A Review Of The Konmari Method Checklist: How To Use It

Are you overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s surrounding you at home? If you need an overdue of your place, you may want to review the Konmari method checklist. This checklist can help you stay organized while keeping you productive while working at home.

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What is the Konmari Method?

If you’re familiar with some tidying techniques, you may have heard of the Konmari method. Many people would prefer to clean one room or area at a time, and then forget about it afterward. 

But unlike traditional methods, the Konmari method consists of the following things:

  • Gathering together all of your belongings
  • Go through one category at a time (see the list below)
  • Keep only the things that “spark joy” in your life

This method was created by a Japanese organizing consultant named Marie Kondo. Since she was a kid, she’s always had an obsession with organizing. Once she got older, she started a consulting company that took off and became successful in the years to follow. 

Kondo has written a couple of books, along with giving speeches about her tidying techniques. Also, she had a TV show on Netflix on applying the method, where she visited homes and helped individuals tidy up their personal space.

How long does the Konmari method take?

Typically, using this method takes a bit of time and commitment. Instead of making it a one-day project, the Konmari method can take several weeks to a couple of months.

Some people indicated it took them up to six months until they finally tidied up their home. That may feel like a long time, but it’s well worth the payoff down the road.

If you’ve been struggling to keep your home organized, the Konmari method might be something to look into. Whether it’s your home office, basement, or garage, starting today is the right step forward. 

The Konmari method checklist: Kondo’s method applies to tidying up a bathroom, making it organized with the towels together.

For the remainder of this post, I will give a rundown of the items to go through on the Konmari method checklist. Also, the six rules of tidying up as you go through the process.

Rundown of items on the Konmari checklist

The Konmari method works by going through a short checklist. This checklist includes common items that can be overlooked but certainly need attention. As you work through this method, make sure to follow the checklist promptly.


Clothing is a big deal when it comes to keeping or getting rid of items. If you’ve watched some of Kondo’s show on Netflix, you can see the large pile of clothes people has laid out in their bedrooms. 

A lot of people end up not wearing every single piece of clothing, which might be why clothes are prioritized first.

The Konmari method checklist: Organizing clothes is a big one for this method to work.

Once you pile up your clothes, Kondo recommends her signature slogan: Whether that item “sparks joy”. In other words, you need to physically pick it up and figure out your emotional response to it.

If it doesn’t spark joy, then throw it away. Better yet, donate your old clothes to charity or try to sell them if possible.


I consider myself a book lover because I’m one of those people with a medium-sized bookshelf. I like the look of a bunch of books on the bookshelf because I think I’ll reread books over and over again. However, that hasn’t been the case for me lately.

Although a large bookshelf can look beautiful, it’s not always necessary. There are some books you may no longer need, and maybe you need more space for your existing bookshelf. Some people like keeping books on hand for reference, while other books they never end up reading again.

The Konmari method checklist: Organizing books and determining which ones to toss out helps.

As Kondo mentions, it was never her intention for individuals to remove their favorite books from their homes. Kondo says that:

The point of the KonMari Method is to figure out your sense of value. What do you hold most important? If your reaction is anger that you have to let go of books, that’s great because, for you, books are invaluable.”

-Marie Kondo

One thing I like suggesting to others is the following: If you haven’t read a book in over five years, most likely you should toss it or donate it to a recycling books center. 

If you have old school textbooks from 10-20 years ago, toss them. If you’re not referring back to those books, you no longer need them.

So get rid of them!


Initially, papers may seem like a daunting task. But once you categorize the type of paperwork, it’ll be much easier to sort through.

Having piles of paperwork around can be overwhelming and stressful. But if you can organize it better, sorting out papers shouldn’t be as daunting as it sounds.

The Konmari method goes through a different process of organizing papers. Not only do you go through a “keep” pile, but you break them down into three sub-piles. This process is broken into three categories:

Papers that need attentionPapers needed for the short termPapers needed indefinitely
Paperwork that needs to be looked at or reviewed in a couple of hours or the next few days.

Examples include lists, notes, or paper that needs to be mailed out.
Paperwork that would be useful in the short-term, but doesn’t provide value in the long term.

Examples include credit card statements, tax returns, or other billing statements.
Paperwork that needs to be kept, but not looked at too often.

Examples include a lease contract, birth certificate, or related legal documents that you need to look up later on.
Paper Categories (The Konmari Method)

Once you divide the “keep” papers, you can store the sub-piles of paper into separate bins or boxes. It’ll be a lot easier to check up on the paperwork later.


The term Komono translates into “small miscellaneous items”. These items include the stuff stored in your bathroom, utensils in the kitchen, or small things you might put in a “junk” drawer. 

