Do’s And Dont’s Of The KonMari Method

Have you been working on decluttering and organizing your home? 

I sure have! Personally, every time I’ve been in the midst of organizing, I’ve wondered what the steps to decluttering are because the whole process can get messy and confusing.

After enjoying the book Tidying Up and the Netflix series featuring Marie Kondo, I finally got an answer: the KonMari Method!

If you are new to the Konmari Method, it may seem overwhelming at first. You can be tempted to find shortcuts or ways to save time while decluttering. 

While this can be an extremely effective way to rid your home of clutter for good, there are a few things you might want to consider before you start. 

I’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts for using the Konmari method to declutter. 

There’s a free printable checklist for you to download at the end of this post to help you along the path!

But let’s begin with the basics! 

What is the KonMari Method? 

The KonMari Method focuses on tidying your belongings by category and not by location, like most of us are used to.

Marie Kondo, the creator of this method, has a step-by-step system to help you declutter your home and only keep what you need and what you love. The main goal is to keep the things that spark joy and discard unnecessary clutter in a simple, practical, and effective way.

What are the steps to decluttering? 

  • Don’t stretch this on for days. Try to do your entire home in one go.
  • Follow the order Marie Kondo recommends when it comes to categories.
  • If you feel too overwhelmed, you can divide each category into subcategories.
  • Hold every item and ask yourself if you love it or if it sparks joy. 
  • Organize and store everything after decluttering.

By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.

– Marie Kondo.


Expressing gratitude for the items you discard is only one step in the KonMari process, but it’s also one of the most important ones.

Marie Kondo discusses the importance of expressing gratitude for the items you will be keeping as well. So, remember to thank all the things you’ll be keeping, like clothes and pots, for the service in your daily life.


There is a reason the Konmari method focuses on clothes first and ends with the sentimental items.

These categories are in place so that you can build momentum and make the process easier. Start with clothes, and don’t move on to the next category until you’re completely done.

mari kondo method sort clothing


You won’t know if an item sparks joy until you hold it in your hands, so I encourage you not to skip this step.

Holding each and every item really will make the process clear to you. Items you wear regularly and may default to keep may not spark joy for you.


It’s okay to take your time and go through each item you have.
It’s important to make sure you aren’t rushing too much during the process, but you don’t want to take too much time either.

Try to do a little bit of tidying each day if doing it in one go is too much for you.
I know this is overwhelming and maybe a lot of work, but you may be less tempted to discard items if you take too long.

kon mari method taking time

We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.

– Marie Kondo.

The KonMari method


The organization systems you once had in place may not work with what you have after discarding. This is why it’s important to get rid of your items first, then organize what’s left.

The best tip I’ve learned when decluttering using the KonMari method is to make two separate piles for your items. First, decide what you want to discard, and only once that step is done, you can go back and deal with what you’ve chosen to keep.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of how much you want to get rid of, especially if you’ve seen some of those incredible KonMari before and after pictures.

But I recommend to do the opposite and focus on what you want to keep instead.
The Konmari process isn’t about living a minimalist life but surrounding yourself with items that will spark joy.


There should not be a question of where a certain category belongs in your home. Make each item have a dedicated space in your home, and put it there each time you’re done using it.


If you need temporary storage, start with using old bins and shoeboxes to store your items. Once you’re done discarding your items, it’s important to get your home back together as soon as possible.


Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life.

-Marie Kondo

If you want to declutter your home while using the Konmari method, make sure you keep these tips handy! They can make all the difference when tidying your home.

We’ve created a FREE CHECKLIST that you can print out and use while cleaning and organizing your home with this method! Just fill out the form below.

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  1. Hello,
    My problem is that there are simply too many things that give me joy- so many things that belonged to my mom, my grandmother, my favorite aunt, my mother in law, my husband’s grandmother, even my father. Then there are the gifts from my children. All these things hold a place in my heart. It has complicated my life since we downsized to a home more fitting to retirement. Add to that, today’s style of things, natural looking baskets and rough, ragged items that dress down my more formal style. Neither son is interested in adopting these things.
    I love looking at these blogs, and wonder where you store the multiple sets of dishes, candlesticks and other decor. With such a minimalist look being featured this time of year, it is hard to pare down. But I am thankful for these things, for a mom who showed me how to keep house, my father who gave me an appreciation for old things and the courage to take a chance on things that no one else wanted. He wrapped an antique cut glass sugar bowl in newspaper and gave it to me at my bridal shower. We still use it everyday.
    Back in my day, it was not the chalk paint of today, but spray paint that brought life to some of the most dilapidated things you could imagine. Today, they would be in style just as they are. I have recently rented space at a small second hand shop trying to sell some of the excess. But the things I am able to part with are my own things bought through the years not the cherished items that make up so many of the memories of my life.

