Spring Cleaning Like Marie Kondo | Making Space for the Future

As we all know, Spring is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation and reorganizing. Part of reorganizing is Spring cleaning. If you’ve started, congrats! If not, I’ve got some tips using the KonMari Method of tidying up: category-by-category, rather than room-by-room.

I learned about this methodology of cleaning when my granddaughter bounded out to my car last weekend and proudly declared she’d just cleaned her room, given her 4th grade clothes away, and organized her books.

It turned out that she, her mother (my daughter), and her little brother had been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix. Marie is a petite, always-smiling, lifestyle organizer from Japan. On Marie’s reality TV show, she comes into people’s homes and helps the family get organized. First thing she does is kneel on the floor, where she introduces herself to the home and blesses the house with a type of prayer; an acknowledgement of gratitude. Then, she begins.

Below are some rules that you can find in her books and on her show:

First, pull everything out of the closet onto the bed. Pick up each item of clothing and, instead of thinking, “Will I ever wear this again,” ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” The articles of clothing that do; keep. Those that don’t; thank them to show gratitude for their service and give away. This really works!  Sparking joy is a real thing!

Next, she moves on to books, which we all have too many of. Again, pull them off the shelf. Shake them and tap them with your finger to wake them up. Yes, that’s right, tap them to wake them. Ask “Will this book be beneficial to my life moving forward?“

Step 3 is paper organizing, and after that comes the kitchen. The attic and garage are harder, because of the sentimentality of items kept there. Save the sentimental mementos for last and think, “Keep it, treasure it, or give it away.” On one of Marie Kondo’s episodes, a widow of nine months packs up her husband’s clothes.

Pearls of Wisdom

Marie, with her cute little bangs, sweater sets, and sweet smile, speaks to us in Japanese with English subtitles. She links pearls of wisdom to fighting clutter. She believes cleaning out the old opens the door to new things, which makes it fun to get up each day. For those trying to make the leap to moving in with that special someone, Marie believes when you take your home seriously, you take your relationship seriously. She also believes by teaching KonMari Methods to your children, you set them up to win at life. And she believes that through sorting and cleaning, you bring value to your possessions.

Marie wants us all to hold an image of our lifestyle in our minds and she avows her mission is to “Spark joy in the world through cleaning.” Mission accomplished, Marie.

For a really, really, really funny take on consumerism in America, watch Jerry Seinfeld’s short stand up bit from Jimmy Fallon’s first week on the Tonight show in 2014: