How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

17 Wise Quotes that Will Inspire You to Declutter and Organize Your Way to Success and Joy

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

Have you figured out what in your life isn't sparking joy?

This is, of course, referring to the decluttering method made popular by Marie Kondo, bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” This KonMari method asks that you assemble your belongings, ask yourself if an item sparks joy in your life, and if not, thank it and kiss it goodbye.

With the series, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” recently debuting on Netflix, viewers are learning how to organize their homes and transform their lives. If you embark on your own journey towards decluttering, you will learn that getting rid of clutter can reduce anxiety, boost your confidence, and reduce relationship tension.

Here are some wise words to get you on the organized path to health and success.

1. ” clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein

2. “Keeping baggage from the past will leave no room for happiness in the future.” — Wayne L. Misner

3. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo DaVinci

4. “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” — Marie Kondo

5. “Get rid of clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you've been looking for.” — Katrina Mayer

6. “Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” — Finnish proverb

7. “The more things you own, the more they own you.” — Unknown

8. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” — Carl Bard

9. “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don't.” — Joshua Becker

10. “Clutter is symptomatic of delayed decision making.” — Cynthia Kyriazis

11. “My riches consist, not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.” — J. Brotherton

12. “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” — Christina Scalise

13. “You can't reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday's junk.” — Louise Smith


“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common — this is my symphony.” — William Emery Channing

15. “Clutter robs us of life. It robs us socially, when we're too embarrassed to have people over. It robs us spiritually, because we can't be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space.” — Peter Walsh

16. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hoffman 

17. “Clutter is not just physical stuff, it's old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits.” — Eleanor Brown


5 Steps to De-Cluttering Your Running Life, Marie Kondo-Style

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo or the “KonMari method,” you’re probably logging way too many miles.

Kondo is the author The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, but more recently she starred in a Netflix series called “Tidying Up,” mesmerizing viewers with her strategies for simplifying and organizing absolutely everything in our possession.

When the show started streaming, my husband—who read the book and started folding his shirts vertically—and I quickly fell in love with Kondo’s approach. We moved a year ago so we had done a big purge, but there was certainly room to jettison more belongings. And we could do a lot better at organizing what we kept.

To say I have a few pairs of shoes and some gear would be a flat-out lie. I’ve run hundreds of races over the years, the swag—medals, shirts, mugs—adds up. Inspired by Kondo, I decided to take another look at my running paraphernalia and keep only what “sparked joy,” as Kondo preaches. After all, living in clutter can take a mental toll.

“It’s kind of sad, but the inanimate objects in our life have control over us,” says Robin Stankowski, a Pennsylvania-based professional organizer and member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. “And when things aren’t functioning the way they should be, it has an effect on our wellbeing and our home.”

Here’s how you, runner, can approach the daunting task of organizing and de-cluttering your practical and sentimental running gear.

Plan which gear you want to keep

Running shoes spark joy.

Runners who train for races are (for the most part) good at planning. Take this strength and apply it to organizing your life.

It can be easy to get caught up filling your closet with that favorite running shoe you love because it was on sale and you know that model will change, or you have a friend who tried a sports bra, didn’t it and passed it on to you. How can you say no?

“Evaluate what you have and don’t take more [if you don’t need it],” says Gayle Goddard, a Houston-based professional organizer and member of NAPO.

When it comes to your running clothing and shoes, they have an expiration date, and there’s no reason to hang onto it after it stops performing, Goddard says.

When your gear is past its running prime, you can donate it if it’s still in wearable condition or recycle it. Goddard recommends going through your items every few months to avoid buildup.

And despite what you see on social media, filling your closet with dozens of running shoes isn’t a determining factor in how dedicated a runner you are. I finally came to this realization and got rid of shoes that no longer worked for me or were well-loved. (Spoiler: I’m still a dedicated runner.)

After I decided what items I was keeping, I focused on smart organization. Running shoes went on a shelf in the front closet; I stored out-of-season clothing in large plastic containers in the basement, leaving closet and under-the-bed storage for items I was using daily.

Choose one item per event

Keep special race medals in a vase.