    1. Dr. Paddi Barnes says:

      If you use it and love it then keep it.. just find a good place to keep it safe. Use it to decorate with from time to time. It is the memory of the person you love not the thing. If you don’t need it maybe take a picture of it and write a story about the person and put it in a special book to keep about the people. I learned this from The FlyLady online.

      1. Sounds like some great advice!

  2. Great post, Janet! I’ve been on the KonMari bandwagon lately, too — and I’ve got to say I love the freeing feeling it’s giving me! I’m only at the Day 1 category yet (yeah….I’m a clothes hoarder), but I’ve filled 10 bags already and donated them all to a local boutique which gives away clothing to the needy. I love walking past my walk in closet and seeing everything hanging nice and neat and not all jammed and crammed in there. I’m starting on my chest of drawers next which contains tees and athleisure wear. What I’m NOT looking forward to is tackling my basement where all of my textiles/pillows/decor live…..Send help. Lol!

  3. Hi Janet,
    This is an awesome post. Most grateful for the Konmari checklist…I think this will give me a point of reference to stay on task and decrease the feeling of overwhelm as I try to sort through so much clutter! It can be so overwhelming to “get started” and I think following this checklist will add the structure and focus I was lacking. Have a great week!

  4. This is a wonderful post. I have a question on organizing though that I’m hoping you may help me with.
    I have a linen size closet in my dining room that holds all my faux flowers, arrangements, linens and chargers of all sorts. My husband installed three sets of shelving that you get at the Home Depot. It’s all well and good, except all my loose faux flowers. Not sure how to tackle it. Everything else is organized and easy to get, but the flowers are kind of all over the place and messy looking. Any ideas?
    Cindy D

    1. @Cindy D

      I understand you are not asking me per se, but do have mini advice to share which might offer assistance. I currently keep all my faux flowers, (some stems can not be bent easily) together in a very long rectangle snap closure plastic container. My husband stores it for me in our closet which he places long ways up-against the ceiling. (as if standing at attention)

      It was a small thought….though I am positive Janet will give better perspective to your quandary. 😉

  5. On a video watched recently made these points :
    1. Not everything will bring *joy*, but are still needed.
    2. The word *joy* is to narrow of a word in which to judge.

    Example. A hammer will not bring me joy, but it is still needed. For someone else it might be an ironing board.

    However, I do understand what Ms. Marie is talking about and did her method with a friend a few years back in which we took pictures and shared. Perhaps for others, a little more detail and clarification might be needed. 🙂

    For our household, we gather a large box, write a charity’s name on it, and continue to edit. By keeping this box in a centralize area, (hidden) we know where to place our edited items.

    For those that enjoy Ms. Marie, she wrote 4-5 books so far and wrote one about the JOY of her items.

    Great article for the new year, Janet!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful new year of experiences!

    1. Like everything I feel that the KonMari method should be looked at as a helpful guide. It’s based on Japanese methods and I find it fascinating! Continuing to work on sorting and finding joy in my art studio today!
      Warmly, Janet

  6. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    Hi Janet, I am reading this post again so I can get motivated! I do have one question about the sentimental section. What about the grown children’s trophies? It seems like such a waste to just trash them. I wonder if anyone knows a place that will take them and recycle them. Thanks for the great information!

    1. Hi Cecelia. I’m assuming that your children don’t want them…mine wouldn’t either. I would just take them to donate…you never know if some crafty person may purchase and do something with them!

  7. This is useful list. When you’re in the mindset and allot time, the ‘tidying’ is more physical than mental. I am using it for a huge stuffed attic with more than 30 years of stuff. No clothes up there, so started on Day 2. Almost 1000 books to Discovery.com drop box in town. Thank goodness my son got them down and loaded the SUV! Not much paper so that step was easy. Next to go were work journals, with personal info ripped out and shredded. There were cassettes! Everything trashed! Feels so good!

  8. Thank you! Do you have a version that uses less ink? Without the blue stripes?

    1. Hi Nancy. I do not, but you can set your home printer to print this in black and white.

  9. I found it easier when going through my closet to ask myself, “Would I buy this piece today?” If no regardless if it fits and is in good shape, it hours in the donate.
    We downsized to a smaller open concept home. Pieces I liked but I had no place for, I put in the office closet. I finally, went through that closet about two years later. I had one box for donate and one for Keep. The donate box to the thrift store right away. I ended up with three small boxes to keep but left them out so I passed then every day. Each day I would look and another piece would go into a donation box. I ended up with one small box that was tucked in a corner of the basement from hoards of stuff. All that to say, if you’re unsure don’t file it/store it. Keep it out yo mull over.

    1. Thats’s definitely another way to declutter Joanna and as long as the job gets done it’s the most important thing!

  10. I stand mine up in jars or vases and then put them in a big box I can pull out. It keeps the blooms from getting all squished up.

    1. Sounds like a great idea Lynne!