What Makes the KonMari Method Life-Changing

You've clicked on a link to an organizing article, so you've most likely heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese woman taking the world by storm with her tidying techniques.

If you haven't read her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," or seen her Netflix show "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," here's a rundown on the top 3 hallmarks of the KonMari Method and why it's changing lives all over the world.

1) You only keep items that spark joy.

"That seems a bit 'woo woo,'" you might say.

You might be thinking, "Why would anyone have things they don't like?"

It can be surprising how much stuff might be hiding in your home that doesn't make you feel happy, satisfied, peaceful, or any number of other pleasant feelings.

You might be making due with something because it seems troublesome to replace it.

You might have gifts and hand-me-downs that don't fit your style but feel important because of the person who gave them to you.

You might never have taken the time to consider whether you genuinely like and enjoy every. single. item in your home.

The basis of Marie Kondo's technique is that if everything you keep around you sparks joy for you, you'll have a home that truly represents who you are while making room for new, joyful things to come into your life too.

It hones your discernment for things that you truly value and care about, not just things that are convenient or "good enough."

It's a technique for people who want to elevate their home.

2) The KonMari Method follows a particular order of tidying.

Clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items.

If you follow this 5-step process, you start with easier items and strengthen your discernment as you go. By the time you reach the difficult sentimental items, you have a better intuition and sense for what brings you joy.

Not only do you hone your taste and sense of personal style over the course of tidying, but you also get wins every single time you work.

You've already gone through every item in each category, so you won't backslide when you find a hidden stash of clothes here or a box of books there.

Surprises don't happen often with this technique, and when they do, the general rule is to let them go. If they had been important enough to remember, you would have gone through them when you did the category the first time.

It's important that you follow the order completely for the best results. This technique isn't for someone who wants to dabble in organizing or who doesn't want to commit to touching and deciding on literally every item in their home.

The tidying order gives you the freedom to save your decisions for the items themselves, not what you need to do next.

3) Gratitude is central to the KonMari Method.

The third hallmark of this technique is that you let things go with a sense of thankfulness if they don't spark joy - no guilt, remorse, or resentment.

You still acknowledge the item you no longer want to have in your home, even on its way out the door.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the sunk cost of a belonging, the idea that you haven't gotten the "full value" out of the item, which can be an ever-moving goalpost.

The KonMari Method teaches that simply having the item has already fulfilled its purpose and given you value. Even if you didn't use the item as you intended, the excitement you had buying it, the sense of creativity and imagination it gave you to think about it, these things are already valuable gifts.

Acknowledging what you already got out of the item makes it easier to let it go to someone else who might actually spark joy from it.

Bonus) There's a fancy folding technique.

This aspect tends to get a lot of media play because it's so unusual to think about intentionally folding your clothes a certain way, particularly if you've been taught to stack your clothes in drawers for your entire life.

The idea is to fold your clothes so that they can stand upright on their own and are easier to place into a drawer (or on a shelf) in such a way that you can see every single item.

There's a very zen / feng shui element to letting each item take up its own space, not letting things get smooshed or forgotten because you never get to the bottom of your drawers.

You see, use, and appreciate each item because they all spark joy and therefore deserve a little extra attention and care.

Additionally, folding this way is incredibly mindful and fun. Try a little affectionate pat when you've folded something - it's seriously joy-sparking.