In the Komono category, you’re taking on all of the household items you own. It might sound daunting and not worth going through, but it’s absolutely crucial you take your time in this category.

If you stay organized, follow the Konmari process, and remain productive, it won’t take long to get through the Komomo category.

The Konmari method checklist: Cleaning out your “junk” drawer can help in keeping yourself organized.

Sentimental Items

In the final category of the Konmari checklist, these can be smaller items that we like but don’t use often. Sentimental items may include photos, old letters, or small souvenirs you got as gifts from years ago.

These items can be hard to get rid of but should be tossed out. If you’re not using these items frequently, there’s no need to have them lying around. The point is if it’s not giving you benefit tomorrow or later on, it’s time to get rid of the sentimental items you’ve kept for so long.

The 6 rules to tidying up

There are six rules to tidying up, which include the following:

Rule # 1: Commit yourself to tidying up

Practicing the Konmari method takes time and effort. Setting up your intention to tidy up is the first major step. If you have a clear vision and a “can-do-it“ attitude, you’ll feel more energetic and motivated to organize all of your belongings.

Rule # 2: Imagine your ideal lifestyle

Kondo’s process is not solely for decluttering your house, nor straightening it up when visitors come up now and then. It’s about tidying up in a way that will spark joy in life.

Using this rule, visualize what kind of place you want to live in.

Do you see yourself living in a small house or a huge mansion? What would your life look like down the road? 

This can be done by drawing things out or writing in a notebook. Also, practicing visualization (closing your eyes) can be helpful as well.

By imagining that ideal lifestyle, you’re clarifying why you want to tidy while envisioning the type of lifestyle you want.

Rule # 3: Finish discarding first

Discarding is not the main focus of the Konmari method, but an important component to work on. It’s a big step to reflecting on your past experiences and moving forward to the future.

Discarding first allows you to have an accurate grasp of what you need, and how much you can store. Once you discard an item, you can turn your attention to things that bring you joy.

Cherish the items that bring you joy, and let go of the rest with gratitude.

Rule # 4: Tidy by category, NOT by location

The traditional approach to organizing and tidying up is taking on one room, one area, or a closet at a time. However, the old-school approach can lead to a life of even more clutter

If you want to see substantial changes, you need to tidy by category, NOT location.

As mentioned about the checklist, tidying up through separate categories can make the process smoother in the end. So instead of location, tidy up in clothes, books, papers, Konomo, and sentimental items.

Rule # 5: Follow the right order

This step is crucial in the process, as following the right steps can make a big difference. Based on Kondo’s experience with clients, the order of the checklist is the right approach to go. So follow the list in chronological order: clothes, books, papers, Konomo, and sentimental items.

By starting with clothes (easier) and ending with sentimental items (challenging), you’ll get better at your decision-making skills. Once you get to the end of the process, choosing what to keep looks simpler than it really can be.

A good example to keep in mind is walking into a clean closet first thing in the morning. Being greeted by your favorite clothes is a great way to keep the motivation going. 

As you go through each category, your energy and motivation will increase. You may get physically tired, but getting rid of unnecessary items is a good way to keep yourself organized.

Rule # 6: Ask yourself if it sparks joy

Only you can determine what type of environment makes you happy. Your feelings are the standard for what brings you joy.

While going through this rule, pick up one object at a time and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, then keep it. But if not, then it’s time to toss it out.

This method is what sets itself apart from other tidying techniques. Other techniques will rely on strict guidelines instead of personal criteria.

The Konmari method checklist: Kondo says that if something does not spark joy in you, then it’s time to get rid of it.

Instead of following quotes such as:

“Discard anything you haven’t used in two years”


“Everytime you buy something new, get rid of something old”,

Consider applying the sixth rule. Joy is considered a personal thing, or as Kondo says, it’s …a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.”

Does the Konmari method actually work?

The Konmari method is unique from other tidying methods. One thing that stands out is it’s not seen as a quick fix. You don’t clean one room or area in a day and then forget about it.

Instead, this method is a step-by-step process to organizing your life. Consider it to be a long-term project, not a quick fix (be committed to seeing real results).

The Konmari method checklist: The Konmari method is a neat approach to organizing and cleaning your things.

If you’re going to try the Konmari method, bear in mind it’s a long-term project. You may not be able to tidy up in one day or after one weekend.

Sometimes, the process can take several weeks or a couple of months. It’s designed to stretch out so that you can take your time throughout the process. 

Working in bits of pieces (or step-by-step) can help make the process run easier. If you’re committed to seeing real results, you have to stick with the project for the long haul. 

