Tips for Making the Marie Kondo Method Work In Your Busy Life

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” or watched her popular Netflix show “Tidying Up”?  The woman seriously knows how to declutter and organize a home!

Whether you have an abundance of clothes and gear for your young family, things left in your house from grown children, or sentimental heirlooms, Kondo has a tried and tested method for decluttering.  She can take the most overwhelming home and get it organized. And she promises that you’ll never go back to the way things were!

The KonMari Steps

In case you’re unfamiliar with Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, let me give you a quick review.

It focuses on two basic principles 1) discarding and 2) deciding where to store things.  Kondo gives 6 rules for her discarding process which she says you must follow to be successful.

1) Sort by category, not by room e.g. clothes, books, etc.

2) Make it an event…(a marathon that could last up to 6 months)

3) Put all of the category items in one pile on the floor before you start to discard

4) Focus more on the things you want to keep vs. trying to get rid of stuff

5) Only keep items that “spark joy” forget all other criteria!

6) Address each category in the following order: Clothes, Books, Paper, Miscellaneous (Kimono), and Sentimental things.

Decluttered cabinet with text Tips for Making the Marie Kondo Method Work in Your Busy Life

Don’t Follow Marie Kondo’s Rules

As much as I admire her technique and the results, her approach just isn’t possible as a busy mom.  After reading both of her books, I did exactly what she told me NOT TO do. I didn’t follow her order. I didn’t bring everything into the middle of the room. I didn’t go on a decluttering marathon. Lastly, I kept many things that I needed that did not “spark joy.”

I didn’t follow Marie Kondo’s rules.  Instead, I chose pieces of her method that would work for me and my family.  Let me share with you how I applied Maria Kondo’s practices…it isn’t as she prescribes, but it works if you don’t have much time!

Does It Spark Joy

First, let’s talk about her one and only criteria, “Does it Spark Joy?”

This is a great criteria that you should use.  How often have you considered your emotions towards an object and let it be THE deciding factor of whether you keep it or not?  You may have been only focused on practical things like do you use the item or is it worn out etc. 

Her joy criteria gave me permission to get rid of things that were not worn out or that I may use, but not love.  It was very freeing to accept this new criteria.  I realized I kept things in my home because I felt I and to.  In reality, I wasn’t using them, they were just taking up my time and space as I shuffled them around.

I encourage you to incorporate the “joy” criteria…but, break the rules by not making it your only criteria.  I found the “joy” criteria too limiting.  There were just some things that I need to keep…things that don’t bring me joy.  

The Decluttering Marathon

Do you find it near impossible to work on a project for a couple of hours?  Imagine dedicating months to a project?   It’s just not realistic for most modern-day families.  Life is busy.

That’s why I decluttered in small chunks of time.  If you take this approach, you should aim for progress, not perfection.  (Marie Kondo is aiming for perfection – which is totally admirable)

Instead of doing all of the clothes in your entire home, just do the kid’s clothes…one drawer at a time.  Or just do the dresses in your closet…then the suits…then the tops as time permits.

I used Marie Kondo’s vertical filing technique for our clothes.  It was seriously life-changing, but, I didn’t do it as a marathon.  I went drawer by drawer.  Then I made sure my husband knew how to do it and now I’m teaching my kids.  I’m happy to share that two years later, we still have our drawers organized the same way.

Address Each Category In A Specific Order

Like Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way!”  Part of not being overwhelmed with decluttering and home organization is following your own motivation and passion.  You may have days where that junk drawer is totally bugging you and you would feel such a sense of accomplishment if you could get that one thing organized. 

There may be other times when you have a lot more energy to give to your home organization projects.  Maybe it’s January and you’re motivated by a fresh start.  It’s time to start with a clean slate, so you want to reorganize all of the clothes or take on your paper clutter.

Go where you have passion and purpose.  Take on the decluttering project large or small that works for you.

I decluttered as time permitted…and some days it was one drawer at a time…in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom.  Other days, I was motivated to tackle an entire project like the basement storage closet.  Declutter by room or category in a way that works for you.

Decluttering Progress without Perfection

Even though I didn’t do the KonMari method, I still learned a lot from Marie Kondo. I just made tweaks so that her approach could work for me in this season in life.

If you’re ready to declutter but overwhelmed by this popular method, consider the following.

  • What areas in your home are the most important to you?
  • Are they functioning as you need them to?
  • Do they make you happy or frustrated?

If you want more tips for how to get organized when you have little time, check out this post?

5 Steps to Home Organization When You Have No Time

If you’d prefer to do the KonMari method as prescribed, check out this post.

The Exact Way to do Marie Kondo’s Decluttering Method

Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection. Life is busy and there’s a lot on your plate.  Give yourself permission to find a home organization method that works for you.





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