Races certainly give you plenty of items to remember your event: shirts, bibs, medals. But you don’t need all of them. Goddard says it’s best to decide in advance what keepsake you want to hang on to. If it’s a mug, your cabinets or shelves need to have space for it.

“Plan for the volume you expect to do,” she says, noting that if you run 100 races, keeping bulky items mugs might be challenging.

When it comes to sifting through the sentimental items you’ve collected over the miles, purging can be a little more challenging.

“I don’t disagree with Marie Kondo’s approach to organize the sentimental items last,” Stankowski says. “You want to ease into this. You’re flexing your muscles to get in shape for the marathon that is the sentimental items.”

(Kondo says that tidying is a marathon.)

For a while I kept the bibs from races where I ran a personal best. I’d go through them from time to time and ditch the old PR bibs. But after “Marie Kondo-ing,” I decided I didn’t need the bibs at all—save for my seven marathon race numbers and one signed by 1968 Boston Marathon champion Amby Burfoot.

I keep all of my medals in a large vase, but the only ones that have any meaning are from my marathons, my first postpartum race, and my first Boston Athletic Association event, which I got after running the 4 x 400-meter relay on Boylston Street when I was 11. I haven’t yet gotten rid of the rest because they’re tucked away—out-of-sight-out-of-mind can be dangerous—but I’m planning to donate them.

Assess the “freebies.”

You only need to keep so many race shirts.

Be honest: How many times have you taken a race swag bag that you really didn’t want but felt obligated to because it was free? We’ve all been there.

“You go to a race and get a bag full of stuff you don’t want, but because it’s free, people feel they have to take it,” Goddard says. “No, you don’t. Vet the stuff before you bring it home.”

I started turning down the race bags and I don’t miss a single item. I also no longer take a shirt. I don’t wear them, and I already have a quilt and a body pillow stitched from my collection (with another quilt in the works). I’ve gotten to a point in my running career where I have the memory of the race in my mind, the Internet result, and on a good day, an award, which I always keep.

Don’t hide memorabilia—show it off

Put your favorite race photos where you can see them.

Let’s be clear: There’s nothing wrong with keeping items that have special meaning. Kondo emphasizes the importance of showcasing the items that are important to you instead of storing them away.

But that’s not always realistic. My race photos bring me joy, but a minimalist décor makes me happier.

My seven framed marathon photos are on a bookshelf in the basement next to my medal vase. The corner of that basement room has become my little runner shrine.

Professional organizers Goddard and Stankowski also tell their clients that it’s okay to store sentimental items, but the storage box or folder should be easily accessible to allow you to head down memory lane in a stress-free way.

“I’m a memorabilia queen,” Stankowski says. “But you think I live with nothing. I store items in decorative boxes and organize the periods of my life.”

That said, if something really makes you proud, display it. For Stankowski, that’s her marathon finisher’s medal, photo, and certificate, which are all framed and hung in her basement.

“I honor the fact that I did it,” she says. “I wasn’t going to throw that medal in a drawer. It’s a visual reminder of something I accomplished.”

Stankowski has run just one marathon, so her keepsake approach may not be feasible for runners who have run dozens of races, unless you have limitless wall space.

For me, I have a framed photo in prime living room space that shows me, six months pregnant, handing off a baton to my three-month pregnant training partner in a relay.

Taking photos of your race items is also a good way to preserve the memory and live without the clutter. Digital clutter is another issue, but maybe it’s worth having the extra hard drive so my shelves are clear.

Follow a maintenance schedule

Keep your gear tidy.

Here’s where I diverge a bit from Kondo’s approach. The organization guru emphasizes the importance of undertaking a big cleanout at once and making tidying a ritual, not a daily chore.

Although she notes that you will, of course, clean and put away things you use every day.

I don’t disagree with her philosophy, which is that you have to change your mindset about your belongings (Do I really need this?) before you try to maintain your tidied house.

That said, now that my house and running things are organized, we are constantly maintaining that tidiness. When it comes to my running clothes, every few months I take them out and evaluate what I want to keep and what I can let go.

