What’s the deal with Marie Kondo, and YES, I would like to Tidy Up!

All About Marie Kondo and Tidying Up Your Home

Who is Marie Kondo?  She’s a joyful Japanese woman who brings happiness to those who seek her “tidying” help.  Seriously.  I’m convinced it’s her choice of words like “Tidy” and “Joy” that draw you in.  She’s a tiny person with a lovely smile, and I believe in my heart that she truly wants people to simplify their lives so they may enjoy the richness that life has to offer.  She first hit the American landscape with her book, translated to English,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (available anywhere you buy books).  She has been on many television talk shows, but her latest big deal is her show on Netflix. 

To view her show, you will either need to subscribe to Netflix or see it with a friend who is subscribed.  You can also get a free month trial, which is plenty of time to stream the available Marie Kondo segments.  As of this post, 1-19-19, these are her shows:


You can reduce Marie Kondo method (Konmari) as follows: tackling your stuff by category rather than by room.
The Konmari Method

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.

The five categories:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (after you tackle your clothing, books, and papers, then you can go for spaces like the kitchen, garage, linen closets, and bathrooms.)
  5. Sentimental Items

#1 above, “Committing yourself” to this effort is tantamount to your success.  This sort of effort is not fun as you go along, until your first trip to the curb with bags of “stuff”.  It will take time, and it definitely will be worth it.

Because she is Japanese, and she uses a translator, I think we pay more attention to Marie. I think she loses some people when she asks them to hold an object in their hand to determine if  it “sparks joy”.  If not, then they are asked to thank the object for its service and send it to the trash heap.  I maybe could do that, but I’m not sure.  However, I understand the principal, and I think it’s a valuable concept.  Marie Kondo’s  goal is to help her clients respect the things around them, to be grateful for the people and things in our lives, and to grow to understand we may not need “more stuff”.  What we need is more quality time with our people and the world we are so fortunate to inhabit.

Use clear containers so you can see what’s inside; I think labels are fantastic!

I am new to Marie Kondo, and I think I will adopt some of her tactics in my own life.   One thing Marie recommends is using clear containers for storage, so you can see inside.  I also like to Label things.  My holiday decorations are all “tidily” stored in clear containers, and each is labelled with its contents.  It certainly makes Christmas easier.  When we re-did the kitchen a few years ago, I had special pull-out spice racks created, and I have labelled them.  Now I know where everything is located (and so does my husband, Stephen!)


Since this is a Real Estate blog, here are my thoughts on using Marie Kondo’s method, and some added tips.

  1. If you are tackling a home which has a lifetime of memories, in preparation for a move to a significantly smaller home,  give yourself plenty of time.  If you have a budget to work with, consider hiring a local organizer.  (I can help you with that)
  2. I think it is well worth the time to view two or three of the Marie Kondo segments on Netflix .  Then, sit down with a family member, a friend, or just a pad of paper – write down exactly what you would like to accomplish and why, and give yourself an amount of time to accomplish the task. 
    Example:  “I cannot put a car in my garage, because I have tubs to the ceiling, bags piled, and I know I own every tool imaginable, but sometimes I can’t even find a hammer! My goal is to see the floor of the garage again and be able to drive at least one car into the garage at night. My “why”? I want to be able to put my hands on my tools when I need them, I’m tired of scraping the ice from the car in the morning, and if I put my house on the market, people need to see my wonderful garage!  I will complete this task by  committing to 4 hours each of the next three Saturdays.”
  3. Talk with your Realtor, get advice about how to really show off your house.  Open spaces, TIDY spaces… they help you feel calm, and they have a calming effect on prospective buyers. 
  4. Add lights to closets and pantries.  I recently added a light to my small kitchen pantry, what a difference:

The lights are LED, motion-activated: I purchased them from Amazon. In real estate, you want LIGHT everywhere.  Brighten the space, light up closets!

Straighten your kitchen drawers!  You can do it!  You will love it, and if you are thinking about selling your house, your buyers will see how much space you really have in your kitchen.

One last video, this from MsMojo, a Canadian video content producer and publisher.

For more tips about maintaining your Charlottesville Home, please visit the following:
Habits of Really Clean People
5 Steps to a Healthier Charlottesville Home



If you are considering purchasing or selling a home in the Charlottesville area, please allow me the opportunity to help you put the pieces together.  Virginia Gardner, Roy Wheeler Realty Co., (434) 981-0871Email Virginia