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Does the KonMari method of cleaning work?


Ever examined your possessions and wondered if they spark joy?

Anyone familiar with Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo, best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, knows of her penchant for perfectly folded clothes, paperless offices, sparse bookshelves and, of course, keeping only belongings that make you feel good. If you’ve not heard of her methods, check out our article How to organise your wardrobe the KonMari way for some good insights.

But can the so-called KonMari method really put a dent in your clutter or is it yet another strategy that makes you feel guilty about being unable to keep a tidy home?

Marie Kondo’s inspired ideas about cleaning have changed the way millions clean their homes. Picture: Getty

Going Japanese

Sally Flower is Australia’s first certified KonMari consultant-in-training. She says the method is just as applicable in Japan, where homes are typically teeny-tiny.

Declutting guru Marie Kondo champions a paperless office. Picture: Getty

“In Australia, even though we have bigger homes, it just means that we fill them up,” says Sally. “We have so much stuff that the number of decisions our minds have to make each day goes into overdrive.

“If you know that when you get home and take off your jacket it’s got its own home in your house, it reduces the amount of decisions you have to make each day, which helps you to live a simpler life and to spend time on things you love.”

The KonMari method celebrates less is more and ultimately simple ways of living. Picture: Getty

Joy not minimalism

Professional organiser Chantal Imbach from Simply in Order says the KonMari method works. “I’ve read the book twice and tried it myself – I have to say it did work,” she says.

“I like the sequence that she uses that starts with clothes and ends with your sentimental stuff because during the process you’re honing your decluttering skills and once you arrive at the sentimental stuff it becomes a little bit easier.”

Crucially, Chantal says the KonMari method is effective because the goal is joy rather than simply owning less. “It’s not about minimalism,” she says. “Once you reach the level of organisation you want, it’s about maintaining it so it doesn’t become overwhelming again.”

Hone in your decluttering skills by starting with your clothes. Picture: West Elm

No one-size-fits-all approach

That said, both Chantal and Robyn Amott, a decluttering coach from Bless This Mess, say there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to paring back your belongings. So while the KonMari method works for some, neatly folded underwear is too much for others.

“People have different personalities so different formats work for different people,” says Robyn. “For some people, it’s better to ask if things have a purpose rather than spark joy. Much simpler questions can be more effective than feeling like it’s got to be something that makes your heart sing because sometimes possessions don’t make you do that.

“Plus, I find a lot of people prefer to hang clothing whereas Marie Kondo suggests origami-folding everything. Families with three kids probably aren’t going to have time to fold clothes neatly in their drawers!”

New year, new you, so make the time to get organised right now. Go on, declutter and clean your home the KonMari way – you’ll be thankful you did!

This article was originally published as Does the KonMari method of cleaning work? by and is written by Angela Tufvesson.

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