That schedule can be whatever feels right. One approach is to go through your shoes, clothes, and gear as the seasons change and you’re swapping tights for shorts. And any time you bring in a new item shoes or a sports bra, the old one goes out, Stankowski says.


Marie Kondo has a new book on tidying up at the office. Her tips work at the home office, too

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

JOY AT WORK: Organizing Your Professional Life.

By Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein.

Little, Brown Spark | 320 pages | $26

The joy of cleaning at work is that, even before the coronavirus pandemic upended normal work life, I never had to do it: The last time I tidied my desk, my boss assumed I was quitting.

And who could resist that convenient excuse to let the piles of paper and weird trinkets accumulate? I’d do my colleagues a favor, I decided, and allow my “keep it all” proclivities to flourish rather than cause suspicion about my intentions.

Since then, my company generously supplied me with an extra shelving unit — a safety precaution given my leaning tower of books; rumor had it the stack was edging toward collapse. I began sharing my desk with a stuffed companion dog that I recently rehomed. And I opened a coffee shop, which is to say I keep a French press and its required accoutrements beside my keyboard.

So it was inevitable that, one morning in February, I arrived to a miniature avalanche of things — probably the opposite of what Marie Kondo imagines when she asks readers what greets them at their desk each morning. That’s one of the first questions in “Joy at Work,” Kondo’s new collaboration with organizational psychologist and Rice University business professor Scott Sonenshein.

In the book — a slim yet efficient guide geared toward white-collar workers with a desk job — Kondo declares that “we can only truly spark joy in our work life when we have put every aspect of it in order, including emails, digital data, work-related tasks and meetings.” With joy on the line, I decided to give it a go.

Day 1, 6:30 a.m.

I arrived in my office shortly after sunrise, on an undercover mission to uncover my desk. Kondo suggests tidying at work early in the morning, or perhaps in the evening, when you have the place to yourself.

This is a good idea; not all colleagues will remain straight-faced as you thank your old papers for their service before shredding them.

(Of course, I embarked on this endeavor when I still saw my colleagues every day — before my company, many others, implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy because of the pandemic.)

In “Joy at Work,” the KonMari Method stays true to its roots. Kondo continues to promote tidying by category, which in this case meant tackling books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and then sentimental items.

The rules: Do it all at once, and only keep “things that directly spark joy, those that provide functional joy and those that lead to future joy.

” (If you struggle with equating your work items to joy, Kondo allows such variations as “Will this help my company prosper?”)

I have a propensity for taking notes, which means I had records from every meeting I attended for the past 10 years — none of which I referred to afterward. These were easy to ditch.

Other paperwork was more meaningful or necessary, so I scanned it onto my computer and saved it in a folder. I also employed an upright file organizer.

So far, it’s been wildly successful at keeping my folders from “disintegrating into an anonymous heap” in a drawer.

While sorting through my komono, I unearthed fancy calendars I could have used in 2017 and 2016, and a garden care kit for a garden I don’t have. I discovered my silly putty had frozen over. Coins tumbled to the ground, and I was so busy practicing my free throw into the trash that I stopped thanking each item for what it had done for me.

By 8:30 a.m., I had emptied my trash and recycling bins into a larger outpost 17 times — and was buzzing with what felt suspiciously close to joy. I was liberated, I was buoyant and I could see the whites of my desk again.

Day 2, 8 a.m.

After reclaiming my desk, I turned to the less physical parts of my work life: Kondo and Sonenshein dedicate half of “Joy at Work” to tidying digital data, time, networks and decisions. Accomplishing that, I smirked to myself, would require nothing short of some “life-changing magic.”

Four hours later, my inbox had come up for air for the first time in a decade. I had dwindled more than 1,200 emails marked as unread to fewer than 200.

The barometer for whether an email stays is familiar: Do you need it to get your job done now or in the future? Will reading it again provide knowledge, inspiration or motivation? And does it spark joy? The co-authors recommend processing emails daily, which would certainly be less daunting than staring down the mother lode: “Shift from thinking everything gets kept to thinking everything gets discarded,” they recommend. (Here’s some inspiration: Kondo’s inbox never exceeds 50.)

