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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Scholl

Ultimate Guide to Tidy Your Home

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

Your home the most personal and most important place in your life. Simply said your home is your shelter - a warm, safe and dry place. More than that, your home reflects your heart and soul. Your home is the place where you connect to the belongings that support your lifestyle and the environment that supports your well-being. Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed by your stuff and do you want to simplify your life? Do you long for a change in life or do you want give closure to a life phase and make a new beginning? Then tidying your house is the best place to start.

The moment you begin to tidy you start an inner journey of redefining what makes you happy. A process that shifts the energy in your home, and in you.

This is what KonMari Method™ is all about. The key question "does it spark joy?" is really a matter of understanding who you are and how you want to live your life. It encourages and empowers you to profoundly change your habits. Once you put your home and life in order and filled it with loving and positive energy, you can focus on what matters most.

To inspire and support you in your tidying journey I have created the ultimate guide to tidy your home. In this guide we will go through all categories of the KonMari Method™ and I will give tips on how you can tidy and organize with the best and long-lasting results.

Tidying is an intensive process and can be very confronting. It takes time, energy, and persistence. While tidying and organizing your wardrobe leads to a beautiful result that you enjoy every day, to declutter your basement is often not so joyful. It is therefore not unusual that people drop out halfway through. But this will not happen to you, you persist! Because if you are committed and you follow the method, your tidying festival is a once in a lifetime event!

Your ideal lifestyle

The KonMari Tidying journey starts with clear intentions and objectives. Defining your ideal lifestyle and living environment is a crucial step in the KonMari Method™ and the foundation of your transformation. Why do you want to tidy, what does your ideal daily life look like and what would you like to see different in your home? A clear vision guides you in your decision making and motivates to stay focused in the process.

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Three Steps

The key to successful tidying is to tidy by category, not by location. The five categories of the KonMari Method™ are clothes, books, komono (miscellaneous) and sentimental items. There are three important steps that are repeated over and over for each category and characterizes the KonMari Method™. Collect. Choose. Store.

Before we discuss the different categories separately, let me tell you more about these three steps.

Collect. This means collect everything! Including things that are stored elsewhere in your home and belong to the (sub)category you are working on. So, check your basement, your attic, hallway storage and ‘junk’ drawers. This way you get a clear grasp of how much of each type of thing you own. Collect everything in one place, this is called this the power of the pile because it can be so confronting and powerful to see everything you own. And that is exactly the intention. You are confronted with your things, and with that you are confronted with yourself. Sense what is going on in your body and mind when you look at the pile, this may just be your shifting point.

Choose. In the KonMari Method™, your feelings are the norm for making decisions and knowing what brings joy. To determine what you love, it is important to pick up each item one at a time and quietly ask yourself, "Does it spark joy?" Your body will respond and help you understand what joy means to you. Listen carefully to what belongings evoke a little thrill. Choosing to keep only those things that truly inspire joy will help create an environment that supports your ideal lifestyle.

Concentrate only on the things you want to keep, not the things you want to get rid of. If you are not sure yet you can make a 'maybe' stack and go through it again at the end. By then you will know exactly what you already have and what makes you happy, this will make it easier to make a definite decision. Do not stress if you are not ready to decide, this specific item may be considered a sentimental item to you. You can set it aside until you get to the category of sentimental items. Let go of the things you do not want to keep in a respectful way. All your belongings have served a purpose and taught you a lesson. Express your appreciation and gratitude for this, say thank you and let go.

Store. Once it is clear which belongings you want to keep, you can turn your attention and energy to storing these cherished items. Create simple and easily accessible storage solutions for long-lasting results and ease of use. The most important aspect of storing is to designate a home for every item! A place where your item always returns to, to rest and recharge until you use it again.

Store like items together as much as possible. Use Marie Kondo's signature folding for anything that can be folded (clothes, towels, throws) and store vertically. This saves space and ensures that your items are organized in a convenient, accessible, and clear way. Use about 90% of your storage space, leaving some extra space for items you were not able to store before.

Now that your closets, cupboards, and shelves are empty you have created the opportunity to rearrange your belongings more efficiently and optimize your storage space. Use boxes and baskets, but do not buy anything new. Most likely, you have boxes in the house that you can use like shoe boxes. In addition, it is important to know that, until you have tidied up your entire house, all storage space is temporary. So, you can always optimize your storage, rearrange, and replace items if necessary.

Let’s get started!

Tidying Clothes.

Clothing is the first category. You wear your clothes every day, and in general we know quite well which clothes make us feel happy and in what pieces we do not feel comfortable. Yet our wardrobes are often full of unworn pieces, clothes that do not fit or items that have simply served their purpose.

Collect. Gather all your clothes from all corners of your house and make a big pile on your bed. Take a good look at the pile and feel what is happening inside of you. Most people have three times as much as they think they do and only wear a fraction of what they own. This is your motivation to start tidying your clothes. Do you feel anxiety about having to let go, do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes you own or are you simply excited to get started? I recommend you tackle all your clothes at once, but if you do not have the time, I suggest you divide your clothes into subcategories.

