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A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting an organizing session for BREL clients. Our guide was Michele Delory of Modern and Minimalist, one of just a handful of Canadian professional organizers certified by Marie Kondo. We left the session with more than a few new skills and more importantly, we left INSPIRED. Scroll down for our takeaways, how-to videos and some inspirational ‘afters’ from my very own closet.

The good news: The Marie Kondo method isn’t about throwing everything away. It’s about being mindful of the items you choose to keep in your life and having a system so that everything has a home.

KonMari Concepts

  • Only keeps things that ‘spark joy’. Put the guilt aside and be mindful. It doesn’t matter who gave you an item or how much it costs…if it’s not sparking joy, it’s time to part ways.
  • The KonMari Method starts with making a commitment to a different way of living. What do you want your life to look like? What would your life be like without all that clutter? How creative could you be if you weren’t staring at piles of stuff? How much money would you save if you stopped buying new things ‘just because’ and focused instead on only buying things that spark joy?
  • Follow the method exactly as outlined below. There are 5 categories of items in your home and it’s important that you go through them in the right order.
  • The Method works when you go all-in – don’t just plan to spend 10 minutes a day and hope it gets done. When you start organizing a category, you need to finish it.
  • Don’t run out to buy organizing containers – that’ll just add to the clutter. Use what you have on hand (including all those shoe boxes that have been piling¬† up).

Step 1: Clothing

Does that shirt you bought on sale 6 months ago that you’ve never worn really spark joy? Will you realistically fit back into all those too-small clothes that you’ve been hanging onto for years?

Step 1 of Marie-Konding-ing your home involves piling ALL of your clothes in a giant pile and picking up each item individually. Does it spark joy? Do you want it as part of your future life? If no, donate or toss. As a rule of thumb: if you haven’t worn something in the past 6 months, get rid of it (unless it’s a seasonal piece).

One of the best parts about the KonMarie method is the clothes folding…seriously, it’s life-changing. Here’s how to fold a shirt:

And how to fold your pants:

Here’s how it looks when it’s organized neatly into a box:

Step 2: Books

It’s time to go after your books. Again, gather them all in one place; if it sparks joy¬† – keep it. If not? Recycle.

Step 3: Papers

It’s time to deal with all the papers lying around your house: receipts, insurance documents, past-due notices, home warranties, etc. Michel suggests having 3 boxes for all your papers:

  1. Act Now – think of this as a pending box – anything you need to act on in the short term
  2. Keep Temporarily – papers you need in your life for a shorter period of time (for example, the instruction book for your TV, your taxes (keep for 7 years) and the warranty for your iPhone).
  3. Keep Forever – insurance details, birth certificate, marriage certificate, university degree, etc.

If it doesn’t fit into one of the 3 paper categories, get rid of it: sale flyers, out-dated catalogues, tax info from 15 years ago and yes, even all those real estate postcards you’ve been hanging onto.

Step 4: Komono

‘Komono’ is Marie Kondo’s word for all the miscellaneous items in your home – everything in your kitchen, your bathroom, your tchotchkes, the stuff in your garage and basement. For most people, this is the biggest category to tackle and you’ll definitely want to consider creating some sub-categories to help you get through it all.

Remember: start by taking a realistic look at ALL your stuff; decide if it sparks joy and you want to keep it; and only then do you spend time organizing it. Avoid the urge to organize before purging.

Check out the Marie Kondo method for folding grocery bags – trust me, it’ll change your world.

Step 5: Sentimental Items

By now, you should be skilled at deciding what ‘sparks joy’. It’s time to go through the photos and momentoes and all the sentimental items in your home and decide: does this still spark joy? And if it sparks joy, how can I organize or display it so I can enjoy it?

Inspired? I was. Check out my new sock drawer!

You can read more about the KonMari organizing method by buying one of Marie Kondo’s books or watching the Netflix series.

Overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Call in the professionals. You can reach Michele here.

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