Final Words

The Konmari method provides a different perspective when it comes to tidying up. It’s a new concept (developed within the last decade), but it has gotten a positive reception. It’s helped people feel more fulfilled and less stressed out when not surrounded by clutter. 

Yes, it may be challenging to get rid of some items. But if you’re not going to use them soon, it’s best to toss them out and move on.

My Experience

It wasn’t until recently that I started using the Konmari method about a month ago. I’ve slowly gone through some old clothes and cleaned out my bookshelves. So I’ve gotten through two categories so far, but I still have a long way to go.

My goal is to tidy up within the next six-eight months. I’m more curious about living a minimalist lifestyle, so I’ve slowly gotten rid of some things. When I get to that point, I’ll feel happier when I have fewer things to live with (I look forward to giving an update when I edit this post later down the road).

Your Turn: Is the Konmari method a great solution to staying organized?

If you’re curious about trying the Konmari method, I encourage you to go through the checklist and follow the rules. If you want an in-depth review of the method, check out some of Kondo’s books. They’re well worth checking out.

Have you heard of the Konmari method? Do you believe the method will help tidy up your life?

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

6 thoughts on “A Review Of The Konmari Method Checklist: How To Use It”

  1. The Konmari method to clean up your house, seems like a fantastic way to get rid of things that do not give me joy. My most difficult part is getting rid of clothes that are to small now, but that I did keep for years for ‘when I get thinner again’. But that will never happen I guess haha. So it is about time that I try to sell these. Thanks for the tips!

    • Hi Lizzy,

      Cleaning your house through the Konmari method can be a worthwhile adventure. Especially with clothes, this method can really help you figure out what you need or not.

      Getting rid of your clothes is not easy- you think you might need them but maybe not. That’s why using this method can help you figure out what to keep or not.

      For me, it’s helped me figure out how to get rid of the clutter. Also, trying to boil it down to the things that I really need right now (or you do not want to lose).

      I wish you the best of luck. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi Eric ,

    Thanks for this post. I write about the law of attraction and I know that I was meant to read this post today. I have heard of the Konmari method before and so need to use it again now. 

    A few years ago, I cleared out my wardrobe by this method and ended up with 6 bags of clothes to go to the charity shop. It was all the clothes that I could no longer get into, things that I’d bought or been given and never worn, and things from 10 years ago- but not anymore. 

    I did feel so much better after doing this, and now need to tackle my books and papers. I think this is one of the most difficult because I do love my books, but I just don’t have the room to keep them. 

    I also have a Kindle now so can get most of my books on that if I do want to keep them. I think a tip to remind people is maybe to take photos of all the mess first, and make a list of how looking at the mess makes you feel. 

    Then, if you feel a ‘pang’ when going through things, glance over to your photos and you will see how you really feel about the mess, and be able to let more things go! 

    Great post- Thank you. 

    • Hi Gail,

      Wow, I’m glad you came across this post today. You definitely have a unique understanding of how the Konmari method works and how it applied to your own situations in life.

      I liked how you gave the example of packing up clothes and giving it away to charity, which seems to be a traditional way to do it. By using the Konmari method, it can be a lot easier as discussed in this article.

      You’re not the only one when it comes to getting rid of books. There was a time where I had a lot of books, but I knew I had to get rid of them because they were just taking up too much space in my home.

      So I get what you’re saying and I do wish you all the best succeeding in that area. If you did well  with clothing, then I’m confident you can do the same in this one area.

      I greatly appreciate what you had to say about this topic. I thoroughly enjoyed your comments, and I wish you all the best in applying this method.

  3. What a great method for tidying up and helping with the daunting task of getting rid of ‘things’. I especially like the ‘spark joy’, it’s actually amazing to see just what I would deem valuable. 

    My motto is if I haven’t used it in the past couple months, I don’t need it. I live more of a minimalist lifestyle now. I really love it as I am not one for clutter. I am also a big family living tiny. Now I can’t say everyone loves the way I live but I do and that’s all that matters. Some people just can’t understand living with just the things we need and use. 


    • Hi Lisa,

      The Konmari method is a neat way to get rid of so-called “things”, as you mentioned. “Spark Joy” is a unique term to define what makes us genuinely happy and fulfilled in life.

      That’s a good practice- for stuff you have not used in the last couple of months, you mind as well toss them. Unless you really value something, then maybe don’t get rid of it.

      The interesting part is that this method is not considered to be “minimalism”. As Marie Kondo mentioned, it’s more about being able to live with more (but not feeling so cluttered at the same time). So she makes an interesting point about not being a minimalist approach.

      Everyone is different when it comes to which items to keep or not. But for people such as you and I, we take pride in wanting to have less and feel more fulfilled. That’s how I think of it when it comes to this topic.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re very much appreciated.


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