— -- The expert who sparked an organizing phenomenon with her KonMari method of tidying is back with a new book that illustrates how to declutter your whole home, and it all starts with a simple question.
Marie Kondo says in her new book, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up," that the first step in cleaning a home should be asking yourself, “Does the item spark joy?”
If the answer is no, Kondo says the item should not be in your home.
The organizing Maven joined Marne and Matt Friedman, a Brooklyn-based couple who say they are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in the apartment they share with their 3-year-old son and 14-month-old daughter. In particular, the Friedmans say they feel stressed and anxious about the amount of kids clothes they have collected.
The couple says they are loaded with hand-me-downs and, since they are considering having a third child, they have not thrown away any kids clothes.
When the Japan-based Kondo arrived at the couple’s apartment, she first greeted the home by kneeling and bowing on the floor – as is the practice in every home she visits. The ritual is one in which Kondo says is her way of letting the home know she is there to begin the job of tidying up.
Kondo suggests tackling clutter by category, starting with clothes and then books, papers and, finally, miscellaneous and sentimental items. For the Friedmans, Kondo started with the children’s clothing, asking the Friedmans which of their kids' clothes still sparked joy.
Those that did not give them joy were separated to be given away to friends or donated.
Marne Friedman even followed Kondo’s practice of thanking the clothes she decided to part with before putting them in the donate pile.
Once the Friedmans had reduced the number of kids’ clothes, they got to work tackling Kondo’s most famous organizing trick, the KonMari folding method.
Kondo recommends folding clothes in halfs or thirds so you end up with a rectangle that stands up by itself. The clothes can then be placed in drawers or on shelves upright so you can easily see what you have.
When Kondo was done sparking joy in the couple’s home, Marne Friedman said she barely recognized the place.
“It’s like being at someone else’s house,” she said.
The family will now move on to tidy other categories -- following Kondo’s advice to stay focused on tidying their house, no matter how time consuming.
“Obviously it’s impossible to tidy all the house in one day so it’s okay to take a couple of days, a couple weekends, but I recommend try to do five hours a day,” Kondo said. “Then try to do it in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, so that eventually your house will be tidy.”
Now armed with Kondo’s decluttering tricks, Friedman says, “It makes [organizing] feel doable and not so daunting.”