2 Key RulesAfter nearly a lifetime of practice, the Tokyo-based Kondo has developed what she calls the KonMari Method. Its essence is deceptively simple, but (I speak from experience) its implementation can be quite difficult, mainly because of our reluctance to part with possessions.
There are two key tenets to Kondo’s method: Keep only what inspires joy in your heart and organize by category, not spaces.
Keep what you love. In terms of “sparking joy,” a phrase Kondo uses often in her book, it can be summed up this way: If you don’t love it, get rid of it. Here’s the hard part: She advises a tough-love approach to parse out whether something makes you happy or if you are just simply hanging on to it.
Sort by type, not room. One of the primary things that makes Kondo’s approach different is her technique of purging by category. For example, instead of cleaning and organizing your master bedroom closet, she suggests tackling all of your clothes at once. Her point is that you likely don’t have garments stored in just one spot — for example, there are coats in the closet, T-shirts in a bureau, perhaps even seasonal clothes stashed in the attic. Experience has taught her that if you tidy by areas or rooms, the tidying never ends. Instead, she advocates performing the task by category and in one fell swoop. As she writes on the first page of her book, “Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely in one go.”
That may be the first bit of advice, but there’s much more, in fact — 216 pages’ worth. Using a translator for an email interview, we asked Kondo to sum up her method.
Photos by Natsuno Ichigo, Richie Bracamonte and Margot Hartford