The New Year’s Day release of a Netflix show based on “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has sparked a focus on clearing out clutter. While her organizing strategy has remained popular ever since publication of the book almost five years ago, there’s evidence new interest is growing wildly. Marie Kondo’s first book is sitting in the top five on Amazon’s bestseller list as of Jan. 19 with more than 8.5 million copies sold in over 40 languages. Her Instagram followers have grown from 710,000 on Dec. 31 to 1.2 million.
Interest is getting control of clutter is spurred by Kondo’s visits to a cross-section of Southern Californians whose homes have been taken over by too much stuff. Kondo gently nudges the clutter-challenged toward a tidier, happier existence over eight streaming Netflix episodes.
Her “KonMari” method sounds simple. People who have tried the strategy often find letting go is rewarding but more difficult that you would expect. You divide all the stuff in your house into these categories—clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and finally, sentimental items. You hold each item. If it sparks joy, you keep it. If you feel no spark of joy, you thank it and discard. After all the discarding is done, you give every remaining item a place so that it’s visible and easy to reach.
Kondo’s recommendation that you start with clothes may seem to give you the toughest challenge first. She says that’s not so, that it’s sentimental memorabilia that will sidetrack you and derail your efforts. You should not attempt to discard photos and other sentimental items until last. These are the collections you should not touch until you have perfected “KonMari”.
“Have you ever run across old photos while tidying and found that hours have passed while you were looking at them? This is a very common blunder, and clearly illustrates the point of tidying in the proper order, which is designed to help you hone your ability to distinguish what sparks joy,” Kondo says in her second book, “Spark Joy.”
Clothes are ideal for practicing the skill, so, pile every item of clothing from the entire house in one spot. You’ll see exactly how much you have. “It’s very important to get an accurate grasp of the sheer volume for each category,” Kondo says.
Once you’ve met the challenge of sorting through clothes, the temptation will be strong to store the items you’ve decided to keep. Don’t, Kondo advises. Concentrate on sorting the next category. Until you’ve worked through all the categories while you are discarding, Kondo recommends you think of any storage as temporary.
“One characteristic of people who never seem to finish tidying up is that they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything. When things are put away, a home will look neat, but if the storage units are filled with unnecessary items, it will be impossible to keep them organized, and this will inevitably lead to a relapse,” she writes.
Psychologists say there’s a psychological and spiritual reward to tidying up. Professional organizer Regina Leeds claims that clearing space gives us more than just savings in time and money. “We create in the physical world the pattern of how we think and experience the world,” says Leeds. “We can calm the inside by bringing order to the outer. “
“The average person lives in an environment that sabotages his or her best efforts at every turn,” Leeds said. “You can accomplish more, quicker and with ease, if your environment literally nurtures and supports you.” The author wrote the New York Times bestseller, “One Year to an Organized Life.”
Read More: Marie Kondo’s tidying isn’t just about appearances.