How to Marie Kondo the clutter out of your apartment and life

By Reagan Gavin, Staff Designer

Netflix has capitalized on the trend of decluttering with Marie Kondo, a tidy legend and now internet meme. She implements her KonMari method in people’s homes to help them organize and reduce unused belongings.

If you’re new to the KonMari method, essentially she focuses on only keeping items that truly spark joy for you.

Falling into the KonMari internet trap — to which I blame Buzzfeed’s numerous listacles on the subject — I decided to take the weekend and KonMari the hell out of my apartment.


1. Pull out everything you own and sort through for items that only spark joy

The first step to properly KonMari-ing is to focus on one area and pull everything out, for example, your closet.

Once you have a pile of clothing, start sorting through your belongings and think to yourself “does this spark joy?” I found myself looking through some of my clothes wondering when the hell they actually “sparked joy” to begin with.

Does my old high school hoodie spark joy? Nope.

Do the free t-shirts from volunteering events spark joy? That stiff cotton monstrosity does not spark joy.

How about old DIY unofficial costumes that are never going to see the light of day again? Fun to reminisce on drunken memories, but doesn’t spark joy.  

Shorts that are from freshman year, therefore pre-freshman 15? Absaluki not.


Once you have your piles of keep, donate, and toss, maybe pour some out for the pieces you’re losing but know that your left with things you’re actually going to use. Just make sure you actually follow through with donating and throwing away those items.

2. Once sorted, properly organize

I’m sure we’ve all scrolled past the infamous perfectly folded and sorted shirt drawer on Pinterest before, thinking it would take too much time and is only useful for aesthetic purposes.

Let me tell you, folding T Shirts like that isn’t just for pictures, it actually works. Not only is it satisfying to look at, being able to visually see all the shirts you own helps in rotating through wearing them and not only choosing what’s on top.

I have probably a few too many concert tees I’ve forgotten about. Organizing the shirts in sections — concerts, regular, and gym shirts — has opened up space in the drawer and allowed me to wear the often forgotten about shirts more.

Pulling out and organizing your belongings also helps with the out of sight, out of mind tendency we have. Now everything is in its proper place or donated/thrown out, and the feeling of decluttering is amazing.

3. Digital clutter

You have gone through your physical spaces and KonMari-ed them, but it is also essential to reduce your digital clutter.

I’m guilty as hell for signing up for various email subscriptions. I am also guilty for never deleting emails — I have so many unread that I turned off the notification bubble for emails.

Devoting time to read, delete, or unsubscribe honestly frees up some headspace that was otherwise cluttered. This also works with apps, social media friends and followers, photos, and messages.

Unsubscribe from emails you only got for that one time discount. Delete those random screenshots of class notes that you don’t need anymore. Unfollow that one guy from high school that you don’t care to see their posts. Don’t feel guilty about doing any of it.

4. KonMari while you move out

While I’m fully encouraging you to implement this method now, it is also one that can be implemented when you move out in May.

The reason I started KonMari-ing in the first place, besides being a bandwagoner, is so I could reduce the amount of stuff I need to pack when I move to another state this summer. I knew if I hadn’t used it since moving to Carbondale, I sure as hell wasn’t going to use it after Carbondale.

Am I actually going to need books and notes from previous semesters? Probably not.

Does having a kill shelf of alcohol bottles on my kitchen cabinets spark joy? No. I need to throw out some of the memories attached to the bottles and my parents sure don’t need to see the extensive collection of New Amsterdam bottles my roommates and I have racked up either.

Decluttering while you pack lets you travel lighter and not worry about cluttering up the place you’re moving onto next.

I especially suggest this if you’re moving from dorm to apartment as some of the dorm specific items you have now you will literally never use again.

5. KonMari yourself

Yes, you can in fact KonMari yourself.

Do this by not holding on to all the negative thoughts that keep you up at night.

Learn and move on from previous failures and basically just focus on whatever sparks joy for you while removing all the negative energy you put on yourself. The humorous tweets you see about someone removing their ex, bills, or politicians because they don’t spark joy all hold a little bit of truth in them.

Staff designer Reagan Gavin can be reached at

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