How to Marie Kondo your life without giving up everything you care about

Written by Madiy Warner 

The extra time we have all been spending at home over the last year has encouraged sorting and decluttering our homes to a new level. 

With minimalism growing in popularity, it is seeming ever-cooler to have less and less material things. However this can be difficult if you have attached sentimental value, or the fear of needing something once you have decluttered it, to almost everything you own. 

Marie Kondo, Japanese organising consultant, author, and TV show host, has established an international following with people all over the world adopting her methods to help get rid of their things. 

The KonMari Method™ encourages “tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

But what can you do if you feel that everything you own sparks joy in one way or another? 

Could or should?

If your thought process sounds something like ‘this dress could spark joy if I ever get the opportunity to wear it’. Or, ‘This book should spark joy because my mum got it for me’. 

These sound like items that don’t actually spark joy. If the dress is perfect for a variety of occasions and can be relied upon many times, then it might be worth keeping. But it’s likely that you have plenty of other dresses that you are thinking the same thoughts about and chances are, there are some that never get selected. So try to declutter those first. 

Gifts. Now this is a tricky category as there is so much guilt surrounding getting rid of or regifting something you no longer want or need so as not to offend the person who chose it for you in the first place. 

However by passing it on to someone else, you are likely extending the life of an item significantly and giving it the opportunity to spark joy for someone else.

A great trick when it comes to sentimental cards is to create an album either, by placing the cards inside or taking photos for a more streamlined approach. You can then flick through whenever you want to read them and no longer have cards stashed away messily all over the place. 

Top 3, 2, 1

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming when everything in a category has a purpose.

So to begin with, try narrowing it down to your top three (or however many you actually need as 3 pairs of underwear may not be quite enough!)

Then, regularly come back to assess and do additional decluttering. You can try to get rid of one more item each time until you are left with only the essentials. 

Adjust your storage

It is perfectly normal to still have a lot of ‘stuff’ after decluttering as much as you feel you can for the moment. Now it’s time to adjust your storage to fit your needs. 

If you love trinkets and small gifts, you could consider adding some additional shelving to your space to show them off.

Underwear is an obvious category that has to be maintained to a certain degree. So trying to find more space to store it can make it seem more organised and intentional. 

However, decluttering is an ongoing process that never needs to be finished. So don’t feel bad if you were only able to get rid of one bag of items this time. The next time you tackle it, you’ll be able to get rid of more. As long as you aren’t bringing more into replace all of the items you are getting rid of, unless needed of course, then you are slowly decluttering your space and becoming less reliant on material things.