The 411: (Spring) Cleaning Up

Spring is the perfect time to throw open the windows and doors and clean out all that clutter that’s been building over the winter. But how do you start? If haven’t been living under a rock, then you’ve heard of the movement led by Marie Kondo and her joy-sparking ways to creating a happier home and a better quality of life. The bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and tidying guru, Marie recently made an appearance on GMA Strahan & Sara, and I thought I’d share some of the most important lessons I learned from the experience. 

Embrace change. Marie described the KonMari Method as “a journey of self-exploration” to find out what you love, what you no longer have use for, and what you really need. I’ve always found it hard to part with things and Marie made a point of saying to focus on the things that we love, the things that “spark joy” for us, as opposed to the things we want to give away. It’s a really positive way of looking at the process and definitely opened up my thinking to the whole thing. 

Give thanks. One of the nicest parts of this process (and I’ll be honest, the easiest) is showing gratitude for the space—your home, your office, your man cave—you’re about to tidy up. Marie does this by kneeling down in the heart of the room and silently saying a prayer of gratitude for all of the things it has allowed you to achieve and do in your life. (I have to say … it sort of brought a tear to my eye.) 

Pile it on. The idea when you start to declutter is to do it by category of stuff and not by room. Marie’s golden rule is to take everything in a particular category (e.g. office, clothing, linens) and bring every single thing together to thank it, sort (keep or toss) it, and then put it away. Starting in a place like your home office or your linen closet is definitely the easiest way to get into the KonMari groove, so moving onto your clothes won’t be so hard. It’s definitely an interesting exercise to see all of your clothes in one, giant pile, and really puts into perspective how much you have and what you really love and need. Pro tip: Because this can be an emotional process, leave things like books, photographs, and other nostalgia for last.  

Master the fold. One of the most important steps is learning how to fold your clothes the right way. I hang a lot of stuff inside closets, so folding was a whole, new experience for me. I wasn’t really aware there was a wrong way to do it, either, but once I got the hang of the KonMari rectangular fold (you can see a step-by-step guide here), I found the process really therapeutic and kind of fun.