There’s a new cleaning method taking condos and houses by storm, and we want in.
In New York City, it’s called the act of “Kondoeing,” and refers to the cult-like joy of de-cluttering that’s rapidly spreading. Those on the cleaning rampage are taking their underwear and sock drawers — organized to perfection — to the next level.
The clutter-clearing revolution is a result of Mary Kondo, a 30-year-old Japanese organizing expert who’s married with no kids (of course), and began obsessing about organizing as a kid (she was named “class organizer” in grade school, and was eventually banned from cleaning her sibs’ rooms after she kept discarding their unused toys).
The Zen-like quality with which she approaches decluttering, detailed in her best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is infecting readers with excitement about tackling their disastrous piles and messy drawers. Scan these tips before you embark on this year’s ultimate cleanup fest known as spring cleaning. Then, be sure to stock up on trash bags. When this epic purgefest begins, you’re gonna need ’em.
Discard, discard, discard
One of Kondo’s main rules to de-cluttering is to always start with the discard. Discard, discard, discard, before you even think about organizing. And, how, you ask, do you decide what should stay and what should go? Well, you hold each item, from socks to books, in your hands and ask yourself whether it “tokimeku,” or brings you joy. Really. If the answer is no, buh-bye sweet precious shoe horn. But before you part ways with the stuff that has to go, be sure to thank that no-longer-fits mini or worn out pair of tights, aloud, for its dutiful service to you. Before you dig into the book’s meaty tips, you read success stories — spoiler alert — there’s a woman who got rid of all the needless items in her life, including her husband. Discarder’s delight.
Save the most sentimental, slower-downers that break down the decluttering process for absolute last, advises Kondo. Instead, she suggests a tidy order to swear by: Clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous stuff and only then, the sentimental things (you know, the photos, trinkets and gifts that have accumulated over the years).
Papers are the enemy
Get rid of all of it. Or as much of it as you can. Unless you absolutely need it. Also, piles are the devil. No piles allowed in Kondo’s pristine, clean universe. And ban the words “maybe pile” from your life, forever. There is no maybe pile. Because there is no pile. Got that?
Don’t use bins
Bins are bulky and it’s cumbersome to get to their contents once they’re packed away, points out Kondo. Drawers, however, are easy to slide open. And when you employ Kondo’s masterful folding techniques (see next step), you’ll know exactly what you have. Shoeboxes are another excellent organizer, she says. Keep it simple, but use smart strategies. Bins are for sissies. They’re a “superficial” solution to the problem of clutter, says Kondo.
One of the key tricks “Konverts” point to is the revolutionary way she folds clothing. Basically your preference should be folding, not hanging, most clothes. You fold whatever each item into a long rectangular shape, then keep folding smaller and smaller into a roll and stand it up in your drawer. Genius, no? When you open the drawer you see all of the T-shirts or socks within it. (Balling socks, by the way, is absolutely banned.) This T-shirt folding trick alone is a life-changer.
According to Kondo most items of clothing should be folded, except for those pieces of clothing that look “happier” hanging the closet (think dresses and jackets). Group items according to type of clothing (since “organizing by category helps clothes feel more comfortable and secure.”) Then, shift the energy in your closet by placing the heaviest, bulkiest and darkest items on the left and lightening up as you move right, so that the softest and lightest fabrics in the brightest colors are far right.
Sometimes Is Never
Kondo finds one of the items clients have the toughest time parting with are books — oddly enough, especially those unread. To decide which books to keep, she has people unload each and every book in the shelf on the floor. What she finds is that folks typically start stacking a pile of books that haven’t been read yet. Sorry, they gotta go. Kondo knows what the rest of us have been slow to pick up on. Sometimes means never. Thank you for your service, my dears, good luck in your next life.
Do you have any organizational hacks? Tell us in the comments below.