Each chapter is packed with advice and supporting case studies. These are applicable wherever you are: a newly finagled home office, or your temporarily off-limits workplace.

There’s a lesson on reducing activity clutter — the much-welcomed notion of eliminating unnecessary meetings and other tasks. (According to the book, a worker wastes two and a half hours a week on average in ineffective meetings. Shocking.

) And consider this revelation: “If you don’t think the outcome of a decision will make a difference, don’t invest a lot of time making it.” It’s a liberating thought.

Does it really matter if you use a line graph or a bar graph in that PowerPoint? Just pick one and move on.

By tidying your drawers, inbox and Outlook calendar, Kondo and Sonenshein reason, you’ll tidy your career. Not all their advice is realistic, and it’s far more ly you’ll heed a few of their tips than all.

I’ll never have a completely empty desk, and good luck persuading your supervisors to cancel the meetings you consider “ineffective.

” But the duo’s promise is seductive: “Any place where things are treated with respect and gratitude, whether a home or an office, becomes a relaxing and energizing power spot.” It’s a worthy pursuit.


Are you tired of Marie Kondo’s ‘does it spark joy’ question? Here are 5 other ways to declutter

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

Forget New Year’s. Decluttering guru Marie Kondo may be the inspiration for millions of Americans to clean the house and ditch unused swag. But how do you get rid of stuff that you love and has so many emotional connections to family and friends? Clothes and even books may be easier to ditch, but what about those letters from your parents and birthday cards from your beloved children?

Kondo, who wrote the best-selling household organizing guide “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” in 2012, is the focus of a Netflix NFLX, -0.40% original series released earlier this month.

“ Instead of asking yourself if an item ‘sparks joy,’ ask if it’s something you’d buy again, or if it’s easily replaceable. ”

The voyeuristic show, called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” features the author walking disorganized families through the steps to finally clean their homes and toss clothes and other items they might not have worn or used for the last decade. She then teaches them how to properly organize what’s left and fold clothes to make the most space.

Kondo’s strategy, known as KonMari, requires declutterers to place all similar items ( books or clothes) on the floor and then touch them one by one. If an item doesn’t “spark joy,” when it’s touched, the person should thank it for being a part of his life, and then donate or trash it.

(Some critics have asked if Kondo doesn’t, in fact, appreciate that owning lots of books might be a good thing, whether they spark joy or not. On the other hand, donating the books will mean that other people can read them.)

See:Marie Kondo says this one thing could be holding you back from falling in love

“ ‘Clutter is delayed decisions.’ ”

Decluttering can be daunting, and it’s a process that requires a lot of time and energy. “Clutter is delayed decisions,” said Marina Mahnken, a professional organizer and owner of Declutter My Clutter in Matawan, N.J., referencing a well-known phrase coined by Barbara Hemphill, author of “Less Clutter, More Life.”

The length of time necessary to clean out a home depends on numerous factors, including how much stuff there is to give away, how hard it is for someone to make decisions, and how much rest he or she got before starting a project, according to the blog Mindful Decluttering & Organizing.

Also see: What NOT to do when you are selling your unwanted swag (and gifts) on eBay

Kondo’s Netflix show appears have had a motivating effect on Americans to rid themselves of clutter. Thrift stores have been flooded with sellers hoping to shed unwanted belongings, partially because of the show, owners say.

“ Try the ‘20-20’ rule: If you could replace the item in 20 minutes for $20 or less, it’s safe to let go. ”

Carrie Peterson, president and founder of New York-based thrift store chain Beacon’s Closet, said her stores have seen a surge in foot traffic. “People have been selling and mentioning the show a lot now,” she said. “It’s definitely a thing.”

The store has seen 15% more sellers than usual for this time of year. Other declutterers are simply donating their unwanted items. Chicago-based Ravenswood Used Books had 30 boxes of books donated over the weekend, compared to the half dozen it normally receives, according to nonprofit news organization Block Club.

But the KonMari method doesn’t work for everyone. Some people may find the process too tedious, or think it’s sacrilegious to throw out new, albeit unused, goods.

