3 Simple Tips for Identifying What to Keep or Purge Based On the KonMari Method

I have to say, there has never been a time quite like now in my career where there has been so much buzz about organization. After Netflix released it’s new series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on New Years Day, there’s been so much chatter surrounding the tidying expert across news channels and press outlets, social media feeds, and friends, clients and family have brought it up on a daily basis.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the show, world-renowned tidying expert and best selling author Marie Kondo helps people transform their homes through her simple decluttering and tidying tips. The transformations are incredible, and the show does a great job of documenting the emotional process and benefits of getting organized.

Since the show’s release 3 weeks ago, I’ve received countless questions asking how my approach to getting organized compares to Marie Kondo’s method (KonMari Method). The method has 6 rules:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.

  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

  3. Finish discarding first.

  4. Tidy by category, not location.

  5. Follow the right order.

  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

I believe that the KonMari Method works because it uses clearly defined rules and focuses on the emotional side and benefits of organization. I’ve said it so many times before, but your physical clutter truly impacts your mental clutter which can lead to frustration, embarrassment, anxiety, guilt, and a slew of other negative emotions. The KonMari Method aims to get you to a place where you are able to declutter and make your home a simplified, inspiring space that is only full of pieces that “spark joy”.

Ok, so how do you determine what sparks joy? And how can you identify what should be kept, donated, or trashed? Here’s my take on how to determine what to do based on the popular KonMari Method.

Rachel Rosenthal - Closet - www.rachelrosenthal.co

3 Tips for Determining If Something Sparks Joy (and if you should keep it or donate it!)

TIP #1 - Consider how it makes you feel when you wear/use the item.

As you edit your closet contents, make sure that what is being stocked in your closet are items that not only fit but are also things that you like to wear. Trying on multiple outfits each morning is not only frustrating, but time consuming. Having pieces that you know will look great and make you feel confident wearing is key to getting your day started on the right foot.

Identify other problem areas that can include items that can cause frustration. For example, in the kitchen there may be storage containers toppling over that make packing lunches a true nightmare. Once you identify the categories that are causing you frustration, dig a little deeper to identify which items in those categorize could be the culprit for your frustration and discard them.

TIP #2 - Consider the value.

While your grandmother’s china and great-aunt’s table linens may be collecting dust in your cabinets, check it’s value before letting it go. Whether that means having an estate company determine its worth or seeing if another family wants to have it passed down to them, do your research.

And when it comes to personal keepsakes, you really are the only one able to make the judgement call on what stays and what goes from this category. If you’re ready to condense your keepsakes, start by weeding out lesse emotional items, like items that don’t bring up positive memories or make you feel happy.

TIP #3 - Consider the benefits/convenience that it brings to your home/life.

There are items that don’t get a ton of use, but are handy to keep because of the “just in case” moments. These are the things that are nice to have on hand for the sake of convenience, to save yourself from running out and trying to find a replacement when the time comes. So for things that would be difficult to replace (like a unique decorative spare button for your coat), or that you know you will need eventually (like chandelier light bulbs), don’t be so quick to toss them out.

This also applies for anyth, set aside the car seats, crib, and stroller, even if they aren’t currently being used. These type of big ticket items are ones that are more costly to replace, especially if the chances that you would have to replace them if they ended up being donated are high.

*BONUS TIP - Repurpose what you have on hand! Before you let go of the empty storage bins sitting in your garage and storage room, think outside of the box to determine if they can be used somewhere else in the house. After an item has been used in a particular area of the house (or for a specific purpose), it can be difficult to see it as an option for anywhere/anything else. But, Tupperware containers that have lost their lid mate can serve as great drawer inserts for smaller categories (junk drawers, water bottles, snacks, etc.). And a storage bin for the garage is just as helpful for storing seasonal clothing, holiday decor, and bulk household items. Get creative before tossing (and later spending money to replace the item!).

Tell me: Have you been watching the Marie Kondo show on Netflix? If so, what do you think?