The Best of Marie Kondo: Organizing for Real Life (2022)

How to organize your life using Our Version of the marie kondo Method

Who is familiar with the Marie Kondo Method of Tidying Up? Raise your hand. It has not just taken the nation by storm, it has taken the world by storm. She has started an organizing revolution. It’s amazing, and apparently needed by many people. However, Marie Kondo’s method is not for everyone.

In fact, her method is drastic and for many of us, too daunting. So, Jodie and I have taken her inspiration and created our own modified version. Our recommendations employ the best aspects of her philosophy and process and make it attainable for real life. It is working for us, and we think it will work for you.

For more tips and inspiration to help you get organized this year, be sure to read about how I created my Dream Office and how I organized my Pantry. And, if you missed it, be sure to read about how I created a fun Kid’s Study Space. We love sharing our organizing projects with you.

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The Best of Marie Kondo: Organizing for Real Life (2)

Jump to...

  • What is the Marie Kondo Method of Organizing?
  • Let’s Talk About Finding the “Spark of Joy”
  • My Master Closet
  • My Story with Marie Kondo Method
  • Real Life Organizing
  • The Design Twins’ Real Life Organizing Method
  • Timing
  • Our System of Disposal
  • Shop Our Organizing Favorites
  • We Love Marie Kondo

What is the Marie Kondo Method of Organizing?

The Marie Kondo Philosophy

In case you’ve miss this whole revolution, let’s get you caught up. Marie Kondo’s “KonMari Method” of tidying applies the philosophy that everything you own should “spark joy” in you. And if it doesn’t, you should let it go. This selective process frees you to more fully enjoy the things you keep and also enjoy your home and ultimately your life.

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The Marie Kondo Process

Marie Kondo has you work through all your possessions by category, not area. This is the biggest difference with her method. Her categories are as follows:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books/Papers
  3. Komono (miscellaneous) which is a HUGE category
  4. Sentimental (photos/memorabilia)

The order is important. You start with the easiest category and end with the toughest, which makes sense.

Instead of working by area, it is essential for her method that you tackle an entire category at once. For example, as a first step she insists on having her clients take every single article of clothing they own from every place in the home and pile it in one mountain of clothes. The shock factor is part of the process. Seeing all that you own makes you finally realize just how unnecessary most of our clothing collections are. Now that it is all out, you are forced to “deal with” each and every item. Having the mountain of belongings out and in your way means you can’t get on with your life until you finish.

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(Video) 10 Amazing Tips from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

The Problems with the KonMari Method

There are two main obstacles to her process:

  1. Time. The main problem for most of us busy people is the time commitment necessary. When you take every single item in a category and place it in a mountainous heap in the middle of your bed or floor it needs to be dealt with before life can continue. Who has 10-20 hours at a time available to them?
  2. Anxiety. It’s overwhelming and anxiety producing. This mental roadblock is as real as the timing issue. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As excited as I was, I couldn’t begin. This girl hates mess. Big time. No promise of a joy-filled future could bring me to create the kind of overwhelming mess necessary to get there.

Let’s Talk About Finding the “Spark of Joy”

Marie Kondo has you hold each piece and decide if it “sparks joy.” Some people struggle with this process. We don’t all connect with inanimate objects and feel emotion. Many people slowly evolve and improve. If you don’t relate on an emotional level to the items you own, how do you decide?

The whole question of need, function, practicality, past, present, and future all come into play as we try to decide what to keep and what to let go of. Marie Kondo says let go of the past and the future in order to be happy in the now. We really agree with this as a goal. We love how this parallels our own philosophy of life. To be happy in our hearts and minds we need to do the same. So, it makes great sense that we should apply this to our belongings as well.

Jodie and I agree with this as a goal, but it can be challenging. It is a bit idealistic because we run into trouble when our ice scraper fails to bring us joy, and yet we know that one day next winter we might need it. Finding joy in each and every possession you hold onto is unrealistic for most of us. We “need” a few more things to allow our lives to properly function.

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My Master Closet

I used the philosophy of keeping only what sparks joy to help me go through all my clothes in our master closet. But I didn’t take everything out and heap it on my bed. Where would I have slept during the week-long project?

Our compromise advice: Take small increments of time available and work through the closet. You will be encouraged by progress. Remember, the goal is progress not perfection.

