Does tidying your space transform your life? Learning how to Marie Kondo your closet may be the organization system you need to find joy in your closet.

Infamous tidying expert Marie Kondo introduced everyone to a popular decluttering method that focuses on whether or not one’s possessions “spark joy.” With a #1 New York Times best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” and a hit series on Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, it seems like the whole world is choosing joy by getting rid of unnecessary items.

The KonMari method may have a fair share of critics, but most people are finding this closet organization method absolutely life-changing. Could a tidying journey really bring more joy to your life? If you’re curious to find out, put Kondo’s philosophy to the test. When you learn how to Marie Kondo your closet, you may find yourself with a much-need organization closet strategy.

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The KonMari Closet Method

According to Marie Kondo, there are six rules of tidying up that one must follow during this process:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if the item sparks joy.

Rear view of cheerful young woman sorting wardrobe indoors at home, charity donation concept.

What does it mean to spark joy?

One of the quintessential phrases associated with the KonMari method is sparking joy. Kondo believes that items that spark joy for a person are linked to intimate and personal reasons, but it’s often the small details about it that make you smile. She recommends looking at items to see if it elicits feelings of joy, which the dictionary defines as “feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness.”

Ingrid Fetell Lee, the author of “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness,” has found, through her research, that there are actually ten universal things that seem to foster ‘joy’ for all. Recognizing these feelings may help you define what sparking joy means for you.

  • Energy — vibrant color and light
  • Abundance — lushness, multiplicity, and variety
  • Freedom — nature, wilderness, open space
  • Harmony — balance, symmetry, and flow
  • Play — circles, spheres, and bubbly forms
  • Surprise — contrast and whimsy
  • Transcendence — elevation and lightness  
  • Magic — invisible forces and illusions
  • Celebration — synchrony, sparkle, and bursting shapes
  • Renewal — blossoming, expansion, and curves

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How to Declutter a Closet Using the KonMari Method

As you begin your quest to declutter your closet the Marie Kondo way, breaking down the process into four simple steps is helpful.

Woman reorganizing her wardrobe in her bedroom

1. Commit to the Process

To start your tidying journey, block off an entire day in your calendar a few weeks in advance. Commit this day to your tidying mission to give yourself plenty of dedicated time to work through it. Scheduling it weeks in advance and penciling it into a calendar will keep you accountable and committed to trying this process.

2. Imagine Your Ideal Life

In the weeks leading up to your schedule tidying date, have a picture in your mind of what you’re trying to achieve. Pinterest is a fantastic resource to help you create a designated vision board for your ideal life. If you’re already addicted to Pinterest, you may already have this done. 

Even though you’re doing a KonMari closet organization, feel free to add inspiration that stretches outside your ideal closet life. Imagining your ideal life as a whole can be beneficial for envisioning your closet.

If Pinterest isn’t your style and you are best inspired by a physical mood board, put one together for yourself. Clip images from magazines, print items from the internet, or find other resources to help you create your vision board.

3. Determine What Sparks Joy

The next part may come as a challenge. Not only can it be time-consuming, but it also forces you to dig deep into your attachment to your items. If you have the space, create a pile of your clothes in a room. Sort through the items and hold them in your hand to see if they spark joy for you.

You’ll want to create three piles once you’ve done the joy assessment:

  1. Items that instantly spark joy
  2. Items that you’re on the fence with
  3. Items that don’t spark joy

Items that sparked joy should be put up for later closet organization. Reassess items you’re not certain of at the end. For any items that didn’t spark joy, wish them a ‘thank you’ and put them aside. Items you won’t be keeping can be donated or sold on a resale app

The KonMari method believes we need to show our discarded items gratitude before parting with them. Then, you will be free to move on with your new, clutter-free life. Studies have found that practicing gratitude helps to improve a person’s overall well-being.

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4. Tidy By Category

Once you’re left with your joy items, you want to organize your closet. Marie Kondo utilizes the Japanese folding closet method, which can be applied to most clothing items. She recommends folding any clothing items as it saves space in your home. Watch the below tutorial of Kondo implementing the KonMari folding technique.

YouTube video

For clothes you won’t be folding, hang them by weight in your closet. Kondo recommends hanging the heaviest to the left and the lightest to the right.

Does the KonMari fold wrinkle clothes?

The benefit of using the KonMari folding method is it doesn’t wrinkle clothes. The technique allows clothes to stand upright rather than lying flat. This helps prevent wrinkles and, as a bonus, you can see your clothes easily in your drawers.

What items should be hung in the closet?

Hang any items that are hard to fold or wrinkle easily in the closet. These items may include heavy winter coats, jackets, suits, dresses, blouses, or pants with a crease. Hanging the clothes by weight is the recommended strategy for KonMari and it may be helpful to place like items together.

Happy young mother enjoying tidying up at female child wardrobe closet neatly folded clothes in plastic case box for comfortable vertical storage. Modern female cleanup kids cupboard Konmari method

What You Can Learn From Marie Kondo

When you learn how to Marie Kondo your closet, you discover how to live with less and only keep items that help you achieve your ideal life. You will enjoy more organization and surround yourself with items that bring joy. A method that promotes organization and happiness could be a win-win for you. Give it a try and see how you like the KonMari method.

This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on 3/20/19 and was revised on 6/6/23 to provide new information.

About the Authors

Kate Fann

Kate Fann is an established SEO content writer with 10 years of experience, taking a specialized focus on home-related content. She has a Master's of Marketing degree from Southern New Hampshire University and her work has been featured in publications such as Angi, Broadband Now, and Love What Matters. Kate takes a keen interest in all things home from design and decor to remodeling and cleaning hacks.

Katie Johnson

Hi! I'm Katie, a 27-year-old blogger living in Buffalo, NY. As the author and creator of my style, beauty & living blog, Katie Off Duty, I'm all about sharing simple and easy tips that can make everyday life a little more stress-free and beautiful.

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