Choose. Take each item of clothing in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy. It can be useful to make a top 5 of your favorite pieces. You can now compare every other item of clothing with these favorites. Also feel how your body responds to the fabric and color. Some pieces may have sentimental value and special memories. Make a conscious choice and keep with confidence or let go with gratitude. If you are not sure if something sparks joy, you can try on some pieces.

Store. Now that your wardrobe is empty, this is a chance to rearrange it optimally. Any pieces that can be folded needs to be folded into compact, little rectangles that stand up on their own, and can be stored vertically in a box, basket, or drawer in your closet. This saves space and looks neat. You can also fold your socks and your underwear deserves a special place in your closet, add a scented sachet for extra joy.

Create a rising line as you arrange the clothes that need to hang, from the left (longer, heavier, and darker items) to the right (shorter, lighter, and delicate item). Hang like items together, so skirts with skirts and dresses with dresses. This creates a calm and uplifting effect. Make sure your clothes can breathe by not hanging them too close together.

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Tidying Books.

Books are perceived as one of the most difficult categories to tidy. People often associate stages of their life with books. Childhood memories, studying, working careers and interests that come and go. All our books contain information that we have ever gained when we read it, or information we want or think we should acquire. It may feel like losing this knowledge when you let go of the book. A full bookcase is also often seen as a status symbol. However, the information that you really want to maintain is already anchored and integrated in you, so you do not have to physically keep the books. And the information in your old study books may be outdated by now. With this in mind, let’s start.

Collect. Collect all your books from all over the house in one place, including cookbooks, art books, novels, readers of courses and table books. Divide the books into subcategories if you desire. Tap on your books to wake them up. Books generally stand in the bookcase for years on end without being touched. Your books have fallen asleep, they become part of your background and you don’t even notice or identify them anymore. Which is basically dead energy, so bring them alive!

Choose. The danger now is that you are start browsing and reading your books. Do not do this, it will cloud your judgment, overwhelm you and you will lose focus. Hold each book and ask yourself if it makes you happy. Did you read it? If not, do you think you ever will? Would you buy it again? Think carefully about which books add value to your ideal lifestyle?

Store. Store the books in your bookcase or on a bookshelf and organize them by subcategory. Do not stack them in a pile, make sure to stand them up. Other than that, you can arrange your books the way it sparks most joy!

photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics

Tidying Papers.

This category evokes quite a bit of resistance among many people, but there is a lot of benefit to be gained when you have minimalized and organized your papers. Approach this category with commitment and you will be so relieved when you are done.

Collect. Collect all your papers in one place, make sure to check drawers, bags, cupboards, office area, hallway, anywhere you may keep paperwork. If you keep administration in boxes in the attic, find them and bring them down. Sit down at a table and get comfortable.

Choose. You can now look at your papers one by one and decide whether to keep it. Do not throw anything away that you are unsure about, check first or search online if these papers need to be kept. This is different for every country. When discarding papers make sure to shred any documents that contain private data.

The basic rule is that almost all papers can be discarded. There are three categories of papers that need to be kept:

- Pending (documents that require immediate action).

- Papers needed for a limited period (contracts, insurance, tax related papers, current course material)

- Papers to keep indefinitely (diplomas, pension statements, certificates)

Store. The idea when storing your papers is that you have the simplest possible storage system. Use the three categories as described above to store your papers. Create a box for pending papers that is easily accessible. Store your papers upright in the box. Check this box weekly on a fixed day and act upon your paperwork, then let go. Use files for the papers that need to be kept for a limited period, and for those that need to be kept indefinitely.

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Tidying Komomo.

The next category is Komono (miscellaneous). Komono is a large category that requires tidying of many different subcategories. In this guide I will talk about the sub-category’s bathroom and kitchen.

Tidying Bathroom.

The bathroom is the ultimate space to surround yourself with all the products you love. Products that make you feel beautiful and improve your self-esteem. We accumulate a lot of lotions, soaps, and all kinds of beauty supplies in the bathroom. Time to review everything critically for optimal bathroom comfort and joy.

Collect. Collect all your items from the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves, and surfaces. Check the rest of your home for beauty & care-products and do not forget any appliances, hand cream, lip balm, nail clippers, hair dryers, styling tools, shavers, electrical toothbrushes. Sort everything into categories and pile them in front of you.

Choose. Hold each item, ask yourself if it sparks joy and be critical, especially when you have multiple variants of a product. Which products are your absolute favorite, and which ones are not being used? Do not forget to check the expiry date.

Store. There are three main ways to store your items; in a drawer, in open boxes on a shelf, or on its own placed on a counter or shelf. Bathroom items may be small, so you can use small boxes in your drawer or in a larger box to organize them. Remove all products from the packaging. Packages often look garish with texts and colors and make a messy impression. Store all products by category and store them vertically in boxes, drawers, and baskets you like. Make sure that the baskets are not too full and easily accessible. Storing this way makes sure you can see everything you own at once and it makes it easy to take things out and put them back again after use. It also looks calming, pretty, and tidy. Keep the bathroom surfaces such as the sink and the bath rim empty for easy cleaning.

