Was your New Year’s resolution to declutter and tidy up your home? How’s it coming? 

New Year’s resolutions are great, but let’s face it: The new year begins smack dab in the middle of winter, and even though your house probably could use a little organizing, you’d much rather spend the season cozied up next to the fireplace, binge-watching something new on Netflix. 

As if reading your mind, Netflix gave you the best of both worlds by introducing you to Marie Kondo, expert organizing consultant and author. 

In her new show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, the world-renowned tidying celebrity helps individuals and families alike transform their lives through the simple joy of tidying up.

Tidy Up Your Home With Tips From Marie Kondo

Take a look around your house. What do you see? Are there remotes scattered across the living room? Are toys out and about? Is a stack of dishes balancing precariously in the kitchen sink? 

The more clutter we have in our homes, Kondo suggests, the more stress we introduce into our lives. Here are some of Kondo’s tips for tidying up, reducing stress, and sparking joy in our lives.

1. Make the Commitment

The first and most important step to tidying is making the commitment to do it right. Marie Kondo employs a very specific method, the KonMari method, which can sometimes take months to complete. Kondo affirms that tidying up your home is only step one; once you commit to tidying up, you can apply the method elsewhere to spark joy in other areas of your life.

2. Picture the Kind of Life You Want

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to picture the kind of life you want and to set goals to help you attain it. Walk around your house and picture what things might be like if the rooms were tidier. Which chores can you never convince yourself to complete? Do you have rugs in need of a good cleaning? Are there items cluttering up your shelves and drawers? 

Quoted in Mirror, Kondo says, “Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.” The clearer your picture, the better.

3. Tidy Up in Order

The KonMari method outlines five specific categories of items to organize. In this order, tidy up: 

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono (all other miscellaneous items)
  5. Sentimental items 

The order is determined by how easily people are typically able to part with these items, so Kondo recommends starting with the items easiest to say goodbye to. You want to be in a heightened state of joy when you part with sentimental items, Kondo notes on her Netflix show.

4. When in Doubt, Discard It Out

Not sure if an item “sparks joy” for you? On Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the organization expert says you’ll know joy when you feel it. She compares the feeling to holding a puppy dog and says the cells in your body will rise up when you feel joy. 

That said, if you’re on the fence when you pick up an item and try to decide whether it belongs in the “keep” or “toss” pile, remember: When in doubt, discard it out.

5. Categorize Everything

One of the most life-changing recommendations Kondo makes is to focus on category, not location. In other words, don’t tidy up your home room by room, but rather category by category, because it’s not just about organizing your house, it’s about organizing your entire life. 

It doesn’t matter where the items currently live, because her method is less about lightening your load than it is about rediscovering items that spark joy in our lives. 

When you dive into the KonMari method, Kondo asks you to grab all the clothing in the house and put it into one, big pile before saying goodbye to and thanking the items that no longer serve you. Then, you repeat the process with books, paper, and so on. As you progress through the method, don’t forget to tidy up furniture, area rugs, and home decor, too.

Does It Spark Joy?

Marie Kondo’s method for creating a clutter-free home is meant to help put you in touch with items that bring you joy. In her Netflix show, Kondo goes from home to home advising couples and families on tidying up, asking each of them the same, simple question: Does it spark joy? 

Give the KonMari method a try for yourself, or uncover more cleaning tricks by checking out our top spring cleaning tips and rug care guides.