How to Use the KonMari Method to Declutter Your Apartment

Want a peaceful and clutter-free home? Follow along as we discuss how to use the KonMari Method to declutter your apartment and free your mind.

When she spearheaded the innovative KonMari Method™ several years ago, the star (and namesake) of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo likely didn’t realize she’d be starting a movement. 

Today, the organization expert’s two-part home decluttering strategy has worldwide popularity.

Do you want to live your dream lifestyle?

Spark joy?

Keep a tidy apartment?

How about a satisfying mixture of all three? Follow along as we discuss how to use the KonMari Method to declutter your apartment and free your mind.

What Is the KonMari Method?

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The KonMari Method is a home and apartment tidying tactic created by professional organizer Marie Kondo. Rather than decluttering the living room, bedroom, and closet individually, you’ll achieve a minimalist feel using a category-based approach.

For example, you’ll sort through all your clothing at once and all your mementos and memorabilia at once

Tossing outdated receipts and organizing your bookshelf by color (into a satisfying rainbow design) are KonMari Method bonuses. But the method also has philosophical benefits, like “sparking joy” and “speaking to the heart.”

The KonMari Method’s Six Rules

The KonMari Method has a six-rule foundation. In Kondo’s own words, these are the six essential guidelines behind tidying:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. 
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Keep these in the back of your mind as you’re wading knee-deep in old cardigans or shuffling through long-forgotten college essays.

Do It All at Once

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The KonMari Method follows the Japanese phrase “Ikki ni,” which loosely translates to “in one go.” In other words, ditch the little-by-little tidying methods from your past. Then, dedicate an entire weekend (or even a week-long spring break) to decluttering your apartment once and for all!

Don’t forget to work meals, mental breaks, and entertainment into your hours-long cleaning sessions; KonMari is notoriously exhausting, both physically and mentally.

But exactly how long KonMari takes depends on where you land on the clutter scale (1 through 9). If you’re topping the scale at a 7, 8, or 9, it can take more than six months to sift through all your belongings!

Toss Items By Category

Clear out some open floor space in your living room, or empty the dining room table completely. To truly get a grasp on how much stuff you have (and whether you’re approaching “hoarding” status), bring all similar items together to tidy them all at once.

Follow this order:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono (random or miscellaneous items)
  5. Mementos and sentimental items.

If your apartment clutter is more stressful than you imagined, take a breath! Marie Kondo is also a fan of dividing these five categories into smaller (and more manageable) sub-categories.

For example, tackle your cookbook collection all at once and the comic books and magazines separately. Or sort through tops and bottoms first before moving on to dresses and formal wear.

Follow this KonMari Method checklist for a little decluttering guidance.

Only Keep Things That “Spark Joy”

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As you’re sorting through belts, vases, or puzzles and wondering which are worth keeping, grasp them physically in your hands and ask yourself:

Does it spark joy?

If you instinctively smile, think about pleasing memories, or hold it lovingly to your chest, this item holds a special place in your heart and deserves a permanent spot in your apartment.

But if it doesn’t trigger a giddy feeling, this item goes in your “discard” pile. 

However, this unwanted clutter isn’t necessarily on a non-stop trip to the landfill. Gently used clothing, books, electronics, and furniture may have a different destination (and a new chapter of their life):

  • Donation (Pickup Please, Goodwill, a local drop-off bin)
  • Selling (Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo)
  • Or giving them to a friend or family member (ask around to see if anyone’s interested)

Just because it no longer sparks joy in your soul doesn’t mean it won’t do the same for someone else!

Store Similar Items Together (and Learn to Fold)

Once you weed through the clutter and decide what to keep, you’re at the KonMari halfway mark. The next step is assigning everything a rightful “home” in your now bare and minimalist apartment.

As you’re deciding what goes where, think about:

  • Storing similar items in one space (ex: dedicating an entire bookshelf to documentary DVDs or reserving an entire drawer for socks).
  • Using Hikidashi storage boxes or drawer dividers to preserve space.
  • Organizing logically (ex: alphabetical order or by topic, color, date).
  • Making use of vertical space.

Marie Kondo also has a vertical folding method for clothes that’ll both save space in your drawers and make all shirts and pants accessible without digging through mounds of fabric!

Prevent Clutter In the First Place!

The KonMari Method can feel invigorating and improve a negative (or stressed) mindset on the spot. But it also requires days or weeks of strict focus to turn that cluttered apartment into a stress-free haven.

In Kondo’s own words, this “major purge” should be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Afterward, shift your focus to keeping the unit tidy and clutter-free.

That means returning books to their spot on the shelf and tossing worn clothes in the hamper. Or putting junk mail in the recycling bin instead of letting it pile up on your dining room table.

Most importantly, if you notice months later that items no longer spark joy, it’s okay to get rid of them (or donate them).

Conclusion

The KonMari Method can return even the most cluttered apartments to pristine, move-in-ready status. But once you feel the exhaustion first-hand, you’ll never want it to be your go-to tidying method!

Stop the clutter altogether by not accepting samples, only buying items you desperately need, and chucking things that aren’t joyous in your eyes. After all, the KonMari Method isn’t only a cleaning method; it’s a lifestyle change.

Angus Flynn is the Business Manager for Chatham on Main. With over five years of experience in the multifamily housing industry, he is one of the most dedicated managers in his field. He loves to help others and takes great pride in working in a community that so many love to call home.

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