Organizing Your Home – Thoughts on Purging the KonMari Way

In her New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo changed the definition of tidying up, causing millions of people all over the world to take a hard look at their overflowing closets, cabinets, basements, and such. Not surprisingly, this resulted in thrift stores across the country reporting a notable uptick in donations! Her book and Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo have led to incredible popularity and a cult following, although Marie Kondo’s rules and methods aren’t a universal fix for clutter and have sparked criticism for being too extreme. 

Organizing Your Home for the New Year 

How to get organized and stay organized isn’t an easy feat. Clutter accumulates over time and you may not even notice possessions have gotten out of hand until things reach a breaking point. If organizing is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you might have more luck if you don’t view this project in such extreme terms. As another bestselling organizing guru Barbara Hemphill said, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” Once you make the decision to declutter, doing so in a manner that suits your situation will likely result in more success than following somebody else’s rules. 

Utilizing the KonMari Method: Tips for How to Get Organized At Home 

Anyone can find some words of wisdom in Marie Kondo’s methods for organizing and decluttering, without strictly following every piece of her advice. While joy is the overarching theme of her philosophy about every single object, don’t use the lack thereof as the universal rule for discarding objects. After all, everybody needs a toilet brush and this object doesn’t necessarily bring us joy! 

Five Marie Kondo Tips for Decluttering 

  • Don’t focus on what to discard but what to keep
  • Tidy your entire house all at once and don’t stop until it’s done (six months is a reasonable goal)
  • Make sure you’ve properly committed yourself to decluttering
  • Never send or leave boxes of sentimental items at your parents’ home
  • Decide on a reasonable number of precious items to keep from your children when they were little and frame them rather than store them away 
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How to Declutter Family Heirlooms or Memories Such as Old Photos 

Marie Kondo said, “It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” She advises to say goodbye to precious items that belonged to your dead parents or grandparents if they no longer spark joy. 

Indeed, her philosophy about photos is the same, while she acknowledges they are a tough category that should ideally be saved for last. “If you start sorting photos before you have honed your intuitive sense of what brings you joy, the whole process will spin out of control and come to a halt,” she said in her book. Take each and every photo out of the album or box in which it is stored, then ask if it sparks joy? If the answer is yes, save it. If not, then don’t. She believes that a handful of quality images can represent memorable events and that the rest aren’t critical to our recollection. 

Is the KonMari Method Appropriate for Photos? 

Using the KonMari method to purge photos isn’t as simple as she makes it sound. When it comes to duplicates and blurry shots, her method is great, however, it’s hard to judge the emotional impact a photograph has without viewing it in context with other related images. With that said, decluttering hundreds or thousands of digital images hogging space on smartphones, tablets, and computers is something you can do guilt-free! In fact, if you have prints, negatives, or slides you need to digitize, it’s a great idea to purge them before getting them professionally scanned to save money and avoid digital clutter.