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Tidying up with Marie Kondo: 6 Tips to Implement in 2019

January 11, 2019

It’s January - the time of new beginnings, New Year’s resolutions and crowded gyms. If you haven’t figured out how to improve your life in 2019, worry not...we have an article just for you! Long story short, this is the year when you finally tidy up your apartment and declutter your life!

If you’ve done any research on decluttering, there is a chance you’ve come across the KonMari method. It was first featured in the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Now the same methods are being showcased in Netflix's new show, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." The method suggests to only keep things that “spark joy” to make your life happier and your home neater. To give you a gist of Kondo’s method, we put together 5 helpful tips that you can start implementing today.

1. Follow the right order when tidying up your place.

“Winging it” can be fun and exciting on certain occasions, but not when it comes to cleaning your home. Having a plan is necessary to achieve a neat home where everything has its place. According to Kondo, there is an optimal order to follow when organizing your belongings:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono - other household items; miscellaneous random items cluttering up your flat surfaces and drawers.
  5. Sentimental items - trophies, postcards, letters and those bridesmaid dresses you’ll never wear again.

As you can see, sentimental items are saved for last since they are much harder to part with. For convenience, try creating subcategories within those listed above. This will make organizing and “purging” way easier.

2. Organize by category, not by room.

Most people tend to clean room by room, moving from one location to another. While it might seem convenient, it can be counterproductive. Stationary is a good example of things that tend to get spread out around the house - a pen here, a pencil there. If you organize room by room, as opposed to categories, you won’t see the full picture of your inventory - what you have in abundance and what you actually need. Need help categorizing your household items? Check out our ultra-detailed printable KonMari checklist!

3. Stop stacking.

This is one of the main principles of the KonMari method. According to Marie, putting things in piles is detrimental in many ways. For instance, people tend to forget about items that end up on the bottom of a pile. Plus, when stacking things on top of one another, it’s easy to go on forever without noticing how much stuff you’ve accumulated. It seems pretty obvious that it’s easier to find a book on a shelf than in a pile, but we often forget that the same principle can be applied to other belongings like clothes or stationery.

4. Arrange your clothes vertically and by color.

Think about your closet and that pile of shirts somewhere on a shelf or in your bottom drawer. It’s easy to forget about clothes on the bottom of the stack, especially if the top items are bulkier. Even if you remember them, they are probably wrinkled up under the weight of the clothes on top. To tackle this issue, Marie Kondo recommends dividing clothes by categories, folding them and storing vertically when possible for better visibility. Keep clothes of the same color together arranging them from darkest to lightest, left to right respectively, creating a gradient. Only hang clothes that have to be hanged - the ones made out of soft breezy fabrics, tailored cuts and easily-wrinkled clothing that should not be folded. When hanging these items try to arrange them in a way so they rise towards the right. Longer, heavier items should stay on the left side, shorter and lighter items on the right side creating a sort of a triangle. There are numerous benefits to doing so.You'll get a better understanding of your wardrobe, what you have, what you need, and what you can get rid of. Marie has a series of videos on how to properly fold different items to keep them fresh, wrinkle-free, and vertically storable.

5. Keep all paper in one spot.

The basic principle regarding paper outlined in Marie Kondo’s book is to throw it all away. Well, almost all of it. She recommends only keeping documents that fall into one of three categories: currently used, needed for a limited period of time, and documents that have to be kept forever, e.g. your birth certificate and social security number. The rest have to go. She also points out that all documents that you have to deal with should be stored in one place and not scattered around your house. Papers that have to be kept indefinitely can all go in one file, you can store the rest in separate files in a plastic folder for easier access. And no more stacks!

6. Store bags in another bag.

Totes, handbags, clutches, backpacks - those things take up a lot of a precious space. After years of experimenting, Marie Kondo came up with a simple but genius method of storing bags. It will drastically reduce space required for their storage and make it easier to find a purse you’d like to wear today. Just nest bags of the same type into one another! That way all your clutches will be in one place and easy to find. Make sure to keep all the straps and handles outside in plain view. This method not only saves your space, but also teaches you a great habit of emptying your purse whenever you don’t use it.

Home organization is a science and organizing consultants are there for a reason. However, we strongly believe that if you take time and put some effort into implementing the above-mentioned principles, your home will become a neater place in no time. And according to Marie Kondo, a clean and organized home is the key to a happier life!

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Sania is a content manager and contributing author at Apartment List. Sania previously worked in marketing at Habitat for Humanity and Samsung Electronics. Read More
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