The Art of Decluttering: Marie Kondoing Your Closet

Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series, Tidying, is sweeping the nation. The author and professional organizer has created a system that people are connecting to and talking about. The desire to be organized and declutter our lives seems to be a running theme amongst a lot of people. This especially comes into play when we are moving into a different size home. You may have found your dream home, but the closet space and storage availability is less than what you are used to. Downsizing, especially when your current storage space is not organized, can seem daunting; Marie Kondo is here to help.


I read one of her books a few years ago at the recommendation of a friend, but I never put her system into practice. After binging several episodes of her new series, I thought that I might need to take some time to put what I learned into practice. At the very least, it would force me to do a deep clean of my apartment. With much embarrassment, I’m happy to share with you what I learned from Marie Kondoing my closet. I’m aware that I’ve made a new verb by using her last name, but I like to believe that I might be setting a new trend in the organizing world.


Marie Kondo Closet Before
I have a second closet that was piled so high with clothes that I couldn’t open the door to take a before photo.

Marie Kondo Closet Before

The basis of Kondo’s system, while maybe a bit religious in practice, is discovering what sparks joy. It flips the idea of decluttering from, “What can I get rid of?” to, “What should I keep?”. She asks her clients to hold each item and ask themselves, “Does this spark joy for me? Is this something that I want to take into my future?” If this item does not spark joy, she recommends releasing it by saying thank you to the item for the purpose it served and allowing it to leave your home. For those that do not have a lot of attachment to their possessions this step might seem ridiculous, as it did to me. As I went through my closet, however, I began to understand the purpose this step might bring to individuals. People, in general, tend to attach emotions, memories, and sentiments to items. We might hold a dress that no longer fits us, but it was the dress we wore on a special occasion that brings back a flood of happy memories. The item sparks joy, but is not something we necessarily want to bring into our future. It is easier to release the item when we thank it for the purpose it served in our lives. For me, I felt uncomfortable with the idea of thanking the item, so I took a moment to be thankful for the memory and then placed it in my donation pile.

The idea of holding every single item you own and asking yourself these questions is overwhelming, so she breaks it down into categories to tackle. Her system requires you to tidy by category and not by the location of the items. Meaning, if you have more than one closet that has a mixture of clothes and papers, you don’t just tackle the one closet and organize that. You tackle the clothing within the closet and leave the papers for now. Her system consists of 5 categories.


  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (or miscellaneous, such as the kitchen, bathroom, garage, etc…)
  5. Sentimental items


Her system is going to take me some time to work through, but I’ve tackled the first category: My clothing. The first step to clothing is to gather every item of clothing you own in a pile on your bed or couch and go through the items one by one.


Clothes piled high on my bed
This mountain of clothes doesn’t even include my shoes! Seeing it all piled in one place truly gives you some perspective.

After sorting your clothing between what sparks joy and the items you are releasing, it’s time to start folding, hanging, and organizing. Kondo’s system operates under the belief that it’s hard to know what you have when you can’t see each item. She has a specific folding system to optimize space and make every item visible.

Marie Kondo folding method step 1Marie Kondo folding method step 2Marie Kondo folding method step 3 Marie Kondo method step 4 Marie Kondo method step 5 Marie Kondo folding method step 6 Marie Kondo folding method finished product Marie Kondo folding method drawers Marie Kondo folding method clean drawers

Every item is to be folded similarly, creating an organized drawer that’s completely visible.

As a mother of two, she knows that not everyone feels like they have time to care for a folding process in this way. She mentions multiple times that her closet is not always organized, but she tries to involve her children in the joy of tidying by making folding a bit of a game for her kids.

Marie Kondo closet after
I can actually open my second closet door!
Marie Kondo closet after
All of my regular clothes now fit into one wardrobe!

Marie Kondo closet after

I don’t know if my closet will remain this clean and organized, but this is the first time in a long time that I feel like I know exactly what is in my closet. Her system may not work for everyone, but the idea of reintroducing and acquainting yourself with what you own makes sense. I look forward to taking you on the journey of Marie Kondoing my apartment. Until the next category, happy decluttering and tidying!

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