Menu

10 steps for decluttering the Marie Kondo way

What to do after you're done binge-watching her show.

10 steps for decluttering the Marie Kondo way

After becoming a mother I quickly realized how difficult it can be to balance all of the things that come along with being a mom. I found myself in the middle of motherhood constantly cleaning up, organizing and just managing all of our STUFF, or just living in all the mess that comes with having little kids.

That was until I had my own realization that I didn't need most of this stuff that was constantly taking up my time and peace of mind. That's when both my husband and I decided to get rid of most of our possessions and start new with what we absolutely needed.

We have been living a minimalist lifestyle ever since, and that's when I came to know about Marie Kondo, and fully embraced her methods for keeping a tidy home. This is what I learned:

1. Declutter BEFORE organizing

Moving things around solves a momentary problem. Things will get messy again, but decluttering and then organizing the things that truly bring us joy is what makes the difference. Stop managing all the stuff that is cluttering your life and let the things that don't bring you joy go once and for all.

2. Take photos of your spaces before you begin

Taking photos isn't to make you feel bad, it is actually a motivator to keep you going. It can be discouraging not to see results right away, and as you declutter you may feel as if you're not making any progress, but looking back at the photos will bring you back to the reality of what used to be. And once you are done the photos will show you how far you've come.



3. Start the tidying up process with clothes first

In her book, Spark Joy, Kondo explains "Clothes are ideal for practicing [the tidying up] skill first."

Your clothes are very personal items in which you have complete control over what goes and what stays. To start, Kondo believes it's important to take every article of clothing you own and put them into one big pile. This will allow you to see everything you have in one place, and help you evaluate what to keep and what to get rid of in one shot.

4. Hold each item in your hands, and ask yourself, "Does this item bring me joy?"

If an item brings you joy, keep it! If it doesn't let it go.

In Spark Joy Kondo suggests that if you don't know where to begin or what sparks joy, "Pick three items from a pile, and give yourself three minutes to decide. The best way to identify what does or doesn't bring you joy is to compare. When you compare each item with a bunch of other things, your feelings become clear. "[Items that bring you joy are also items with] A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler... or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives."

5. Before getting rid of an item, hold it and say, "Thank you"

Really take a second to appreciate the joy each item gave you at a time in your life, the person that gave it to you, and just to be thankful to have owned it.

6. Fold clothes the Marie Kondo way

Once you have selected the items you want to keep, fold your clothes in a "file system" the Marie Kondo way. Folding clothes actually reduces the amount of space in your closet taken by clothes, while allowing you to easily find the items that you love.



7. Tidy sentimental items last

Have you ever started decluttering and found a bunch of old pictures, and before you know it you have spent the last three hours going through them, with no desire to keep at the task you were doing before? It's important that you remember to leave the sentimental items LAST. After decluttering and organizing all of the necessities in your home, then we have space to add and organize the beautiful emotional items we want to keep.

8. Know that it will look worse before it looks better.

Taking everything out to declutter will make it feel like it will never look better, but Marie herself believes that it's a necessary step for you to really see how much you have and to push you to tidy up. In her own words "No matter how cluttered it looks, don't pause, don't stop, don't quit"

9. Do and your children will follow.

When our children see us tidy up, and know that there's a place for everything at home, it's much easier for them to follow. Teach them to have a place for their things as well, and allow them to be involved in the process of cleaning up.


10. Tidy up BEFORE you move.

"If you want to meet a beautiful home that is just right for you, take care of the one you live in now." Kondo writes.

It's so easy to start the decluttering process as you get ready to move. But how much easier is it to move once you know that everything you own you already love? Stop putting off the clutter and start now!

You might also like:

In This Article

    Is the BabyBjörn portable travel crib worth it?

    100% unequivocally yes.

    I have this weird brown birthmark on the bottom of my right foot near my pinkie toe and my mother always said, "That means you'll never stay still. You'll travel everywhere." (She's full of interesting superstitions like that.) I'm not sure if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy or what but I've always had a love for travel, and before we had a child (in those glorious pre-pandemic times), my husband and I traveled all over Europe, did two road trips across different parts of the United States and even flew all the way around the world to visit my family in the Philippines.

    I had this weird idea that I had to get all my traveling in before I became a mom. Because once you become a mom, you just become content sitting at home with the kids, right?

    Eh, wrong.

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life