Organization enthusiasts shared five other ways to declutter a home:

Don’t do it all at one time

Kondo’s method requires going through everything in a category ( books, clothes or kitchen tools) in one burst, but that could be exhausting or impossible, said Sarah Mueller, blogger of Early Bird Mom and creator of the “Decluttering Club” page on , +2.66%.

Mueller suggests starting in the kitchen because it’s easy for most people to throw out mugs and old food storage containers. “When you have those easy wins, then you get the momentum or confidence and you get on a roll,” she said. She also advises her online community use 10-minute spurts instead of trying to accomplish too much in a short time frame.

“To look at an entire category is just way too overwhelming and they would probably quit before they got started,” she said.

Narrow down categories

Kondo’s method separates belongings into five categories: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items and mementos.

Miscellaneous is too broad of a category though, Mahnken said. Instead, clients could break down items by room, or subcategory, CDs and DVDs or souvenirs.

“ Some people may find Marie Kondo’s method tedious, or think it’s sacrilegious to throw out new stuff. ”

People sifting through their belongings may find it easier to focus on one narrow category at a time, she said.

Kondo’s method has organizers pile up all their clothes in one spot, but Mahnken said clients should divide piles by type, where sweat shirts go in one pile and pajama pants go in another. That gives them the opportunity to see how much they have of each item, and decide which ones from that group “sparks joy.”

Also see:6 tricks to help runners Marie Kondo their race bibs, medals and merch

Ask ‘would you buy it again?’ (You might)

Instead of asking yourself if an item sparks joy, ask if it’s something you’d buy again, or if it’s easily replaceable, Mueller said.

This is an especially helpful question when wondering if the item will be needed later in life — sometimes people keep stuff because they’re worried they’ll need it “later,” she said.

Mueller has the “20-20” rule: If you could replace the item in 20 minutes for $20 or less, it’s safe to let go.

Get support from an online community

groups not only offer support, but guidance in reaching a goal. There are a handful of pages on dedicated to decluttering, and some are specific to the KonMari method.

One blog called “We KonDo It!” breaks down how to accomplish Marie Kondo’s strategy for tidying up, and includes questions to answer before getting started (including “I want my home to look (blank)” and “If my home was how I wanted it, I would spend more time (blank).”)

Another page, called “365 Decluttering Days,” has suggestions for its users, including throwing out items on a Saturday that make you sad, or “Free Yourself Friday,” where you throw something out that will make you lighter.

Use a photo book to remember discarded cards

Karla Emery, a decluttering enthusiast in Charlotte, N.C., shared her Marie Kondo-inspired journey on her page, “Tackle Your Mess.” Emery, who was a professional organizer while in college to pay for her education, said it was time-consuming, but worth the effort.

She also had a few tips of her own, including framing a few sentimental notes, birthday cards and children’s art and then taking a picture of the rest to store in a photo book. She also keeps a “catch-all bucket” in her home for the daily essentials, keys, wallets, headphones and coupons. “It’s not the most tidy bucket,” she said, “but it’s definitely our most important.”

Though the process of decluttering may be grueling, it’s one that should be filled with gratitude, Emery said. “Having the opportunity to declutter is a privilege,” she said. “Working through a large quantity of items is a tangible example that you have a life that may be a dream to others.”


Tips for KonMari-ing Your Home Office

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

With warmer weather (hopefully) just a few short weeks away, you might start thinking about spring cleaning your workspace. And if you’re familiar with decluttering sensation Marie Kondo (and her “KonMari” method), then you know that there’s no greater way to “spark joy” than by keeping only what you need—and keeping it neat and tidy at that.

For those not familiar with the Japanese organizational expert’s style (she has a hit Netflix show called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo plus several best-selling books), it’s as simple as this: you group items (think T-shirts or books, for example), hold each one, and ask yourself if it “sparks joy.” If the item does indeed bring happiness, you find a place to put it (preferably sight). But if it doesn’t spark joy (and frankly, most things don’t), you thank it for its service, and send it on its way—to either the trash, the recycling bin, or a donation box.

