I Used the KonMari Method

I live in three places. When my parents divorced in high school, I divvied up the entirety of my belongings between two homes in Los Angeles. After moving to my current home in Davis, my number of bedrooms increased yet again to a whopping three. This can only mean one thing: I have a lot of junk.

I often find myself struggling to reconcile two of my strongest personality traits: I crave order and organization, and I project cherished memories onto my belongings. If my mother gives me a lipstick and I do not like the color, I will keep it safe because my mom gave it to me. This results in a drawer full of untouched but nonetheless treasured possessions.

Packing for my sophomore year at Davis was a nightmare for my dear friend who helped me because there was simply so much stuff. She forced me to give or throw away items that I did not pack for my trip back to school, because “if you don’t need it there, you definitely don’t need it here.”

Cut to the beginning of winter quarter: I am sitting in my Davis bedroom surrounded by unpacked bags and boxes, scrolling through Netflix when I see Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. In her show, Marie Kondo herself visits American homes to help declutter and streamline everyday life. In case you haven’t heard of her, Kondo is the author of bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book intent on teaching its readers the author’s decluttering process, coined the KonMari Method.

The process begins with emptying all storage areas, whether they be closets, drawers, boxes, anything. You are then supposed to sort through each item one-by-one and decide if that item “sparks joy.” If an item is no longer wanted, you then thank the item and gently put it in the trash or a bag to donate. The KonMari method then has a detailed infrastructure outlining how to sort away the belongings you wish to keep.

The strategy that has improved and organized my life the most has been Kondo’s filing method for folding clothes. In her Netflix show, Kondo shows viewers how to fold their clothes step-by-step so that they can stand upright in a drawer. This allows you to place your clothes vertically rather than horizontally, allowing you to see all of your clothing items at once! This has dramatically changed the way that I dress since I found that my most worn or favorite items always ended up at the tops of the stacks of clothes in my dresser. Now that I can so easily see everything I own, I’m able to step out of my comfort zone and wear clothes that I did not appreciate before.

Kondo’s doctrine of only siding with items that “spark joy” has inspired many memes, but has also created a thread that feeds into the culture of self-care that has become more prevalent in the recent past. Perhaps intermingling self-care and organization is what makes the KonMari Method so fulfilling. Either that, or Kondo’s unyielding optimism.