6 Life Changing Tips for Decluttering from Expert Marie Kondo

As I finished the first part of decluttering my items, I realized that the more I decluttered, the more I had things to declutter. Then I needed some unconventional tips for decluttering than I previously knew.

I picked up the book Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo months ago. However much like many other books I bought, I didn’t even open it for months. Recently, as I decided to make my dream of living a minimal, conscious and slow lifestyle a reality, I was forced to pick up this book from my shelf. Here’s my minimalism story and why I’m becoming a minimalist to learn more about my journey.

So I’m going to share some amazing life changing tips for decluttering that I learned from reading this book.

1. Tidy once and for all

Marie proposed that you should technically only tidy once in your life. Anything after that is just putting things away to where they belong. This is contrary to what many of us practice. We often spend hours every week going through the same tidying routine. We often don’t realize how time-consuming it really is. With Marie, she said, once you declutter and tidy once you won’t need to do it again. This initial decluttering might take you even up to 6 months to do but the idea is that once it’s done, it’s done. All you need to do from then on is just maintain what’s already done rather than always decluttering and throwing things away in bit weekly or monthly. 

2. Two approaches to Tidying

Marie proposed that there are two main approaches to tidying: a) Discard First b) Organize your space completely and thoroughly. It’s important to decide whether or not to dispose of something first before deciding where to keep what you decide to keep. If you don’t do it this way, you will find yourself storing things you just don’t need because you never took the time to decide whether is something worth keeping. With this, you will constantly go through the decluttering cycle routinely because each time, you keep things you wouldn’t otherwise keep. 

[bctt tweet=”“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”” username=””]

3. Choose what to keep and keep only what brings you joy

Up until now, I never paid attention to the effect things I had at home had on me. The attitude I and many other people have when it comes to decluttering and tidying is mainly focusing on the things we want to get rid of. Marie proposes that we should “focus on things we want to keep and not on things we want to get rid of”. With focusing on the things we want to keep, we are forced to only keep things that serve a purpose in our lives and keep only things that spark joy in our lives.

The beauty of keeping only what sparks joy in you is that you will be surrounded by things you love. This will, in turn, result in you being challenged to take better care of those things you own. She also said that “through the process of selecting only those things that inspire you, you can identify precisely what you love and what you need.”

Tips for decluttering4. Clean by Categories not by Location

I’ll be first to say that this is what I am very guilty of. Many of us focus on cleaning and decluttering by location. We focus on cleaning the kitchen today, bathroom tomorrow, bedroom next etc. The problem with this is that often times we have many of the same things sitting in different locations and so when we clean one spot, we move those things to different locations.

This means that we end up cleaning the same thing over and over but in a different location. For most people, this means abandoning that project altogether because you just got done with say tidying books in one location and now you have more books to tidy in another location in the house.  However, if we choose to clean by category, it makes it so much easier. So you can decide to declutter ALL your shoes on one day and all your shirts on another. Better? Yup!

5. Start with items that are easier for you to get rid of

This might seem like common sense but it’s so important. Personally, I find it easier to knock out the simpler tasks first. With decluttering, this is particularly useful. Starting out with the things easier to get rid of gives you the assurance that this decluttering thing is something you can do. When you start with items that are harder to get rid of, you might end up abandoning the whole process simply because it’s just too tough. So if you find it harder to get rid of your shoes or bags, then focus on decluttering other clothing items that are easier for you first.

6. Focusing on Simplifying How you store things

We don’t just have clutter simply because we have too much stuff. We have clutter because we do not properly store things where they belong. “When we don’t return things to where they belong, we cause clutter. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away not the effort needed to get them out.” This is so true. The reason why we don’t put things away is often because how we store them is just too tedious to keep up with. When you focus on simplifying your storage method, you make it easy to store items each time you use them.

Many of use store things in a place that makes that item easy to grab. However, if something is hard to put away then you end up dumping it in the easiest place. So focus on making sure that where you store your items are as simple as possible that way putting it away is just as simple. This is a key step to eliminating clutter.

Marie advises that we pursue ULTIMATE SIMPLICITY when it comes to storing the things we have. 

Tips for Decluttering

These tips for decluttering have helped me in my journey to getting rid of things. I hope you find them useful. If you have other tips that might be beneficial, do share in the comment! Please be sure to subscribe to my blog for more posts like this one! I have more awesome lifestyle contents coming 🙂

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Xx Asaake ♥

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  • I am currently in the process of tidying up ‘once and for all’. I started back in June (maybe July) and I do not feel like I am anywhere close to being done lol. I’m okay with it though, it is such a gratifying, cleansing, and therapeutic process. I struggle with cleaning by categories rather than location though but I can totally see how it would be beneficial. I also think that the idea of storing things in a functional way is so important! I love how you broke down all of these concepts 🙂

    • I agree! One thing I learn is to take pictures and document my progress. For those moments when you feel like you haven’t made much progress, it’s cool to see what you actually have.
      Thank you so much Paige for your input 🙂

  • This post is so apt and exactly what I need right now. Thanks for sharing! I particularly like the second point mentioned. I’ve had a room that looks more like a storage unit lately *hides face*, it’s about time I declutter and sort things out!


    • I’m glad you found it useful, Zinny. It’s definitely a working progress. It’s a journey that takes a while so take your time but stay active at it.

  • I share your admiration for Marie Kondo’s methods!
    Sorting by categories was a huge eye-opener for me. Prior to finding Marie’s book, I decluttered and packed our home in preparation for sale and an interstate move. I managed to pack, what I wanted to keep and move, by categories. Counting on this to make unpacking easier. Of the boxes I did unpack, to function until our final move, it worked like a charm!
    While I really like and follow most of Marie Kondo’s book, there are two area I do my own thing. One, is scissors! As a quilter, scissors used for fabric and sewing related activities NEVER get used for anything else! A package that needs to be cut open, is cut with other scissors. Food related cutting needs to be done with scissors that can be washed and sanitized. All this to say, I keep scissors where they get used. There is not one spot with only one pair of scissors.
    The second place I do my own thing–folding clothes. My theory is if a garment has shoulder seams or a waist band, it gets hung on an appropriate hanger. Undies and pjs, long underwear, swim suits, get folded and put in drawers.
    I didn’t actually remember Marie’s advice to declutter once, then maintain. But, this really is what make her process work! And, allows for the slowing down of life, a minimalist life for which I dream and drive to achieve!

    • Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. I appreciate your input. Right! And although she advices to declutter once, she did not that that “one time” is a process that can take up to six months. So she does acknowledge it to be a process which I appreciate.
      As for your scissors, I think it makes sense. At the end of the day, I am not taking every single thing she said as my guiding principle. I took what she said and made it work for me. For instance, She is a advocate for folding rather than hanging and I do not fold my clothes. I love hanging and will continue to hang because it works for me and will not affect my use of space. So it’s totally okay!

      The beauty of minimalism is that you make it what you want it! Everyone’s os different and that’s perfectly okay!

    • Ah good to know! I will definitely check out your post now. This morning, I realized a shirt I had on did not spark joy and immediately, I threw it in my donation pile. I felt soooo good!