So if you’re looking to boost your productivity—and see the top of your desk for the first time in forever—try these tips for “KonMari-ing” your home office.

Know your why.

Yes, having a clean and decluttered home office can definitely be reason enough to start the KonMari process, but there are other equally important benefits that can be reaped as well.

First, having a beautiful office space means that you’ll be ready for a video interview when you hear back from that hiring manager. Being able to locate papers or important files right when you need them can be a big time-saver and also help reduce stress.

And without the distractions that clutter can bring, you can put your focus on finishing that cover letter—and not that big pile of miscellaneous papers that’s calling your name.

Remove everything from your desk.

And by everything, we mean everything. Legal pads, extra pens, papers, a cute little catch-all—it all has to go. The only things that should be left on your desk should be your computer, keyboard, mouse, or other equipment a scanner. That’s it.

Once your desk is clear, be sure to give it a good cleaning. Kondo’s method for removing everything from the space you’re working in is simple—it can be hard to organize when you’re shuffling items from one corner to another.

Completely clearing the clutter means you can see what’s necessary and what’s not.

See what sparks joy.

The KonMari method is not for the fearless—it requires you to group similar items (say, clothing or books), put them all in one huge pile in the middle of the room, and then go through each item individually to determine what stays and what goes.

It can be a painstaking process, but it could be well worth it if you’re able to rid yourself of a lot of clutter. If you’re tempted to toss items back into your drawer, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to truly clear the clutter.

Of course, clutching a calculator might not necessarily “spark joy” (unless you’re an accountant or a numbers person), but this step is critical on your decluttering journey.

Lose the loose papers.

What starts off as one simple Post-It note can suddenly turn into an onslaught of to-do lists, receipts, and other scraps of paper. But paper begets more paper, so you’ll need to lose the papers…permanently. Ditch what you don’t really need, scan important papers, or use file folders that aren’t on your desk for storage.

Go digital.

Are newspapers and magazines taking up precious real estate on your desk? It might be time to go digital. Most magazines and newspapers have online editions that can be read on tablets or other devices. It might take some getting used to (especially for people who prefer turning pages over scrolling), but it’ll save lots of space on your desk.

Keep it personal—to a point.

Sure, it can be sweet to look at a photo of your family while you’re working, but not if the personal items are impeding your productivity. Try to keep the framed photos of your family to a minimum (one or two should suffice), and then find a new home for other pics of your loved ones in other areas of your house.

Take out the trash.

It’s easy to let all your office garbage accumulate, but it’s important to clear it out frequently since it also counts as clutter.

Make it a point as part of your end-of-day ritual to take out the garbage from your home office. Give surfaces a quick wipe down, make your to-do list for the next day, and return any item to its spot.

That way, your home office is always ready whenever you are.

Clear out the computer clutter.

When you’re Kondo-ing your home office, don’t forget about digital clutter, too. After all, if you can’t see your desktop wallpaper, it might be time to go through your files to see what’s necessary.

While there are programs that can help you speed up the process, you might want to sort through files manually so that you have total control over what stays on your desktop, what winds up in a file folder, and what lands in the recycle bin.

Not only can a clean desktop speed up your computer, but chances are it will improve your productivity as well.

Take your time.

Sparking joy isn’t an overnight process. It can take some time to organize your home office to the point that it’s functional and has the right workflow for you.

Depending on how aggressively you want to KonMari your home office—and just how cluttered it actually is—you should set aside the time it will take to make your office beautiful and clutter-free.

You might decide to dedicate an entire day to the process, or it might be something that you work on little by little over the course of a few days or weeks. Pick a time frame that works best for you.

Savor the serenity.

Once you’ve completely Kondo’d your home office, take a moment to look at the result of your decluttering efforts. It probably feels pretty amazing to see everything in its proper place and sparkly clean. Who knew that a home office could spark such joy?


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Tidy, ho! KonMari your kitchen to spark joy

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

Just Japan’s cherry blossom forecast for 2019, spring cleaning is happening early in my home this year. In advance of an upcoming parental visit, I practiced “the life-changing magic of tidying up” in my cozy apartment. And life-changing it has been.

