What is the KonMari Method and Why Do I Love It?

In my last post on minimalism, I described an organisational system that I really enjoy and that helps me to keep my home clutter-free and that’s the KonMari Method. The KonMari Method was developed by Japanese tidying consultant Marie Kondo, so the word KonMari is actually a portmanteau of her last and first name. Pretty clever, huh?

According to Kondo (or KonMari-san, as fellow countrymen call her), the main reason why our homes are cluttered (yes, I’m pointing at your bedroom drawer right now!) is that we do not know how many items of one category we own because they are everywhere – our belongings do not have a home, a fixed place where we put them all the time.
So her solution is that we tidy once and forever as a “special occasion” [I actually pretended that I was on a week-long tidying festivity, and yes, I did have cake to commemorate the occasion!]. We should go through our home and tidy in categories rather than locations and go about in a fixed order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and mementos. We are to pile the contents of each and every category on the floor to get a grasp of just how much stuff we actually possess. After that, we hold each item in our hands and ask ourselves a ridiculously simple question:

“Does it spark joy?”.

If it does spark joy – we keep it, if it doesn’t – we toss it. It’s so simple. When starting this process, it might be a bit hard to understand and feel what this actually means, but trust me – you will get better at it. Joy is indeed a feeling and, therefore, it is really vital to make physical contact with the respective item – looking at it is simply not enough.

After we have removed all those items that do not spark joy from our lives, the fun begins and that is her unique storage method. Her storage method does not require you to buy expensive and fancy storage solutions, all you really need are some old (shoe) boxed that you probably have already. The idea is to store items compact, upright and in a defined space (hence the shoe box). Clothes are folded so that they are able to stand upright on their own. Believe me, once you will have brought a very flimsy T-shirt to stand on its own, it will be like you’ve taken heroin!
The reason for storing items this was is that you can see the content of a box with a single glance – no more piles of shirts that you have forgotten even exist.

In the kitchen, this looks approximately like this:

Spice drawer

So this is just my spice drawer. See how everything (except for those two jars with the green lids) is in boxes? The large white box that you see on the left is actually from my MacBook Pro, the brownish box on the right is the bottom of the box of my rice cooker, the other white box is from my iPad – pretty clever, right? Also, notice how there is still some space in the drawer, even though there is actually a lot in it!

Glasses and Teas drawerThese are all of my teas and glasses, all of which are in separate shoe boxes.

Below the stoveBelow my stove are some baking supplies: baking sheets, aluminum foil, cling foil, my Potato Express…

*That* drawer under the sink that everybody hates

This is the space that I dreaded cleaning the most: the drawer under the sink where all of the cables and tubes go. I have transformed this space to contain *all* of our cleaning supplies: everything from detergents and dish soaps to bags and cloths is here.

CupboardOn the other side of the kitchen, I keep our Tupperware and baking dishes…

Electronic Appliances… and right underneath we keep appliances and tools (see the hammer in the back?).

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The rest of the kitchen is just devoted to storing food in various ways.

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So what is the benefit of having a kitchen like this? If you follow a WFPB diet, you absolutely HAVE TO COOK. As soon as we accept the fact that it is not realistically possible to eat out all the time (at least for most of us), we have to make most of our meals from scratch if we want to eat health-promoting food. But that is only possible when you associate cooking with fun and it does not become a nuisance because your kitchen is cluttered, you keep forgetting where you put things etc. The KonMari method has helped me to permanently achieve the following overall look of my kitchen:

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Now isn’t that a fun environment to cook in? Notice that the only items that I keep on the kitchen surface is my Instant Pot, Dehydrator, Kettle, some basic cooking utensils, plants and vegetables. In short, stuff that I cannot put away because it’s too bulky or stuff that doesn’t want to be put away.

You’re probably asking yourself how much time it takes me to return to this state. I think it’s vitally important to “reset” our home in the evening back to its original state. This involves putting away the stuff that we used, cleaning plates or putting them in the dishwasher etc. The reason why this is so important is that¬†we want to begin our days light-hearted (= not having to think about the junkyard that we call home) and end them with a feeling that everything is tidy and in order and that we don’t have to tidy first thing in the morning.
How long does it take me to accomplish that? 10-15 minutes for the kitchen, 3 minutes for the bathroom, 5 minutes for the living room, 7 minutes for the bedroom and 1 minute for the hall, if all rooms are messy, which most of the times isn’t the case. But even in this worst-case scenario, it takes me 31 minutes to tidy the entire apartment. Pretty cool, huh? The added benefit is, of course, that I have more time to do things that I actually like. And tidying doesn’t seem like such a daunting task anymore.

In the end, only the KonMari Method was able to help me maintain a living environment that I thoroughly enjoy and that I can truly call my home.

Check out Marie Kondos books and lectures to get started. It’s so worth it!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
——> Audiobook on YouTube for free!

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

Marie Kondo talk in NYC

KonMarie Home Tour