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Organization Myths Revealed, KonMari Style

If you haven’t yet heard of Netflix star and best-selling author Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of “tidying up,” prepare to have your eyes opened to a whole new approach to decluttering. The Japanese method of organizing that Kondo developed turns many of the widely accepted truths associated with cleaning into myths, such as:

Myth 1: Do a little at a time. Kondo says that decluttering one’s home must be taken on all at once, even if it takes several weeks (or months!) to get through. Doing so will help avoid the “rebound effect.” In other words, if you declutter one shelf or one drawer per week, it will become cluttered again in no time. This is why only a whole-home approach is truly effective.

Myth 2: Focus on one room at a time. Most cleaning experts advise tackling one room at a time. Kondo advises against this, saying that this strategy will also lead to rebound. Instead, says Kondo, declutter by category, beginning with your clothes, then books, papers, miscellany, and lastly, mementos.

When decluttering by category, gather the items within a category from every room in your house. For example, get all your sweaters together from your bedroom, the trunk in the attic, the hall closet, the den, etc. That way once you’ve sorted through them, you’ll be able to organize the ones you want to keep without worrying about opening a closet somewhere else and finding another pile to suddenly make room for.

Myth 3: Enlist the family’s help. On the contrary, having family members involved in the process of discarding your things can impede your progress. Kondo stresses that it’s important to keep only what truly “sparks joy,” which, let’s face it, is a very personal decision. Family members standing by and judging what you choose to part with may guilt you into keeping things unnecessarily.

Myth 4: Pack away off-season clothing. This common method actually leads to the accumulation of more unnecessary clothing as we often forget what has been packed away. Instead, says Kondo, once you have gone through and gotten rid of the clothing you no longer want, you will have plenty of room to have all your clothing in one spot. Instead of organizing it by season, organize it by fabric and weight.

Myth 5: Organize as you go. Not so fast. Don’t put anything back in a closet, bureau, drawer, cabinet or bookcase before you’ve completed the task of discarding all items you no longer want within a given category. Otherwise, you run the risk of overlooking something that should’ve gone in the discard pile.

While the KonMari method may seem extreme, consider this: It is a practice that is designed to be done once, virtually guaranteeing against a rebound effect. Since Kondo has no repeat clients, perhaps the proof is in the pudding!

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