Though I was gifted organizational guru Marie Kondo’s bestselling book soon after it was published in 2011, I’ve only halfheartedly tackled the monumental project of eliminating clutter from my abode and organizing my belongings.

While Kondo preaches a very specific “KonMari” method of tidying—by category: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellany), and mementos, in that order—attacking my overstuffed closet seemed a stressful way to start my weekend.

Plus it’s the least visible part of my apartment, and thus a lesser priority.

I also fudged Kondo’s rule of tidying by category instead of location, and began the process in the room that sparks boundless joy for me: my kitchen.

“The secret to success is to tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible,” Kondo writes in her book. “Start by discarding.”

Craving a little more motivation, I watched the new Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” to get in the mood. The first episode sees Kondo and her Japanese interpreter visit a young couple with two young children. After a tour, Kondo pulls her signature move: She kneels in the middle of the living room and “greets” the home.

Even through the TV screen, I feel Kondo’s positive vibe as she closes her eyes and speaks silently to the shelter. This small act dovetails with her philosophy: Personal space should spark joy.

A home, by definition, aims to serve its inhabitants in a way that helps to move their lives forward.

Clutter is a joy-killer! Hoarding is seriously unsexy! And surrounding oneself only with things that spark joy fosters happiness.

With this simple concept in mind, I kneel on the floor of my kitchen and whisper to it. I thank it for being here, for feeding me, for providing an artistic escape. I envision preparing colorful, elaborate meals, feeling nurtured, and living my best damn life. Then I spring up to my cabinets.

Kondo suggests collecting every possession—in this particular case, dishes, silverware, serving tools, cans, packets, jars—in a pile. Seeing the entire cache at a single glance is important, she believes, to realize exactly how much stuff you own. Then, by holding each item in my hands, I summon an answer to the ultimate question: Does this spark joy?

Things that bum me out or feel burdensome get chucked. Expired goods go bye-bye. I purge my fridge—adios, wilted cilantro!—wipe it down, and arrange its contents neatly. True to Kondo’s word, my food seems…more alive.

I ditch dusty spices. I wipe down every bottle of oil and vinegar—bartenders do this nightly in the well, right? That last remaining tablespoon of sesame oil at the bottom of the bottle feels a painful waste of precious space, so I dump it on some veggies and revel in progress. Immediately I am reincarnated as an independent woman.

Perhaps, I muse during this spree, pantry items nestled in an organized home might create more enjoyable, nourishing meals. If I don’t coddle my ingredients and cooking implements, then am I really feeding myself in the best way, truly?

There is only one way to find out. Maybe I’ve got a glimmer of OCD lurking in my personality, but the act of combing through the entire contents of my postage-stamp-sized kitchen is deeply soothing. Taking stock of what I own is useful; turns out I don’t need two sets of measuring cups. My garlic press has literally been used once; off to the Thrift Shop it goes.

My recipe binder, crammed with printed pages and scribbled notes, gets a good sweep, too. I replaced my nuke box with an air fryer toaster oven back in December, so “Microwave Hacks” and “One Minute Microwave Cake” get 86’d immediately. The bonus: I rediscover myriad dishes I have yet to make. (Find other reasons to KonMari your kitchen in factbox above.)

One of Kondo’s tricks, which I picked up from her reality show, is to use small boxes to create compartments within storage units to corral smaller items.

I happen to have a budding collection of such boxes, so I place a few in my kitchen drawers to contain a jumble of random paraphernalia, including an obscure collection of birthday candles I forgot I bought in Mexico—in 2013.

(Sorry, mates, I’ll surprise y’all next year.) Another tip: Store items vertically when possible, to quickly view—and find—items at a glance.

When I share the story of my whirlwind afternoon with a pal over brunch, her eyes light up a Christmas tree.

“I went to town on my kitchen,” enthuses Michelle, a self-proclaimed anti-cook. She is, however, a huge fan of home decorating—the girl rearranges my apartment during every visit—so she approached her own space with function and flow in mind. First to move out: a bookshelf taking up precious countertop territory.