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My Story with Marie Kondo Method

I first read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo on a beach vacation in Mexico (of all places) four years ago. I remember not being happy that it was the only book I had left to read. In the first few chapters I remember clearly thinking, “who is this crazy lady?” and by the end I had bought into everything she was saying, mesmerized by her promises of life-changing joy. It was the only book in my life that I finished and immediately turned back to page one to reread it. Yes, I wanted what Marie Kondo promised.

I returned home from that vacation ready to go, just as soon as I could find the time. Mind you, this was before blogging or any big Instagram commitment. I didn’t have a lot on my plate four years ago, and even as excited as I was, I still had a hard time starting. In fact, it was so hard to begin I never did. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So what progress did I make? None, zero.

(Video) 10 genius ideas of MARIE KONDO for ideal home | OrgaNatic

Real Life Organizing

We agree conceptually with most everything Marie Kondo presents, and in a perfect world with nothing else to do, maybe we could embrace the process. But the reality is that we are busy, busy, busy, just like all of you. We don’t have 10 hours of time available ever.

So we wholeheartedly believe that progress, any progress, is better than none. Wouldn’t you agree? It has been four years of thinking, hoping, even praying, that I could attack my growing disorganization. It is beginning to weigh me down. My extensive storage in my home is nearly full, which makes me uneasy just thinking about it. I need to begin, so I need to compromise.

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Wow, what a difference folding can make! Who knew? This only took me five minutes.

The Design Twins’ Real Life Organizing Method

Marie Kondo is all about perfection. And we think perfection is over-rated. We believe that shooting for perfection can make the task impossible. So let’s compromise.


Most weeks are busy, but within the framework of a week we all have an hour here and an hour there. These small bits of time can be put to use. Sit down with your calendar and peek at the week. Look for openings. Jodie and I like 30 min – 1 hour slots.

Pencil in organizing dates with yourself. Even if you can tackle a drawer or a small closet that is progress. The feeling you get from this will motivate you to do it again. Progress is exciting. It’s not overwhelming. It’s workable.

Besides the planned “dates” when you find yourself “puttering about” use that time to tackle another area. This works really well for me. I’ve started to get into the habit of just opening a cupboard, drawer or closet and getting to work. It’s like the feeling I get from doing a mini workout. I’m mentally energized with the feeling of productivity.

Our System of Disposal

The system both Jodie and I have used for years is simple. We get three bags out.

  1. Trash
  2. Recycle
  3. Donations

The Win/Win of Donation

If you don’t regularly donate items, first identify your preferred donation recipients. Over the years we’ve had various families who we contributed to. We have our church who takes certain things. And we have several donation drop off areas that we can give to as well. If you have a variety of donation options, you might have 2-3 donation bags working at once.

Donating to charities you care about really helps with the process of letting go. When you know that you aren’t just “throwing it away” but giving it to a better home and people that need it you can much more easily let go. Many of us have a deeply rooted philosophy that we don’t want to “waste.” Donating items means you aren’t wasting, you’re giving. It creates a win/win scenario.

(Video) Marie Kondo: Organize the World | The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

For more info on the Mari Kondo’s method of tidying up, check out Good Housekeeping’s article.

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Shop Our Organizing Favorites

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We Love Marie Kondo

Now don’t get us wrong. We love Marie Kondo and her passion for organizing and finding joy in what we own. Her philosophy regarding simplifying life by letting go of what you don’t need and what may be weighing you down makes wonderful sense. We highly recommend reading her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Or if you prefer, watch her show on Netflix called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Both will inspire you to begin this journey. However, if you are like us, you may find yourself at a stand-still. In fact, you may not even be able to begin. Her method is so daunting and time-consuming. Instead of aiming for a radical overhaul we prefer a compromise. Compromising is better than staying stuck. Our goal therefore is progress not perfection.

Wishing you an organized, joy-filled home!

jodie & julie

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Article Name

The Best of Marie Kondo: Organizing for Real Life


We take the best of the Marie Kondo Method of organizing and make it doable for real life. We employ her philosophy of simplifying and finding joy to a more realistic system that everyone can accomplish. Instead of shooting for unattainable goals we recommend a compromise that puts progress before perfection.


The Design Twins

Publisher Name

The Design Twins

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The Best of Marie Kondo: Organizing for Real Life (16)

(Video) Life-Changing Lessons: Marie Kondo tips to Declutter and Organize

(Video) Top 10 Organizing Insights from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo


How does Marie Kondo organize? ›

The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.

