The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Have you read this book by Marie Kondo and used her methods? I cleaned out my (tiny) closet and ended up with three bags of clothes to donate. It really was life changing.

Did you have a similar experience using the KonMari method? What things brought you joy that surprised you? Do you have any tips from using the KonMari method to share with folks who want to tidy their pantry or collection of salt and pepper shakers or closet or other part of their house? Thanks for sharing your spring cleaning inspiration and tips!

Ali Slagle


Cara R. April 11, 2015
Yes - really enjoying it! I've really enjoyed tidying up by category instead of by room or little bit at a time. We started with clothing - gathered all of it (even underwear) from every room of the house and put it in the living room. The mountains in front of me were embarrassing - it inspired much more purging. I really think I got rid of 60-70% of my closet and now I only have things I love. It's inspiring to try to live simpler and teach my new son about living with less - as a way of living more.
Nancy April 11, 2015
Ali, are you looking for all or only positive reactions to the Kondo book and her method?
AntoniaJames April 11, 2015
For a variety of viewpoints on this, the Guardian readers as always offer a nice mix of amusing (some hilarious), interesting and generally thoughtful comments here:
Ali S. April 11, 2015
Anything you think would help others with their spring cleaning...
Nancy April 13, 2015
Ali - spring cleaning is good; and yes Marie Kondo & her book are helping people. But/and for another POV see "hey Moms! clutter can be good" march 8, 2015 in NY Post by Naomi Schaefer Riley, who suggests that "cupboards are not a metaphor for your life."

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames April 9, 2015
Wow, that must be some book. There are 84 holds (most I've ever seen) on it at my local public library.

Best tip for de-cluttering or any other organizational or maintenance activity: Treat it like any other project to be managed, and break it down into bite-sized pieces.

I have a most demanding work schedule, but I do get to take breaks now and then. I find that switching gears during those breaks makes me considerably more productive, in so many ways.

On the weekend, or on the rare day off, I plan and organize tasks that can be done in 2, 5 and 15 minutes, by making lists of them on small index cards. Hour-long projects, for the occasional evening when the spirit moves me (that would typically mean some evening when supper wasn't too late and there's a baseball game to listen to on the radio), or over the weekend, go on a separate card.

When a pocket of time becomes available, I simply scan the cards, pick one or more tasks, do them, check them off, and move on with my life. On the weekend, I update the cards. (I keep notes of new tasks of course during the week as they occur to me.)

This is one of a number of ways I pack as much life as possible into every beautiful day - and they (the days) are all beautiful. ;o)
QueenSashy April 9, 2015
I bought white photo boxes on Amazon, and I keep my shoes in them. (With handwritten labels!!!) No more shoe mess and uneven piles of shoe boxes. It looks like a heavenly white tower. Every morning I walk into my closet, look at the white neatness and fell happy all over.
Lindsay-Jean H. April 8, 2015
I love that book! I am already pretty good at tidying and purging (e.g. last year one of my New Year's resolutions was to get rid of at least one thing every week -- and yes, I followed through on it), but the KonMari method helped me take my penchant for organization to a whole new level.

I already folded my daughter's clothes on end (instead of stacked), because it is easier to see what she has, but for some reason I didn't think to apply the same principle to my own closet. Also, I used to ball up my socks, and was skeptical when Kondo claimed that those "potato-like lumps" take up more room (and are harder on your socks), but she was right. Folding my socks into compact rolls saved me room in my sock drawer.

Marie Kondo says: "Things that are cherished shine," and, since I already name things (plants, statues, etc) around the house, it wasn't a stretch for me to follow her advice and start thanking inanimate objects for how they've served me (i.e. my purse for carrying all of my stuff all day). Either way, I figure more gratitude certainly can't hurt anything.
Mei C. April 9, 2015
The sock method is pure brilliance. I put mine into old shoeboxes and they don't fall all over the place!
AntoniaJames April 10, 2015
The sock technique is not original. It's how the companies selling drawer organizers (removable divider compartments) have been illustrating their use for decades, if not longer. And her "signature" method of folding sweaters? I didn't realize there was any other way, except that I was taught to start with the back of the sweater up, not the front. Doing it this way leaves the front wrinkle-free, which of course makes much more sense.

I don't fold an extra time and put my sweaters on their sides because I have extensive open shelving in my walk-in closet, so I can easily see my sweaters when they lie flat. I can understand how that might be helpful in drawers, but frankly, I have never had a problem with things getting lost or forgotten because the piles just aren't that big and there's plenty of room between them. ;o)
Bevi April 8, 2015
I love Kondo and her tips. In my case, though, I can only really clean out much of our "stuff" with the approval of our kids, who need to tell me what goes and what stays when it comes to their possessions. When my daughter last visited, we were able to send a full Chevy truckload of items to Goodwill. Having permission to discard is key.
Shannon April 8, 2015
I also enjoyed the book. The thing that still brings me joy is her instuctions on folding and organizing laundry. I smile now when I fold.
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