial here.) According to Kondo, each piece of clothing should be shown special care and appreciation when you fold it, which somehow transforms what was once an annoying chore into a calming exercise. The photo above is a great example of the more practical side to her approach: Every piece of clothing should be able to stand upright in the drawer or box (instead of stacked in a flat pile) so you can easily see each item.

A Transformation You Can See & Feel

In every episode, the end is not so much a dramatic reveal (although some of them are pretty drastic) as it is a reflection on how the lack of clutter has transformed their lives, from their relationships with other people to their relationships with material possessions. The most common emotion observed, post-Kondo method: calm. Even in simple before-and-after photos, like the one above, you can get a sense of the chaos brought on by the clutter, and that calming feeling in the final result.

A Perfectly Kondo-ed Pantry

The fourth step in Kondo's tidying up method is komono, or miscellaneous items, which includes the bathroom, garage, and the kitchen. For many F52ers—myself, included!—the kitchen is where we spend a lot of our time, and probably where we accumulate a lot of extra stuff, from niche kitchen gadgets to dozens of spices. For me, the pantry is where you'll find a lot of that excess, and until watching the show, I've felt too daunted by the clutter to tackle it. When I do, I'm going to take a cue from the photo above and utilize clear storage containers, plenty of boxes, and that nifty tiered rack for stacking cans and spices.

A Box Trick I'll Be Trying at Home

While drawers are a big part of Kondo's folding method, you shouldn't worry if you don't have any in your home. Her simple solution: Use boxes or clear storage containers (The Container Store and Amazon are two great places to look) without the lids as makeshift drawers. Whether you're storing them on shelves, like in the photo above, or even under the bed, it's the easiest way to keep your neatly folded clothes easy to pick out when planning an outfit.

A Very Calming Laundry Cupboard

Basically anything that isn't clothes (step one), books (step two), paper (step three), or sentimental (step five), falls under the step-four komono category—yes, even the laundry and cleaning areas. Here, Kondo's signature baskets and boxes come especially in handy, as evidenced in the photo above. They make for easy access to supplies, and prevent anything from getting lost in the back of the cabinet (which will make you forget you have something, often leading to unnecessary purchases).

A Color-Coordinated Dream

If you're already a seasoned pro at Marie Kondo's folding method, why not take things to the next level? There are a few ways you might want to do this: You could color coordinate everything (down to your shoes) by shade, like in the photo above; separate it by type of clothing, like activewear, work pieces, or more formal items; or if you live in a place with changing seasons, you might want to separate your fall and winter favorites from you warm weather staples.

A Kid's Drawer More Organized Than My Own

One thing Kondo stresses throughout the show, especially to families with children, is to get the kids involved from a young age, like she's done with her own two daughters (watching them carefully fold their own clothes is perhaps the cutest moment in the entire series). The perfectly Kondo-ed baby's room in the photo above has us thinking the little tot will be happily folding before he or she can even walk.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“You're right, it's not Japan. You're right, I, too, want the things I want for whatever my reasons are and don't want to feel bad about it. It is also true that some, if not most (not all) will agree that they have more things that DOESN'T give them joy, that overwhelms them, and they don't know how to deal with it, and those are the people, those are the things this 'movement' is about. Keep your stuff and be happy!”
— TerryKes

Has Marie Kondo's new Netflix show inspired you to tidy up? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.


Shaeri D. November 30, 2019
There is actually so much space there to keep all the boxes! :D I live in 2 bedder openkitchen apartment! I hardly have that space and honestly wicker boxes seem expensve to me (at least here in Sydney)! ok plastic boxes will do just fine. Also, she does ask to give away/donate whatever one isnt using or sparking joy! But isnt that creating more trash for the world? (which we anyways do). I recently saw a vid how clothes make a large amount of trash. Even after donation. Because not all donations are used and they go to other countries to get burnt off (u can question the authenticity of the Vid though). Instead of de cluttering by throwing away things, maybe not buy more, maintain what u have well, and remember the money spent on buying those things? We do buy more than we need. I dont remember my parents buying as many things growing up!
JoAnne L. March 10, 2019
I chuckled while watching her fold clothes. “Take the time to express peace and gratitude to each piece of clothing while stroking it”. When I had four active children and a husband at home, the days that I managed to fold all of the laundry were cause for a small celebratory dance! Two seconds.
Mel January 28, 2019
Good time to go to thrifts stores! No sock folding for me!
Michaela January 23, 2019
I would love too fold and store my clothes as Marie Kondo does but I have very deep dresser drawers and have not been able to figure out how to adapt them. I do not want to replace the dresser. Has anyone else conquered this dilemma?
Terry M. January 21, 2019
In all the pictures, the baskets all fit exactly together on one shelf. Mine never do!
M January 21, 2019
Right?! That's the problem with a lot of organizational tips/encouragement: boxes/baskets are the perfect size, cupboards are the right depth, drawers are the right height, pantry staples fit perfectly in containers, and there's always enough room post-purge.

