A couple of years ago, the Konmari Method— a decluttering process—took the world by storm.
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, a “shelf-help” book detailing the method, became a New York Times Bestseller and, to date, has sold four million copies worldwide. Tokyo-based cleaning consultant Marie Kondo, the woman behind it, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, The Today Show, and was even named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.
The Konmari Method entails holding a tidying marathon, wherein you sort through your items by category. The best sequence, according to Kondo, is to start with clothes, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and mementos.
When hunkering down to sort through a specific category, like clothes, you have to gather every piece of clothing in the house, then take each item in your hands and decide whether it “sparks joy.” Only the items that spark joy should be kept; the rest should be given away or discarded, but only after you give each one a heartfelt thank you for all the use you’ve gotten out of it. The things you do decide to keep should be treated with the love they deserve—after all, they bring joy into your life!
Some have criticized the method, saying useful things like a stapler or a pair of scissors don’t exactly make one’s heart race, but they can’t really be discarded. Kondo addresses this in her second book Spark Joy saying, “Feelings of fascination, excitement, or attraction are not the only indications of joy. A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler, a sense of rightness, or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives— these, too, indicate joy.”
The Konmari Method stresses that figuring out storage only comes after you’ve finished paring down your things. So, once you’ve decided to declutter, don’t rush out and buy storage bins before you even start. You might find that they’re completely unnecessary, given all the newfound space in your home after the purge.
In Spark Joy, Kondo gives more detailed tips for decluttering and organizing specific spaces, among them, the kitchen. Ready to bring some of that Konmari brand of joy into your cooking space? Read on for Kondo’s pointers.