Mrs. Clean

Natasha Sidik


For college students, keeping your place neat is probably something that doesn’t seem significantly important. Beyond the stacks of school, work and chores, re-organizing can easily take a backseat. However, decluttering and cleaning may provide more advantages than one would think.

What is KonMari?

Marie Kondo’s way of tidying up is taking the world by storm, otherwise known as the KonMari method. Just two years ago, when her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” was translated to English, it quickly sold millions of copies and started appearing on many best-seller lists in the U.S. But her influence didn’t stop there — publishers from around the world saw the frenzy this book garnered and followed suit.

After the 2018 release of Netflix’s Original Series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” the KonMari process of decluttering came into the spotlight once again. The popularity and buzz around this method, which claims to have the power to change lives, is becoming a bigger trend than it ever was before.

In her book, Kondo gave testimonial examples from her Japanese clients who found positive impacts after adapting KonMari techniques into their lives: being able to follow their dream job, being able to leave an unhappy relationship, being on better terms with their spouse or being able to lose weight.

A diverse range of American households portrayed on her recent TV show illuminated the effect of Kondo’s practices on places and settings much closer to home. By doing so, the show helped familiarize Western audiences to new methods they wouldn’t usually be exposed to.

The underlying goal of the KonMari system is to create a home where the person is surrounded by things that “spark joy” to them through a single intensive decluttering and organization process. As what “sparks joy” varies person-to-person: this process tends to be a very personal experience.

The idea is not merely to clean up, but to drastically change the perspectives people have about the items they own — from unused makeup samplers to piles of holiday decor.

The Rundown

According to Kondo, items are divided into categories: clothing, books, papers, “komono” (which means miscellaneous items) and sentimental items. She recommends following the order above during the process.

Besides working via category, the KonMari method instructs individuals to do their cleaning and decluttering in one go rather than doing it little-by-little. For example, when it comes to clothes, she recommends collecting all of their clothes in your house and stacking them into one pile.

The reason it’s done this way, according to Kondo, is because decluttering is more than just occasionally cleaning; it’s one big change — which is why her clients don’t usually don’t revert back to their old ways. This mindset plays a central role in the process.

After compiling all the items in a category, individuals sift through what they own and choose items to discard and to keep. This is where the big perspective shift occurs: Kondo teaches that the key to these decisions is how an item makes you feel, and specifically, if it “sparks joy.”

To clarify, joy does not necessarily mean happiness. For example, under the category of “books,” if you have a beloved book that is dark and grim (as in, it doesn’t make you feel happy) but is important to you, then that would be classified as something that “sparks joy.”

The Transformation

The KonMari process is admittedly not the easiest and can seem intimidating, but people throughout the globe have found that the payoff is worth it.

Having to discard belongings isn’t easy for many — it can be terrifying. This is the one of the many reasons the human psyche drives some people to excessively hoard. For people raised in a capitalist society, it’s difficult to undergo such a huge change.

The KonMari method may not be for everyone. However, something to keep in mind is that the idea of “less is more” differs in each household. There is no need to compare yourself to others; the goal is to transform the quality of your life through the physical aspects of your home.