The KonMari Method is professional organizer Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling home clutter category-by-category rather than room-by-room. It has been “sparking joy” with people worldwide since it became a sensation in 2014. Whether you are new to the method or have fallen off of the wagon, we all need help with motivation and getting our home organized. We recently spoke with professional organizer and certified KonMari consultant, Michele Delory. Michele, based out of Toronto, Ontario, credits a minimalist lifestyle for helping her to be more mindful of what she has and what she buys. The owner of Modern & Minimalist uses that passion to help her clients feel good in their own space and understand the life changing magic of tidying up.
There are five categories to the KonMari Method: 1) clothes, 2) books, 3) papers, 4) komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, 5) sentimental items. We spoke with Michele about the first category, clothes, and how to organize your wardrobe.
Explain the basic principles of the KonMari Method when it comes to your wardrobe.
It is really important to commit to the KonMari Method first. You need the right mindset going into it to make sure that you follow through. With anything that you start in life, whether it’s a diet or working out, stay consistent because it is going to change your lifestyle. After that, you have to imagine your ideal lifestyle. It may just be your ideal wardrobe and how that’s going to look and that will motivate you to get through the clothing category. KonMari is all about organizing by category, as opposed to location, so it’s really important to follow the five main categories and doing it in order from easiest to hardest to hone in on your decision making. Clothing is actually the first category, so that will help out when you are dealing with your wardrobe.
People tend to store things in other areas of the home. It is very important to make sure that you have all of your clothing living in the same place. As you gather all of your clothes, it will really help you to realize how much you own and what you are dealing with. Once everything is gathered, start choosing the items that spark joy. That is the basis for your decision on what you choose will stay in your life. Spark joy is really what you love and it’s a great way to edit your clothes because there is no pressure. People feel like you have to let go of things, and it’s good if you do, because you will be more organized, but the whole point is to see what is serving you right now.
Our closets and drawers (and chairs) become cluttered and can be difficult to find the things that we love. Where do you start when you are organizing your wardrobe?
Make sure that you gather everything in your home into a pile. I like to use my bed; other people like to use the floor. That will help you to see how much you have. Next, take each item one by one and ask yourself “Does it spark joy?”. Finally, thank items that you no longer want to have in your life. The way to avoid having your clothes all over your chairs are worn already and may be clean enough to wear again. Avoid throwing clothes on a chair. Add hooks to your wall and hang the items there or a soft basket that is specifically for those type of items. You want to keep your chair free because it’s there to sit on, not for clutter.
We are at a time in life where people are dressing more casually, but hopefully, in the near future things will normalize. How can people blend their wardrobe and not overwhelm their closet?
It’s really important for people to edit their closet for the life that they are living today. We are all hoping that the situation is temporary and that we will just be working from home for a period of time. Some companies may continue the work from home culture and loungewear might become your regular outfit. Of course, we all have items in our closet that still spark joy and that might not be loungewear. It’s ok to keep those items, but it’s important to edit your closet for the life that you have right now. You can’t think about the what if.
For example, what if I go back to the office? Be present when you are organizing your wardrobe. Think about if everything is still sparking joy and why you haven’t worn the item in a long time. One day, we will be eating in restaurants again and going out. Circumstances are changing and we are evolving. Maybe people will continue to wear loungewear for work and play, even when things get more back to normal.
The KonMari Method isn’t just about decluttering your home, but also how your organize items. Talk us through how to fold and organize your clothing and accessories.
Folded shirts should be vertical in your drawers. I like to have things colour coded. It is more visually pleasing. You can go from lights to darks and from thinner to thicker fabrics within your drawers and that goes for items that you hang as well. The items that you hang should be the things that aren’t easy to fold. Use Ziploc Essential Stuff Accessory Bags for your loose items like jewelry and hair accessories. If there is a smaller drawer at the top use that for your accessories. They shouldn’t live at on top of your dresser. The next drawer should be your tops – remember tops at the top and bottoms at the bottom. It makes it easier to find a home for everything that way.
A woman’s purse or gym bag can be a scary place. How do you organize your bags so that it is easier to find everything that you need?
Again, you want to give everything a home. A lot of women like to carry their toiletries and makeup with them. You can use a Ziploc Essential Stuff Accessory Bag for that. I also like to use packing cubes for clothing and a towel. I use the thinner, yoga style towels for the gym versus regular towels to save space. Use another accessory bag for your lock and keys. Instead of using a grocery bag for your shoes, use shoe bags with zippers or draw strings if your gym bag doesn’t have a separate shoe compartment.
What tasks can busy moms give their children to help keep them organized?
I’m a mom and my son is ten years old and still needs reminders. I think that I was the odd kid that was into tidying and that’s probably why I ended up doing this. Kids will always want to play instead of doing chores. It’s really important to make it into an activity so that it’s fun for them. I like to play their favourite music and make it a game to try to get the items back to where they belong before the song ends. Make it more enjoyable for them so that it doesn’t feel like a chore and they feel like they are doing something fun.
What advice do you give people who have “fallen off the wagon” to get back into organizing?
Everyone tends to have this happen to them because life gets in the way and it can be overwhelming. I always stress that it’s important not to be so hard on yourself. There is always a reason why you fell off the wagon and that can just be a reflection of your life at that time. Realize that sometimes things just won’t get done. What I’ve found when I discovered the KonMari Method is that things can be put back a lot faster. Once you have done the method, you already know where things live. It’s just a matter of having that motivation again. Just remember it’s ok – we all tend to fall off the wagon from time to time.
Michele’s Timeless Tips for Tackling Clutter
Approach with the right mindset: If you’re struggling with motivation, try visualizing the end result and how it will make you feel. Then, get started. You’ll be amazed at how your confidence and enthusiasm will grow as you progress.
Organize by category: Whether you’re tackling your entire wardrobe or just your gym bag, focusing on one category at a time will help keep you on track.
Sort and let go: Sort items into three categories – keep, maybe and let go.
Time to tidy: After deciding what to keep, it’s time to put items away in a tidy, organized way.
Repeat: Once you’ve finished one category or area, move on to the next while you still feel the euphoria of your accomplishment! Cleaning out under bathroom vanities, sorting books and papers, or organizing your home office, can help you feel great every day.
Learn more about how to organize your home on Michele’s Instagram, Modern and Minimalist.