Tidying Up Really Is Magical

Story and Photos by Lissette Mendoza

Netflix Original Series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” features Marie Kondo, a world-renowned cleaning expert who uses her trademarked “KonMari Method” to clean up the clutter in our lives. After viewing and applying her methods to my own lifestyle, I’ve decided to condense the eight episode series into a cheat sheet.

Her method organizes items by five categories:

  1. Clothing

  2. Books

  3. Paper

  4. Komono (Miscellaneous)

  5. Sentimental Items

Supplies Needed:

  • Trash Bags

  • Containers

  • Shoe Rack

  • Boxes



Does this “Spark joy?”

  • Take all your clothes from your closet and put them in one big pile

  • Have bins ready for three other piles: keeping, donating and disposing

  • Go through the pile, don’t be intimidated

  • Review each item one by one

  • Keep only the items that “spark joy”

    • Kondo says, if you get a “warm and positive” feeling, like when you wear your favorite outfit, keep the item.

    • If not, show “gratitude” to the item by thanking it

    • Set the item in the coordinating pile as you wish


  • Tops

    • The goal is to create a small rectangle

    • Start by folding in both sides of the shirt to the center

    • Fold the shirt in half

    • Fold into thirds

    • You should end up with a small rectangle

    • Place standing upright in you drawer so you can see everything with ease

  • Pants

    • Fold in half, lengthwise

    • Fold in half again

    • Fold in thirds

    • It should look like what you did with your shirts.

    • Store the same way.

  • Shoes

    • Go through all the pairs of shoes you own

    • Keep only the ones that “spark joy”

    • A shoe rack is recommended for organization

    • Place heavy shoes on the bottom, lighter shoes on the top

    • Arrange by color, brand, shape, year


  • Place in one pile

  • “Wake” them up by slightly tapping them and dusting them off

  • Go through each book, one by one

  • Keep the ones that “spark joy”, donate the rest


  • Place into one pile

  • Separate into three piles:

    • Pending - papers you need to respond to such as bills and letters

    • Important - papers you need to keep permanently

    • Miscellaneous - recipes, etc.

  • Go through them one by one, aim to get rid of them all

  • File the remaining papers in a file organizer

4. KOMONO (Miscellaneous) - This would be items not included in any other of the categories

  • For electronics, store in a drawer

      • Place boxes to compartmentalize the items

      • Store everything upright to see everything

5. SENTIMENTALS - memorabilia, photos, etc.

  • Look through each item, one by one

  • Keep only the ones that “spark joy”

  • Organize photos into a photo album, and place items in a box that sparks joy.


Her methods were easy and made for an effective way to clean my room. I gathered around six bags of items for donation and three bags for disposal!