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Take-aways from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or taking a digital hibernation in 2019, it’s very unlikely that you would not have heard of Marie Kondo. If her book, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ with the KonMari method created a flutter in 2014, her new show on Netflix – ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ has clearly taken over as the latest obsession. Simply put – watching the eight part series itself could be a therapeutic experience for you. As Marie moves from one home to another in each episode to meet a new family and fix their clutter issues, somehow it begins to play on your mind – and before you know it, you could be pushing the pause button to do some clutter clearing of your own! Well, it happened to me.
It’s hard not to be influenced the ‘Marie Kondo Magic’ – the spell for which is to only keep those items in your home that ‘Spark Joy’ in you! And as simple as that may sound when her petit frame says it a beautiful smile – it could actually spark a life changing, transformative experience in your life with a lot of introspection thrown in.
Watching the series makes it apparent that hoarding stuff is an affliction of our times. And one that needs immediate intervention and attention. As of now I’d say, take a pause from accumulating more. And watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
Marie Kondo
And so here goes a few Takeaways from Tidying Up with the organizational guru, Marie Kondo.
The Categories in which one should approach Tidying Up – Clothes, Books, Paper, Komono (Miscellaneous, Bathroom, Kitchen) & Sentimental Items.
Clothes: If you’re a shopaholic, this will be your moment of reckoning! Marie says make one mountain of all your clothes in your room. And just looking at that pile can be an overwhelming experience. Especially considering the amount there might be, so it’s essentially like confronting how much you own and do you really need that much. Then comes the really difficult part – Marie suggests holding each item of clothing, one by one to see if it sparks joy in you. If it does – keep it. If it doesn’t – express your gratitude to that item for serving you well and keep it aside to be given away or discarded.
Folding and Stacking: This is perhaps one of the best take-aways for anyone from watching the show. Marie demonstrates folding of various items throughout the series – from t- shirts to baby clothing, inner wear, ties, scarves, fitted bed-sheets and towels and introduces us to some very practical yet novel ways of storing! Fold gently, asserts Marie as folding is not just making your clothes smaller – it is an important opportunity to talk to your clothes and thank them! Even something as mundane as folding gets a sparkle when you learn to love folding the Marie Kondo way! Her simple rule – create a rectangle in the middle and fold in half and in thirds to make a smaller rectangle. Fold and stack vertically in your drawer. Try it, it’s almost Zen.
Bags, Shoes & Lingerie: A girl can never have enough bags and thankfully Marie suggests the Bag in a Bag method to store them. Put a similar sized bag in another bag and make sure the straps stay visible so you can spot it easily when you need it. As for shoes, use lids of boxes to rest those heels if your shoe rack has rod shelves. And Marie has the perfect solution for how to fold or stack your lingerie items – stack ones with cups and under-wires and fold the softer ones with straps inside.

Marie Kondo
Treasure that Treasure Box: When it comes to sentimental items, Marie suggests doing this category last, since it’s the most difficult to let go. With photographs one could categorise year wise and store in a box or simply the good old way – in an album! And make sure to keep them on a bookshelf or coffee table where they can spark joy, she adds. Some sentimental items can be kept together in a beautiful Treasure Box – so one can relive lovely memories every once in a while.
Marie’s Inspirational Insights: Through-out the series, Marie lets on many nuggets of wisdom that inspire and urge you to introspect. She talks of doing justice to the house and thanking it. Of the strain clutter puts on relationships and how the ultimate goal of tidying up is really to cherish everything you have. By cleaning up, you can ease the pain of the past or even start thinking of your future in a more positive way. Also she adds, the most important step being having an image of your ideal lifestyle that you want to lead once you finish tidying! And as you get more organised, you free up space not just at home but also magically in your mind!
Cutlery, Silverware and Snacks: In your kitchen have a designated spot for everything, keep cutlery that’s not used often on the higher shelves and store everyday use things in easily accessible shelves. Store paper plates and straws in vertically in a box. Categorise your food items – as tea and coffee, cereals, regular snacks etc. And remember to check and chuck the expired items!
Categorising the garage, toys & papers: Marie says the best way to deal with these items is to take it all out and then compartmentalise them. Placing all similar items in one box. And use smaller boxes without lids within a bigger box to store small items like pen drives and memory cards. Store it in such a way that you can see everything with one look. And divide papers into Pending (bills, letters) Important (permanent items like contracts) and Miscellaneous.

Marie Kondo

Waking up the Books: Before you get down to sorting your books and deciding on which ones spark joy, tap the books to wake them up! A delightful ritual that almost feels magical.
Purifying the house: One of the most beautiful and meditative gestures that Marie does in every home that she visits is to greet it. Sometimes she asks the family members to join her so they can express their gratitude towards the house. And every time you’re stuck while de cluttering, Marie suggests take a few deep breaths and change the air! Simply by opening the windows, creating sounds with good vibrations, lighting a candle or incense or using an aroma spray.
Cleaning as a Family: The organisational guru rightfully says, “Do it as a family”. Everyone in the house should be assigned a responsibility. Given that Marie visits two homes with toddlers and has two of her own, this is her tip – make them do it with you and ask them not to pull from the pile! Also, if they see you having fun tidying up – they are more likely to join you. When sorting their toys, ask them what sparks joy. And if everything sparks joy for your little one, ask them to rank it! Moreover, it’s important to respect each other’s feelings while tidying up.
The last few tips: Never store in trash bags, always store in transparent boxes so you can see what’s inside. If you have to address a loved one’s belongings, do it at the end. When doing clothes, focus only on yours – not what the others in the house are choosing to keep or throw. And most importantly, while you’re clearing up, things might look like they are more cluttered than before but there is no need to worry… by following the process step by step…there will be an end to the tidying!
So there, go ahead and Spark some Joy!

Images: Courtesy Instagram.

Take-aways from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Sreeparna Sengupta

Sengupta has been a director and producer of shows on movies and entertainment for the last 14 years, for some of the biggest media houses, including Zoom and Times Now. She has been reviewing movies for a living for the last two years while working as a freelance writer / editor and content developer.

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