Keep in mind that makeup is a different type of product. Lotions, shampoos, and creams are moist and watery, whereas makeup is dry and powdery. Store these products separately. Makeup can be stored in a makeup box or bag, and perfumes delight in open displays.

A (scented) candle and essential oil will enhance the feeling of luxury and comfort in your bathroom.

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Tidying Kitchen.

Tidying your kitchen is perhaps the most work. But a workable, clean and clear kitchen is inspiring and sparks a lot of joy. So, let's get started.

Collect. The three main kitchen categories are eating implements, cooking tools and food. Remove all kitchen supplies and foods from your kitchen and pantry. You may feel overwhelmed, but if you immediately create subcategories, it will give you a clear overview. You can also break them down into even smaller categories. If you do not have a lot of time, it might be better to get the things out per category.

Choose. Hold all your kitchen items one by one and ask yourself if you really use it, love it and how much of it you really need. Do you really need 15 mugs and knives in all sizes? We are constantly subjected to so-called handy kitchen appliances, and you may have bought some of them. In reality they take up a lot of space and may not be so practical at all.

Store. Now that you have simplified your kitchen stuff, it is time to put it back in the cupboards. Use trays and baskets to store your belongings vertically and well visibly and stow per category as much as possible. Do not stock up, your home and kitchen are not a storage space. You can buy new products when you have almost finished the old. Keep your countertop empty, this is your workplace, and it is very handy when it is quick and easy to keep clean. You can put your cleaning supplies in a container under the sink, and yes also your sponge, washing-up brush and washing-up liquid. Take them out whenever you need them and store them again afterwards. A clean kitchen is important, but the kitchen must also invite you to cook. Display your cookbooks on a shelve and fill up a bowl with fruits and vegetables.

photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics

Tidying Sentimental items.

The last category is sentimental possessions. This has been saved till last because during the tidying process you have increased your capacity and sensitivity to determine what makes you happy.

We all have belongings that remind us of moments in our life, beautiful moments and difficult or sad moments. Childhood memories, photos from travels, adventures and ex-lovers, an heirloom or gifts received. We are now going to make a choice about all these precious possessions. Remember that only you decide what you keep and what you let go.

Collect. Collect all your sentimental items and again you can divide everything into subcategories (photos, postcards, letters, drawings etc.) and make piles. You have probably set aside some items during the process that have sentimental value to you and that you have not been able to decide about until now. Your wedding dress, a book, or a souvenir. Now is the time to make that decision.

Choose. TThe question is, what do you want to bring with you in your future? Making decisions about sentimental possessions can be challenging. I believe there are two important reasons for this: the feeling of guilt and the fear of loss of precious memories. It is good to realize that saying goodbye to stuff does not make you say goodbye to a person or momentum. These people and moments are in your heart. So, ask your heart to help you choose joy. When it comes to photo albums or collections, I like to keep one or two items that represents a collection or period. You can also let go of gifts that do not spark joy, gifts are expressions of love and kindness. It is the moment of exchange that counts.

With love and appreciation, reminisce and cherish your memories, then release with gratitude and respect. The KonMari Method™ emphasizes the importance of letting go respectfully, it gives closure to the relationship you had with that object. For a respectful send-off of sentimental items, like photos and letters, you can use a salt purification ritual. Place the photos or letters in an envelope, add some salt and express gratitude for what people and life experiences have taught you. This ritual is a beautifully humble and worthy way to let go.

Store. How much do you really honor and take care of your mementos when they are collecting dust, tucked away in drawers, or stored, hidden, and forgotten in cardboard boxes? Make an album of your most cherished photographs, find a place on a shelf to display your children’s’ artwork or a special souvenir, or create a gallery wall with your favorite collection. A beautiful box is a great way of keeping your sentimental items, place it on a shelf or even in your closet so you can take it at any moment to enjoy your beloved items.

photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics

Living joyfully

Now that you have tidied your home you can focus on doing what you love most and fulfil your personal life mission. These tips can help you live joyfully.

  • Place every item back in its home after use and say ‘thank you’ for the support it offers you throughout the day. Showing gratitude will help you appreciate and value your items.

  • Create your special place in your home. This can be a corner with your favorite chair or a power spot with items you cherish and fill you with joy. Use this place to journal, to relax and recharge, to meditate and simply be for a few moments.

  • Before you buy something double check if it truly sparks joy, ask yourself if you already have something like it and if it supports your ideal life. Becoming mindful about your purchases will positively impact your shopping and spending habits.

Living in a home where every item sparks joy, gives a sense of calm and happiness, and encourages you to choose joy in all other aspects of life.

Life truly begins after you have tidied up.’ – Marie Kondo

Checklists of all categories can be downloaded from my website

Would you like support in your tidying journey? Contact me for a free phone consultation.

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