5 ways to apply the KonMari method beyond your home

We have put together five other ways to use the KonMari method so you can declutter the rest of your life too.

Marie Kondo, author and founder of the KonMari method

Admit it, you need the KonMari method in your life. Even if you’re the most OCD person in the world when it comes to tidiness and organisation, you’ve probably struggled with hoarding or parting with certain things in your house at one point.

In case you have no idea what we’re talking about (which means you’ve been fasting from literally every mainstream media), the KonMari method is the art of decluttering and organising your home developed by Japanese author and acclaimed tidying expert Marie Kondo.

In her #1 New York Times best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Kondo encourages tidying by category instead of location and only keeping things that “spark joy” (or tokimeki, the Japanese word meaning to flutter, throb or palpitate). Thank the items that no longer do before discarding them and proceed to organise the items that do. (Just get on Netflix, watch the new hit series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” and you’ll get the gist.)

But what about other areas of your life that need a little spring cleaning? We have put together five other ways to use the KonMari method so you can declutter the rest of your life too. Happy Kondo-ing!

Decluttering your inbox

Who else has 1,759 unread emails in their inbox? And that’s not counting spam messages and junk too. It can be tempting to hit ‘select all’ followed by ‘delete’, but then you might risk losing some important emails and contacts.

In her book, Kondo wrote, “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to keep things. Of the two, discarding must come first.” Start with a specific category, from easiest to hardest. We find it best to go through spam and junk mail first, then the newsletters you’re subscribed to, followed by work and personal emails. Keeping the above tip in mind, delete what’s unnecessary before grouping the remaining emails into specific categories for easier reference.

Reshuffling your phone applications

These days, there’s almost an app for everything. You may even have apps to organise everyday areas of your life like reward cards and house chores – but how many do you actually use? The problem is: if you can’t see it, you can’t use it. Hence, if an app surfaces amidst 50 others, chances are you’re not going to remember you even have it.

The best way to keep tabs on your apps is to make tabs for your apps. According to Kondo, “I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.” Taking her advice, keep all apps of the same category on one page or folder for simpler access. For example, social media and messaging, gaming, photography, mobile wallets and shopping should be grouped separately. If you still don’t find yourself using a particular app after that, save your phone space and just delete it.

Sorting out your friends list

One of the most important, if not the most important question to ask in the KonMari method is “does it spark joy?” and we think this applies to relationships too. Does that ex who spread lies about you spark joy? Does that childhood friend whom you’ve only had a conversation once with in the past decade spark joy? If the answer is no, feel free to mute, block, unfollow or filter what you see.

There’s no need to be mean though; remember to thank them for the memories (or hard-learnt lessons all the same) they’ve given you and move on. This applies to both the virtual and real world, by the way. And once you’re done, you’ll have more time and space for the people who matter.

Cleaning out your bag, car and ‘houses’ for things

 

So you’ve KonMari’d the bags that spark joy, but have you checked inside them? We know we’re all too familiar with old receipts, coins, snacks and random paraphernalia that somehow found their way into the pockets and compartments of our bags, cases and wallets. See, these, as well as your car, can be a ‘house’ for other smaller belongings or what Kondo calls “komono” (miscellaneous items) too.

The same rules apply: discard what you don’t need, keep those that spark joy and sort them into different compartments by category. For bags, those categories may include stationery, beauty and/or grooming products, business cards, snacks and gadgets. And for cars, it may be CDs/DVDs, peripherals (cables, charging devices and the like), emergency kits and relevant car documents.

Organising your media files

We have kept this for last because it holds the most sentimental value for many and Kondo believes anything with emotional attachment should be sorted through after everything else. Think nostalgic photos of you and your loved ones, unbearably cute videos of your dog and songs that remind you of your better half… how can you get rid of them, right?

Well, you can, or at least some of it. For starters, look for duplicate files stored in different folders or backed up in your photo and video editing apps. Next, ask yourself if you really need 20 photos of you and your best friend posing in the same spot. As Kondo says in her book, Spark Joy, “The important thing in tidying up is not deciding what to discard but rather what you want to keep.”

Finally, don’t forget to thank everyone (and everything) that sparked joy!

 

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