Now that Spring has finally arrived, you’re probably chomping at the bit to declutter and organize your home. But where to start? And how to decide what to part with?

The KonMari Method is trending, largely because of its focus on parting with anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” The real beauty of the KonMari Method is that it forces you to consider what you truly love and want, and stop collecting things you only think you need. Quality over quantity, if you will. This way of thinking also trickles over into your shopping habits, which will help you chose items of higher quality that stand the test of time and offer a better return on investment.

It might be difficult to decide what “sparks joy” when you first start the KonMari process, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be putting everything that doesn’t put a huge smile on your face or recall a pleasant memory in the donate bin.

Getting Started

If you’re like most people, you have a lot of stuff, so it can be difficult to decide how to start your decluttering process. The KonMari Method recommends working by category, such as shoes, clothes or reading material, rather than in a particular room.

Clothes

Empty your closet and drawers. (You can do this by room/person to make it easier to manage.) Examine each item, one at a time. Keep basic items that are in good condition, such as solid t-shirts or layering tanks. If you pick up an item and you can’t recall when you last wore it, put it in the donate pile. Make an exception for timeless, high-end, or special occasion items, but part with anything that doesn’t fit, flatter or “spark joy.”

This can take a while, especially if your closet is overflowing, so enlist the help of a friend and a nice bottle of wine.

Shoes

If your shoe collection rivals Imelda Marcos’, this is going to be a challenge. Line up every pair and look them over carefully. If you haven’t worn them in years, donate them. If they’re badly worn or beyond the services of a good cobbler, toss them. Try on all the remaining pairs and walk around in them. If they’re uncomfortable, they go. Again, make an exception for timeless and special occasion styles, but only if you really love them and will actually wear them.

Paperwork and Reading Material

Your home office is probably chock-full of paperwork you never reference. Create a digital filing system and scan anything you need to keep for your records. Then shred and recycle the originals. Review your magazines and books. Anything you don’t regularly reference or re-read can be donated to a local literacy group. First or special editions and signed copies can stay, of course, if they “spark joy.” 

You can apply the KonMari method to your home furnishings, art and accessories, too!

Examine your furniture for wear and tear. Reupholster quality pieces. Discard tired, flat pillows or those that Fluffy turned into a chew toy. Clean or replace stained or worn rugs. Consider your artwork – do you love it? Does it complement your décor?

Donate anything you don’t love, but will be useful for someone else.

Marie Kondo, who developed the KonMari method, even has tips for organizing and decluttering your kitchen, bathrooms and children’s rooms. Check out her books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy for more advice.