How do I organize my room Marie Kondo? ›

Marie Kondo's 8 Best Tips for Organizing Your Bedroom
  1. Greet your room. ...
  2. Only keep the items that spark joy. ...
  3. Always Make your bed. ...
  4. Wash your sheets regularly. ...
  5. Organize your things by category. ...
  6. Arrange your belongings by colour. ...
  7. Get the lighting right. ...
  8. Work on your own space then tidy up with the family.
Feb 20, 2019

Who is famous for decluttering? ›

Marie Kondo

How does Marie Kondo organize their drawers? ›

marie kondo method organizing dresser drawers hacks | Miss Louie

How long does it take to KonMari your house? ›

Done properly, Kondo estimates in the book that it should take about six months, and while she allows that this might seem like a long time, really, “it is only six months out of your entire life.” (A representative from the KonMari brand has contacted Vox to say that Kondo has now revised this estimate, saying, “The ...

How can I declutter my house quickly? ›

10 Steps to Declutter Your Home:
  1. Schedule a block of time to focus on decluttering. ...
  2. Keep only what you've used in the last year. ...
  3. Get rid of duplicate items. ...
  4. Create a designated spot for items you want to keep. ...
  5. Utilize your furniture storage. ...
  6. Label every item. ...
  7. Cut back on paper clutter by digitalizing your keepsakes.

How do you organize too many clothes? ›


How does Marie Kondo organize clothes on shelves? ›

How to Organize Your Closet the KonMari Way - YouTube

How do Japanese organize their homes? ›

Using Vertical Space

"Some of the philosophies the Japanese swear by are using space vertically when possible, such as stacking items," says Kamiya. "We also use little boxes and bags to organize items, and we try to group most things, whether it's in the kitchen, bathroom, or the closet."

What is Marie kondos famous phrase? ›

Her phrase, "spark joy", has become immensely popular after the success of the Netflix show, 'Tidying Up With Marie Kondo'. Marie Kondo quotes have taught us to get rid of excess clutter and put all the things away from the past that don't contribute to our lives anymore.

What is Marie kondos method called? ›

From her years of research and experience working with hundreds of clients emerged a unique approach to tidying: The KonMari Method™️. Designed to help you never revert to clutter again, Marie's teachings are centered by the Method's one-of-a-kind selection criterion – if something brings you joy, keep it!

What should go in each dresser drawer? ›

“Consider the dresser drawer contents as a reflection of the order in which you dress your body,” says Hassan. Fill the top drawers with items you put on first, such as undergarments and socks, then reserve the bottom drawers for items you put on last.

Does rolling clothes save space in drawers? ›

Rolling Clothes Saves More Space than Folding or Hanging Clothes. The biggest advantage of rolling clothes is that they take up less space. This is because you are able to stack them tighter together and fill up all the little nooks and crannies in your dresser. When you fold clothes you often are not able to do this.

What do you put in empty dresser drawers? ›

Dresser drawers provide an excellent place to store T-shirts, tank tops, socks, and other articles of clothing. But they also can wind up becoming a spot to pack away items you don't wear—and probably won't wear again.

How does Marie Kondo organize clothes on shelves? ›

How to Organize Your Closet the KonMari Way - YouTube

What are the Marie Kondo categories? ›

The 5 KonMari Tidying Categories: Clothing, Books, Paper, Misc and Mementos
  • Clothing.
  • Books.
  • Paper.
  • Misc.
  • Mementos.
Feb 20, 2019

How do I organize my kitchen Marie Kondo? ›

To keep your kitchen clean and organized, set it up right. Put all items of the same type together in one place. Kondo likes to think vertically, shelf by shelf. For example, cereal and snacks on the bottom shelf, canned food and jars of grains and beans on the next, flour and baking goods on top, etc.


1. 10 Marie Kondo Organization Tips That Will Change Your Life in Minutes
(Kate Choo)
2. The KONMARI organization for real people. Organized apartment tour | OrgaNatic
3. Watch Marie Kondo Reveals Her Best Tips For Organizing Your At-Home Office
(Entertainment Tonight)
4. From mess to success: How I organize the Marie Kondo way! Try yourself
5. EP61: How to Organize Your World the Marie Kondo Way
(SUCCESS Magazine)
6. What Marie Kondo's Home Really Looks Like
(The List)

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