If you’ve been on any social media platform recently, you would have come across the buzz surrounding Marie Kondo.  This little Japanese lady has been brewing up quite a bit of a storm. Although Marie Kondo has been around for some years now, she’s only recently caused this level of buzz when her show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ hit Netflix.

marie kondo i love mess
Image Credit: Giphy

In short, Marie Kondo is a ‘tidying guru’ that offers consultation services to people wanting to clear up the mess in their homes and offices. Marie Kondo’s distinct style of organizing stuff is called the KonMari method and she has released a book called ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’. 

In her Netflix series, Marie Kondo lays out some of her basic principals of clearing away the clutter. Here’s how to get started:

The Five Categories

Instead of tackling your belongings based on rooms or living spaces, Marie Kondo recommends tidying them up according to categories. The five categories of items are:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono ( Miscellaneous items)
  5. Sentimental items


  • Take all your clothes in your house and pile them onto one place, preferably your bed. This way, you can see how much clothing you actually have.
  • Inspect every piece of clothing to determine if you actually wear them and if they ‘spark joy’. This means that the clothes you never wear or wear very seldom should be isolated into a separate pile. Try not to keep more clothes than your cupboard can handle.
  • Clothes you choose to keep must be organized into several categories, namely tops, bottoms, clothes that need to be hung, underwear, socks/tights, bags, accessories, shoes and special clothes ( swimwear, uniforms, etc).
  • Clothes that need to be hung should be placed lightest( shirts, blouses) on the left and heaviest ( coats, sweaters) on the right.
  • Everything else should be folded up and placed into drawers or boxes. They should be folded so that they can stand upright on their own, and therefore be easily visible in your drawer. Here’s how to fold clothes the KonMari way:

  • Store your folded clothes upright in a vertical manner so that you can retrieve them without messing up other pieces of clothing.
konmari drawer
Image credit: Esther Westerveld@Flickr


  • Books should be gathered together on the floor and inspected individually
  • Again, you should only decide to keep the books that ‘spark joy’
  • Books that have been kept should be divided into three categories, general books (for pleasure), reference books (for practical instructions) and visual books.
  • Store your books according to their categories.


In general, Marie Kondo does not encourage you to keep any bits of papers. However, if you must keep them, follow these steps:

  • Gather all your papers and files together on one table.
  • Separate the papers into papers to be discarded, papers that need action and papers to be kept as references.
  • You will need to have boxes ready to store the ‘papers that need action’ and ‘papers for references’. Keep these boxes in readily accessible places, and keep the number of boxes to a minimum, preferably only one each.

Komono or Miscellaneous Items

There are many categories of Komono in your home. The key to organizing Komono is two-fold.

The first is to separate everything into categories, like makeup, DIY tools, kitchen tools, electrical items and more.

For this category, Marie Kondo recommends having boxes to store your things. Inspect every item to ensure that they ‘spark joy’ and only keep them if they do.

Once all your items of one category are sorted, organize them with boxes or pouches. This will make it easier to find them. Marie Kondo also recommends keeping things in clear plastic boxes or open boxes in places that you can see, so that you don’t end up buying more of the same stuff.

Sentimental Items

It’s not easy to let go of old photo albums or letters you’ve received. This is why Marie Kondo suggests that you have a ‘Sentimental box’ or treasure box. Put all your ‘treasures’ within this box, with albums in an upright position, and small accessories stored in special boxes.

Use Hikidashi Boxes

Marie Kondo always uses boxes to help organize things, and you should too. Boxes should themselves spark joy, and be of good quality so that they can stand for a long time. Each box should hold one category of items, and this makes finding things a lot easier.

In some parts of the house like a kitchen, you may want to consider having sectioned trays to sort out different categories of cooking utensils and the like.

The ‘Throwing Out’ Controversy

The KonMari method has not been without controversy. Some have accused this method of promoting wastage, by encouraging people to ‘throw out’ whatever doesn’t spark joy. To be fair, Marie Kondo has never outrightly said you should trash the items you don’t want.

Instead of binning stuff when carrying out the KonMari method, always find out whether you can donate them to a local charity, or find the nearest recycling center, or Salvation Army.

marie kondo spark joy
Image Credit: Giphy

The essence of the KonMari method is always to be thankful and grateful for what you have used, and even for the home in which you’re living. Anything you discard should be done with reverence and gratefulness for the experiences it has given you. Don’t forget to follow us on Shopback’s very own home and living section for more tips on how to organize your home and workplace.

* Featured Image Credit: Web Summit | Flickr