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How to Tidy Like Marie Kondo So You Never Have to Do It Again

Marie Kondo wrote that viral little hit called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read it a few years ago when it came out and it was SUCH a fun read! Granted, I love organizing to begin with, but this book ignited such a passion in me for cleaning (and yes I laughed out loud typing that sentence, hahaha!). I KonMari’s my house in Tampa which was perfect timing because it was right before we moved to France.

Now Marie Kondo has a new show on Netflix based on the book where she goes into people’s homes and helps them get them in order. It’s kind of like a MUCH less depressing version of Hoarders. I got Adrien to watch it with me and now that he’s on board, we’ve decided to tidy up our place in Nice– Marie Kondo style! 😉

So far we’ve done the kitchen in full, a couple places in our living rom, I did about 1/2 of my clothes, and we’re working through the rest of our house bit by bit.

I talked about this on social media and a lot of you said how your organization habits never stick though you really wish they would! I personally think that our external environment is a reflection of our internal state. If your outside is frazzled and messy, chances are your inside feels that way too. I also think if you start by organizing the outside, the inside can transform.

Here’s a few habits & best practices that have worked for me in the past in terms of making organization stick.

1. Make a list of what you need as you go. 
As we worked our way through the kitchen, I had a notepad where I jotted down what I needed to get in order to complete the space. For example, I want a small box or bin to keep dish towels in so they don’t end up in a ball in the cabinet. That alone will solve the temporary nature of the organization of those. Know what your weak points are, and address them ASAP!

marie kondo list

A few items I knew I needed after cleaning out the kitchen. And our “junk drawer” is actually now just scissors, rubber bands, a screw driver, and a knife sharpener 😉

2. Be realistic in your changes. 
One thing Marie Kondo swears by is organizing your closet by color. Here’s the thing. I know I’ll never stick to that. I hang my stuff according to the season (sweaters & long sleeve stuff is on one side, summer stuff is on the other), but sorting by color is just more detail than I need in order to feel good and organized in my space. If I tried to force myself to stick to that, I know it would NEVER last and that’s just gonna make me feel discouraged. Be realistic with your own habits too!

easy konmari closet

I KonMari’d my closet in the most basic way possible. Just waiting on some boxes for these drawers!

3. Don’t be afraid to JUST do a little at a time. 
My personal style of organizing is to not sleep for 24 hours and do everything all at once, lol! Adrien? Not so much! We’re working at a comfortable pace, basically tackling one small project at a time. This is NOT an “all or nothing” game. Start small, do something that doesn’t overwhelm you, and slowly, gradually add on from there.

4. When you get overwhelmed, stop, and do something super easy.
I loved this practice. Let’s say you’re emptying your closet and feel completely overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff you have to sort through. Take a deep breath, pick up something you know for SURE you want to get rid of. Just one item. Start with that and then go from there. Starting with an easy decision (either a ‘keep’ or a ‘donate’) can bring this process back into perspective.

5. You can do it cheaply!
We didn’t buy fancy boxes & trays for storing items. I found different sized storage boxes in Ikea that range between $2-$5 each, and I bought about 25 of those which cost under $100. Other boxes I found super handy are shoe boxes, iphone boxes, my apple watch box, and Birchboxes (finally, a use for these!), and some other random sturdy boxes I found laying around. On a hilarious side note: Marie Kondo’s website has sets of 6 boxes that cost $89. LOLOLOLOL! #no

ikea tjena boxes

I bought a bunch of the narrow shown here which will fit PERFECTLY inside some super short dresser drawers we have. These were only $2.99 a piece!

6. Keep it ALL in perspective.
Worry less about following the rules of any one method, and set yourself free to adjust the rules according to what will be the most sustainable for YOUR life. We have a few mandatory pieces of “clutter” in the form of all our filming equipment. It doesn’t fold up very easily and is always visible in one room or another. We just have to choose to let that go for now because it’s not going anywhere, haha! But the point isn’t to be perfect. The point is to find improvement. Keep that in perspective while you’re going through the process yourself.

Over to you! How do you feel about organizing? Have you read or watched Marie Kondo’s book or show? What’s been your experience so far?

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11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Valeria

    January 10, 2019 at 5:12 am

    I’ve never read the book, but started watching the show few days ago. I found the idea of folding so awesome, that I had to pause the show and turn all of my partner t-shirts vertically in his drawer … now he can finally see all of them and not complain wearing always the same ones (the ones at the top of the pile !!) :p
    Easy tip !

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 11, 2019 at 3:33 am

      haha yes! such a simple but life changing solution!

  2. Avatar

    Nicole

    January 10, 2019 at 10:40 am

    The Bad Yogi community got me into watching the show and I’ve just bought the book too. I love your tip about doing it at your own pace – so far I’ve only done my sock drawer, which I’d been meaning to clear out for ages. With a toddler around I don’t really have a big block of time to do all my clothes at once, no matter how important is supposed to be to the process. But I figure if I at least do things by category I can see how many similar things I have and hopefully get rid of a lot!

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 11, 2019 at 3:34 am

      yes! because really there’s no rush anyway… this is intended to be long lasting, so if the whole process takes you 6 months (or more), why does it matter? little by little, it’ll get done 🙂

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    Amanda Jo

    January 10, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I loved the book and am enjoying the show currently. Your suggestions were great! Another one is to keep going through stuff. I did a full overhaul about 2 years ago after reading the book. Since then I pick 1 drawer, 1 type of item, 1 closet, or 1 room a month that I go back through. It typically only takes an hour or 2 one weekend a month and helps not to build back any useless clutter and keep you motivated long term.

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 11, 2019 at 3:35 am

      oh my gosh, YES! doing a quick refresher is super important… it’s amazing how much you accumulate that you don’t even notice!

  4. Avatar

    Kay

    January 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Read the book.. trying to find time to watch shows. But, my tboughts are like you. I have done a few drawers…hope to get more done next week.

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 11, 2019 at 3:35 am

      go at your own pace, you’ll get there 🙂

  5. Avatar

    Louise

    January 10, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    My husband and I have organized boxes here and there during the last couple of years since we moved into our house from an apartment. I tend to want to really organize areas when they are becoming too overwhelming and I am in the mood. I knew I wanted to organize the closets in our house during my Christmas break (since there is no time when you’re a school teacher in December and you’re so tired!) before watching the Netflix show because similar things were not in the same spot. During my tidying (not necessarily purging) I found 3 bags in different areas of the house with dog toys and clothes so I put them downstairs in a 3 plastic drawer cart. I put all the tuques, mitts and scarves in the bench in the front closet and I folded so that I can see everything in the bench. I found 3-4 tuques that I haven’t worn or haven’t seen in years. There are a few other similar situations where I found things I have been looking for or taking out because I haven’t looked at those items in a while. My thoughts are I know they “spark joy” if they are being used or will be useful for a certain activity. I’m donating my fuzzy socks because I don’t wear them since the elastics are shot. Now, starting back at school, I feel less cluttered in my mind and less stress because many areas of my house that I look at daily are in order 🙂 .

  6. Avatar

    Jamie

    January 11, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I’m listening to the book when I’m on the treadmill. The show got me motivated! I’ve been folding the clothes KonMari style as I’m doing laundry. So clothes are being tossed little by little. We don’t have many to clothes to begin with, and have plenty of storage space, so I don’t feel the need to purge. But the folding style is GENIUS!

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