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Natalie Clauss

Tidying up in 3 steps - Tidying up according to the Konmarie method

I think that all parents know this problem, at least I don't know any parents who don't know it: Stuff is piling up everywhere, things are lying around, mountains of laundry are getting bigger and bigger, dishes are piling up, it feels like there's more every day. And just when something has been put away, it is cleared out again. Okay, except for the clearing out again, many others who don't have children probably know this too.

I find however with children it is clearly more. So often I have the feeling that I can't keep up with cleaning up. Sometimes I give up. Then I get tired of it. But then I've figured out how to finally manage to keep things tidy. At least in large parts. Because when everything is messy all the time, I don't feel good. It stresses me out. Unconsciously, I'm then constantly tense.

I like it when there aren't a thousand things lying around. I like it when I know where my things are. And when I even know what I have and things don't always disappear under all the mountains, which I then buy for the tenth time because I think we have nothing left. That drives me crazy.

At first, my goal was just to clean out. To reduce the things we have in order to create more order. But without any system behind it, it's pretty cumbersome. I realized that I couldn't fight the clutter, even though I was constantly throwing things away, giving them away, or selling them.

I had heard and read about Marie Kondo's Konmari method before. But it sounded really complicated. But at some point I discovered by chance on Netflix a series with her. In this series she showed her method in different households. I copied some of the things. So I sorted some of my things into the categories she mentioned and now I muck out systematically.

Trailer for the series on Netflix

Marie Kondo also describes her method in more detail in her books Magic Cleaning and Magic Cleaning 2.

The categories that Konmari uses to clean up are as follows:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Documents/ paperwork
  4. odds and ends
  5. Mementos

I oriented myself to this. According to Marie Kondo, all items from one category should be gathered together. Afterwards, everything should be taken in hand once to see if it "sparks joy". For me, it was more a matter of whether it triggered pressure in me or whether it really enriched my life.

For example, I looked at a T-shirt to see if I really like to wear it or if I just wear it because I have it and therefore it has to be worn, but I don't really like it (anymore).

I would say that I'm on the right track, but I still have a lot to do. It's pretty hard for me to gather everything from one category (with subcategories). I simply have the feeling that I don't have the time. But piece by piece it is getting better.

Another thing I learned through Marie Kondo was that everything should have its fixed place. Then it's much easier to keep things in order. We were already doing that with most things, so I didn't have so much work with this anymore.

Nach Konmarie gerollte Handtücher im Badezimmer.

In the series, I also saw how clothes and other items were sorted and folded according to conmarie. As I did this, I said to myself, "This is overkill, I have more work with this." At some point I got tired of the mess in the bathroom with the towels on our shelf and just tried it out and rolled them. The point of this is so I can see everything at a glance and not make a mess of all the piles again when I get them out.

I wasn't hoping for too much from this, but was amazed at the results: suddenly all the towels really did fit on the shelf and it looked really neat and no longer stuffed. I spotted towels that I felt I hadn't seen in a few months.

With the clothes, I was still skeptical about their folding techniques. At one point, while putting away clothes, I jokingly said to my husband, "Would you like me to show you how Marie Kondo would do it?" He thought it was great, which really surprised me because I really thought he would think it was nonsense. But his reaction flipped a switch in me and over the next few days I started rearranging our closet.

Nach Konmarie gefaltete Pullover in der Schublade im Schlafzimmer.

I folded differently and sorted odds and ends like underwear into boxes. It was amazing. Suddenly I could see everything I had and could pick out individual pieces of clothing much easier.

After a while, I tried the same thing with my son's stuff and we sorted his clothes by Konmari too. He rediscovered his favorite shirt, which he hadn't worn in a long time because he simply hadn't seen it anymore. We also sorted out his toys together and his things in general. I was amazed at how well this worked. I thought before that he would not be able to part with anything. But in fact he sorted out quite a bit.

Nach Konmarie gefaltete T-Shirts in der Schublade im Kinderzimmer.

All in all, I still have some work to do. I've gotten a lot done, but a lot can definitely get better. Everything little by little. However, I have already learned a lot through this "tidying up" thing, not only about tidying up, but also about myself and what is important to me. It's already easier for me to part with things that don't make me happy.

I've also come to understand that the Konmarie method, or minimalism, is not about having as little as possible. It's much more about not owning anything that weighs you down, that puts pressure on you. This includes using things because they are there or wearing clothes because I have them.

Many of the things I cleaned out I gave away or sold. Some I threw away, which I find the least sustainable. At the same time, I realized that it's not that easy to give something away. Sometimes I was asked whether I could not bring this or that also. I thought that was a bit cheeky. In Oldenburg there is still the possibility to put something on the street with a note "To give away". This often works better and involves less work.


In summary I would like to list again, the most important aspects for me when cleaning up:

1. clean out in categories

In order to get an overview of what I own in the first place, I have divided the things into the 5 categories of the Konmari method: Clothes, books, paperwork/documents, odds and ends, and mementos. In addition I formed in each case subcategories. In the category small stuff I would have otherwise probably never gotten an overview. I have, for example, divided into hygiene / bathroom items, decoration and games.

2. does it enrich my life? Or does it spark joy?

When cleaning out, I then asked myself for each item whether it enriches my life or whether it is rather ballast. I asked myself if it sparks joy in me or if maybe I don't connect with it at all. I think it is logical what I then picked up.

3. everything has its place and everything is visible

When re-sorting, it was important to me that now really everything has its fixed place. I didn't want to have to search for anything because I sometimes put the scissors on the desk and sometimes in the drawer.

Another point I learned from Marie Kondo was that I have a better overview when I can see everything directly. So if I arrange t-shirts next to each other instead of in a pile. It's also much easier to take something out that way. If there are boxes or crates with many different things, they should be transparent so that I can see directly what is inside.


In addition to Marie Kondo's books and the Netflix series, you can now find many tools to help you tidy up in a structured way. Among them are checklists in PDF format, for example. One that I liked is the Konmarie checklist from

Furthermore, I used these boxes in different sizes to sort in the closet.

For storing other odds and ends, I used these transparent boxes, for example.


I really did not believe in it, but the order and also the missing ballast, as I have noticed now, makes me much more satisfied and balanced. I'm excited to see how it will be when I'm done with it at some point.

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