“I took that off and all of the sudden I have space!” she shares. “The kitchen thing is huge—I’m cooking and making my own cold brew coffee! And saving a ton of money. It’s so easy.”

After that, she ventured into an area of longstanding dread: her crowded walk-in closet, in fact an entire dressing room lined with clothing racks.

“I haven’t worn this dress all winter long—I’ve been wearing the same four outfits because I couldn’t stomach going through my closet,” she continues, tugging on her outfit with the breathless zeal of a religious convert. “It’s been there all along. Now I look at something and think: Do I love it or not? It’s about the joy of it.”

many activities, the ability to recognize joy becomes easier with practice. (That’s why Kondo suggests beginning with clothing, which generally carries less attachment than papers and sentimental items.

) When discarding something, do this: Thank it for being of service, understand that it served a purpose (even by showing you what you don’t ), and then relinquish it so that it might be of use to someone else. Move on.

And embrace the newfound freedom of clearing space to invite other elements into your life.

If tidying my kitchen cuts a quick path to decluttering my closet, discovering long-lost frocks, and refreshing my style, then I’m all over it white on rice.

Says Michelle in one final overture about the addictive appeal of tidying up: “Everything is less stressful now. It’s changed my life.”

Related to cleaning house early this year: The City of Aspen’s new municipal Election Day is Tuesday, March 5. Don’t be a dummy … vote! [email protected] 

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 28, 2019 edition of the Aspen Times Weekly. 

• Take stock of what you own

• Stoke meal inspiration

• Find items easily

• Cook smarter

• Clear cabinets, clear mind

• Realize how many possessions are the right amount

• Eat well

• Be happy

via:: The Aspen Times

Source: reviews: Unclutter Your Life in One Week

How to Ditch the Clutter and Organize Your Life So That Everything Sparks Joy

See the critical review›


2.0 5 starsunrealistic and misleading.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 January 2010

There is some great information in this book. But none that can not be found elsewhere. I bought this because it intimates that there IS a method of getting the 'clutter thing' under control within a week.On Monday morning alone, one is expected to tackle the following:Sort out your entire wardrobe.

Empty it, make any repairs to the units, buy any bits and bobs you need to aid storage, sort through your clothes, ditch any that don't fit (thoughtfully) put stuff aside for repair / cleaning, and evaluate the rest.

Once you know what you re keeping, 'cluster' clothes according to how you process information (ok, I this idea, see there are some little gems) or how you will wear them – colours, type and so on. And then re fill the wardrobe / shelves / drawers.All this is to be done before you go off to work.

The very next item is – Monday at work!!!!!!SO now you simply rise from your sea of rejected clothing / recycling / cleaning and trot of to your place of work. It's time to get that organised. Sort old paperwork, ditch / replace dodgy machinery, reorganise your work flow and workspace, and, presumably put in a days work.When you get home, it's not all over.

Now you need to sort out a 'reception station' – as sorting you hallway is your evening task.

All very good information, but I defy anyone to be able to muster the energy to so much as make a piece of toast after only mastering the Monday morning 'closet' routine!The rest of the week is just as jam packed and although I agree entirely that getting down to it is the only way to resolve clutter issues this method and make believe time scale is simply not workable for us mere mortals.I am always looking for ideas and new methods of dealing with clutter and how people can be supported to sort their stuff. As a professional de – clutter person, this is my business. I'll shamelessly pinch helpful, workable ideas from anyone! But the main thing is to make these things manageable – or people just get into a panic and give up. And often leave themselves in a worse mess that when they began.Dealing with clutter can be daunting, exhausting and frankly quite scary. It throws up all sorts of unexpected emotions. And makes a sorry mess whilst it's a work in process. But it really is worth the effort and will be a huge success – often life changing – if managed properly.DO try the book, but please don't feel that you have to do all this stuff in a week. I'd re title this book “Unclutter your life in SEVEN weeks!!”Then you can toast your success when you finish in a month, rather than feel beaten after just one, exhausting, unrealistic day.Jilt your junk with joy, don't let your stuff hold you back.