With the new year, we all get flooded with messages about resolutions and self-improvement solutions. We may start some of these types of things, but ultimately they don’t offer any kind of long-term peace to whatever ails us or what we’d like to improve.

This year, and right now, we encourage you to think about revisiting your space, decluttering, and finding joy that can last the whole year long. Not because it looks good or sounds good, but because (if this is where you are) you wish for a positive lifestyle change. We recognize this doesn’t tie in directly with flooring, but seeing as how flooring is such a big part of your home, literally, we think this topic applies to all things having to do with your home.

Marie Kondo has pretty much become a household name. The tidying expert started her own business in such organizational matters when she was just a college student in Tokyo. We find it rather fun that even her name has become a verb as in Kondo-ing it when it’s time to make a messy space not just more clean but more joyful. If you need a warm, inspiring Netflix show, then give Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019) a try.

At the heart of The KonMari Method™ (yes, it is a trademarked method, which we’ll speak to more in a moment), are joy and gratitude as well as letting go to welcome new life. We find this very inspirational, and we encourage you in the New Year to show gratitude and let go of these objects and patterns holding you back so that you can welcome the “ideal lifestyle” you are meant to have.

The first three steps of the method and the mindset.

First of all, Marie Kondo dispenses with an age-old practice that many of us at Real Wood Floors fall victim to: tackling the big organizing-my-stuff job by starting in one room.

For Kondo, this is not intuitive. Her practice is so powerful, we decided not to paraphrase it:

The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go. 1

Wow! This is quite a call to action: being aware, being grateful, letting go, and keeping heartfelt items. For many of us, clothes can be the bane of our cluttered existence and some old sweaters and jeans are easy to get rid of or donate, so it certainly makes sense to start there with non-sentimental (depending on your feelings for clothes!) items.

Photo by Bynder from unsplash.com

The KonMari Method™ has six steps. Before you can begin tidying, Kondo suggests that you commit to this upcoming experience, which she calls the “tidying festival.” How about that for inspiration and anti-drudgery! We like. So you have to be committed to being all in—because you will have to dedicate time and energy to this thing.

Then, Kondo says you need to imagine your “ideal lifestyle.” This is wonderful and very personal. For some of us, the “ideal lifestyle” may mean a living room where there is no TV. For others, the living room may be a boisterous and fun family spot for movies and popcorn, so a TV is a must. For those who like to make art, crafts, or sew, these types of “ideal lifestyles” will dictate choices in what to keep and where to keep it.

The next step in the method is a good one for us packrats, and it’s good for the soul. She says to, “Cherish the items that bring you joy, and let go of the rest with gratitude.” It’s time to look at each object and contemplate whether it has served its purpose (if at all) and whether it needs to be kept or if it can be easily let go with gratitude. In episode 3 of Kondo’s Netflix show, it is quite moving to see the children featured (ages 11 and 13) sort through their clothes and thank certain pieces (even hugging some of them) as they show gratitude.

The final three steps in the method: tidying up and joy.

Photo by Sarah Brown from unsplash.com

As we mentioned above, that good ole method of starting in one corner of a room with vigor and maybe a mild sense of desperation or annoyance just ain’t gonna cut it. Kondo adeptly points out: “People often store the same type of item in more than one place. When you tidy each place separately, you’re repeating the same work in many locations.”

Ugh. We definitely want to work smarter, not harder! So this tracks for us.

Kondo is pretty adamant about ordering the tidying tasks. You start with clothes because she says this task is easiest and because it will have fast results; i.e. a once-messy closet morphs into a clean closet with your favorite jeans, hoody, sweater, and shoes. These quick results will serve as inspiration as you move on to the following items in this order: books, papers, and your sentimental stuff. The sentimental stuff in your home will be the hardest to keep or let go, so it makes sense to be last.

Of note, Kondo did get some backlash over books. We believe she was misunderstood in this regard— that she is suggesting getting rid of books that you aren’t reading and will likely never reread. She is not suggesting to remove the bulk of your library!

As you finish up (oh, and you should continually do this), you should ask yourself, regarding any item in your home: “Does this spark joy?” Kondo says that you can give your personal items this litmus test, and it will easily be clear which things bring you joy. These things are part and parcel of your ideal lifestyle and ideal home.

We wish you a happy new year!

In this new year we hope that you can find ways to let go of old and unnecessary things, practice gratitude, and live your best life.

As we think about the new year, we are grateful for you and for all those how support our year-long, lifelong mission of finding every child a home.

Note: This is an opinion piece only. Real Wood Floors is not compensated in any way by Marie Kondo.


1. Konmari Website. KonMari Media. https://konmari.com/about-the-konmari-method/