Lisa January 21, 2019
I have had to buy clear boxes for the garage using existing shelving and bought shelving and I measured ahead of time and bought he right size at the container store. They have SO many sizes just for your project and it makes a big difference if you can utilize the space properly. :)
Tracey M. January 23, 2019
That's what I like about the show--it doesn't exactly look perfect when the people are finished, they use mis-matched boxes, sometimes their closets are oddly shaped, and it's okay.
Kitchenista January 18, 2019
In Japan, the need for organization comes mostly from lack of space. In America, much of it has to do with over consumption. We buy stuff we don’t need.
Lisa K. January 17, 2019
Responding to Kristen's question about chili burn.... I just took a cooking class in Vietnam and the chef cleverly suggested lightly coating your hands in oil before touching the peppers. That way the pepper juice washed right off when you are done! I thought this was genius and a great alternative to gloves!!!!
Dm January 17, 2019
Believe it or not my Dad taught my sister and me folding. It was a time to talk and a time to learn detail and precision. If you didn’t fold so everything lined up, you had to refold. It wasn’t a shameful thing it was a challenge and fun. So get a partner or include the kids. We had lots of laughs and a basket full of neatly folded clothes which was a successful task done well.
Anna P. January 17, 2019
I recently Kondo-Ed my wardrobes, releasing 5 bags of excess clothing. Seems everyone else is doing the same, as local charity shops have put out a call to stop donating due to being swamped with New Year Kondo donations.
Darilyn S. January 17, 2019
Her folding method has changed my life
Erin A. January 18, 2019
[email protected] January 17, 2019
Please. Stop making people feel badly about owning things, even if they only use them infrequently. Maybe since they have money in the bank that they don't use, throw that away too. This is not Japan.
TerryKes January 17, 2019
You're right, it's not Japan. You're right, I, too, want the things I want for whatever my reasons are and don't want to feel bad about it. It is also true that some, if not most (not all) will agree that they have more things that DOESN'T give them joy, that overwhelms them, and they don't know how to deal with it, and those are the people, those are the things this 'movement' is about. Keep your stuff and be happy!
Anne H. January 14, 2019
I love order and agree it leads to calm but would like to think that all of these posessions that are being discarded are being up cycled, recycled or responsibly disposed of and wonder if people's tendency is to collect clutter if having disposed of everything they are not going to go and start a new collection. Is this not just putting there clutter somewhere else?
Erin A. January 14, 2019
I completely agree! I started Kondo-ing my apartment this weekend and already have five or six suitcases worth of stuff that I'll be donating to a non-profit organization in NYC called Housing Works.
Claudia T. January 15, 2019
I think about that too- I know lots of people who have "purged" all their stuff only to refill their houses and closets and clutter within a year. Every time I move I get rid of a lot, and yet when we move again, I feel like I have so much! The KonMari method does say (in the books, I think, which are more detailed) you'll be able to do it once and not go back. I think it's supposed to breed a deliberate mindfulness of your belongings and your actions. I think that's why you're supposed to "thank" the things you decide to let go of, to acknowledge it. When things seem less "disposable" you'll put more thought into your future purchases.
Darling T. January 18, 2019
I’m taking my clothing and my children’s clothing to a shelter. I think I will make this my yearly practice. It’s taking time to go through everything but I already feel so great about it.
Katelong01 January 20, 2019
Good point, Anne. It makes me realize that a piece of our tendency to retain stuff over time is not wanting to create waste. (That’s an illusion, of course, since if I don’t use something it is still ultimately detritus, whether it’s in my closet or a landfill.
witloof January 20, 2019
I Kondo'd my apartment about 4 years ago and brought it all to HousingWorks, which is where I got most of it in the first place!
Gabrielle March 19, 2019
You can always use the rule of each time you bring in something new you need to let go of something else. It keeps you mindful of only acquiring what you truly need and avoiding mindless shopping.
M January 11, 2019
Way before Marie Kondo, there was the Berenstain Bears' Messy Room.
TerryKes January 17, 2019
We had that book! Probably still do . . . :)
karen January 17, 2019
Time to KonMari that thing! ;)
Susan M. January 11, 2019
A word of advice: don't watch Tidying Up just before bedtime. I made that mistake and then spent hours pulling apart my closet. She's so inspiring.
Erin A. January 11, 2019
Don't I know it! I had to stop myself from clearing out my closet the first night I watched it.
Claudia T. January 11, 2019
I always folded my clothes this way, at least since high school! It really helps getting dressed in low light (like early morning, or if you share a room). I think I liked the way it looked in stores. Every time I've gotten a new dresser or had some different way of storing clothes and things, I've found that my things have to be folded -slightly- differently (like my drawers in my latest kitchen are very shallow, so my kitchen towels have to be folded in quarters and not thirds) but your hands get used to the new folds pretty quickly.
All my underwear is just stacked, though. I bought multiples of the exact some underwear, so I don't need to see them all at once. Haha!
Erin A. January 11, 2019
I'm so excited to try her folding method this weekend!!
Hana A. January 10, 2019
Color me inspired, love me some KonMari! Can't wait to see what you do in your own apartment, Erin!
Erin A. January 10, 2019
Stay tuned! It's going to be interesting...