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KonMari Method Of Decluttering

woman cleaning kitchen Upper East

In 2011, so-called “organizing consultant and author, Marie Kondo, wrote a book titled the “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up.” The book sparked off what became known as a decluttering craze, and, for those that wanted to take control of their living spaces.

Now, let’s say you’re sitting around in the apartments in Manhattan and wanted to apply some of those legendary techniques to cleaning up your own residence, but you don’t feel like reading through the whole book. We don’t much blame you, it’s 226 pages, after all.

Instead of going cover-to-cover trying to decode Kondo’s secrets, simply read on here. Today, we’re going to go over some of the most important lessons of the KonMari Method, along with some real life stories of those who tried it out and made a permanent change.

What Is The KonMari Method?

The architect of the KonMari method breaks down the overall philosophy on her website:

“Belongings are acknowledged for their service and thanked before being let go of, if they no longer spark joy. People are drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective, and optimistic.”

Along with that philosophy, there are six rules to follow:

Commit yourself to tidying up.

Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

Finish discarding first.

Tidy by category; not by location.

Follow the right order.

Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Now, instead of jumping into Kondo’s book for deeper insight on these rules, we’ll instead turn to One Kings Lane and Dr. Christiane Northrup’s breakdowns of what everything entails.

On Kondo’s first point there are two things to remember. The first is that you can’t let sentimental feelings about useless items hold you back. Nostalgia, it seems, is an impediment for many people trying to commit to cleaning up. You go to chuck things, come across some piece of junk that holds some arbitrary “value” to your life, then fall down that rabbit hole of getting sidetracked. No longer. You’ll have to steel yourself for tossing things out, which, thankfully, leads to another point.

You’ll soon learn that chucking your “dead weight” is a relief unto itself. Oh yes, “purging feels SO good,” as Cate La Farge Summers puts it. Get into the swing of things, and you’ll notice the rush of energy you gain as you discard all that stuff you don’t need:

“Once I got to work, it was so much easier and more fun than I’d thought. This question of joy gives you permission to let go of off-color shirts bought on sale, dresses past their prime, skirts that always clung uncomfortably. I realized I had many things that seemed great in theory but weren’t actually my style.”

When it comes to visualizing that “ideal lifestlye” of yours, the goal should be clear: you want a cleaner home. To achieve that cleaner home, you’ll probably have to start throwing some things out, but as Dr. Northrup points out, the act of chucking everything away will “only bring unhappiness,” which is why you also have to ask yourself, “does this spark joy?”

We took a few shots at “nostalgia” earlier, but there is a modicum of “feeling” that will come into play here. You’ll have to use your judgement with the items in your home. Is that sense you get when you touch something really joy, or are your feelings clouded by a hazy perception of past events? Let your heart be your guide, so to speak, and you’ll know what to toss and what to keep.

On your tidying rampage, remember to focus on categories of items rather than locations. Instead of going room by room and trying to get things under control, put the emphasis on similar items. Thankfully, Kondo provides a “proper order” for what to go through: clothes, books, papers, then Komono (everything else). There’s even a method for breaking those categories into sub-categories for a superior level of precision.

Lastly, a very salient point. You have to make sure that you discard everything you need to before you start putting things back. Only then can you truly achieve that picture perfect cleanliness you’ve been after. There are, of course, some addition items to keep in mind, like the importance of folding your clothes rather than hanging them, but, all-in-all, these are the most critical keys to exercising the KonMari method in your own living space. Be sure to check out the KonMari Method Cheat Sheet to refresh yourself on some details if you get stuck along the way.

Check Out Some Results

And what of putting all this into practice? Abby Lawson of Just A Girl And Her Blog Fame wrote a one year retrospective covering what she was able to apply from the KonMari method. In it, she notes that the strategy for folding clothes was a big hit, and something that she was still employing at the time of writing. She also admits, however, that not everything kept.

In particular, adhering to a bare bones wardrobe didn’t last long, as Lawson accumulated more clothing as the year progressed. She also points out that she wasn’t able to keep her living space “in order ever after” as is proclaimed in Kondo’s book:

“This hasn’t been the case for us. I’m almost certain that Marie Kondo does not have kids (or if she does they are unusually tidy, which wouldn’t surprise me!) because we still have days where toys cover the floor! We just do.”

Still, exercising the KonMari Method has its many upsides, which outweigh any potential drawbacks, and results might vary for you when you try it out for yourself. Give it a shot, and maybe you just will get that super-clean home that you “never have to clean again.”

You’ll Want To Keep Those Apartments In Manhattan Clean

After all, such fabulous residences, like those at Renoir House, deserve to be clutter-free. Having a tidy apartment here is one of the keys to enjoying the five-star resident amenities and the superb Upper East Side lifestyle -- the pinnacle of living large in one of New York City’s most desireable neighborhoods. Check it out, and prepare to be amazed.