Tag Archives: marie kondo

15 Things You Should Get Rid Of Now For a Cleaner, Calmer Home

Decluttering your home is a big undertaking. It takes a considerable amount of energy to sort through your stuff to figure out what you should keep or get rid of.

Luckily, there are certain items you don’t need to think twice about before tossing. We’ve compiled this handy, no-brainer list of clutter culprits for you, so all you have to do is follow our lead.

Below are 15 things you should get rid of right now for a cleaner, calmer home, plus tips on the best ways to do it.

Free Bonus: Decluttering Flowchart: Finally Expel Clutter From Your Home

1. Meaningless knick-knacks and souvenirs

Porcelain elephants are lined up on a dark surface

If your travel souvenirs and random knick-knacks (like your plastic Big Ben replica or porcelain elephant) don’t enhance your decor or bring you happiness, bid them adieu.

Pro Tip: If your stuff is valuable, consider selling it on OfferUp.

2. Books you don’t plan to read

A small collection of books are lined up on a shelf
Flickr/Jay Cross

Are you actually going to crack open that beginner book of Italian, or dive into Les Misérables for the first time?

Be honest with yourself, and donate the books you no longer have the desire or time to read. Here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of.

You’ll have more space for the stuff you love, like your vinyl record collection. Plus, you won’t feel guilty every time you look at your bookcase.

Need more space for the books you do keep?

Check out these nine creative book storage hacks for small apartments.

3. Worn-down shoes

a closeup of a pair of old running shoes
Flickr/Erno Mijland

If you reach for the same one or two pairs of shoes over and over, consider getting rid of your collection of old, dusty footwear.

Here’s how to store the shoes, boots, and sneakers you save.

Pro Tip: Since shoes take 30 to 40 years to decompose in landfills, it’s better for the planet if you repurpose or recycle them instead of tossing them. If your kicks are in good condition, donate them to an organization that gives shoes to people in need, like Soles4Souls or One World Running.

Planet Aid accepts all shoes in any condition. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program will take your worn-down athletic shoes and recycle the material to manufacture athletic surfaces like tracks and tennis courts.

4. Old Halloween costumes and school uniforms

A child's school uniform complete with a satin bow and shoes
Flickr/MIKI Yoshihito

Your high school volleyball uniform might be sentimental, but chances are you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Same goes for those polyester Halloween costumes and masks cluttering your storage closet.

Get rid of the clothes you’ll never wear again. Then use this guide to clean and store your remaining Halloween costumes and decorations.

5. Cards

A small, closed envelope resting on a table
Flickr/amy gizienski

It’s tempting to save cards for sentimental reasons. But if you don’t purge them often, you’ll have boxes full of notes you never look at (and probably forgot you saved).

Recycle your holiday cards (you’ll get new ones next year, anyway!) and any birthday, thank you, or “just because” cards that have brief, generalized messages.

Only save the ones that have special meaning to you.

6. Expired beauty products

a white bathroom sink hosts a number of toiletries
Flickr/J B

Believe it or not, beauty products like lotion and shampoo have an expiration date (Real Simple has a guide to checking makeup expiration dates).

To free up space in your bathroom cabinets, toss all your expired skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products, especially makeup and sunscreen that’s no longer fresh.

Here are 16 clever beauty storage ideas and solutions for the products you have left over.

Important: Recycle the plastic containers from your beauty products so they don’t end up  in landfills. Sign up to be part of Terracycle’s free and super easy Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program. Or drop off your empty and thoroughly rinsed containers at a nearby Origins store. Origins recycles empty containers from any brand at any time.

7. Kitchen utensils and appliances you never use

A white, spacious kitchen with an oven and open shelving
Flickr/Emily May

There’s no sense in organizing your kitchen drawers and cabinets to accommodate bulky appliances and obscure gadgets you never use. If it’s been months since you dug through your cabinets to find your pasta maker, meat thermometer, or mini-loaf pan, put them in the donation pile.

Save your precious kitchen storage space for your go-to items, like your French press or blender.

Free Bonus: 11 Clever And Easy Kitchen Organization Ideas You’ll Love

8. Formal wear you only wore once

a formal blue bridesmaid dress hangs from the door, ready to be donated
Paige Smith

You might love your BFF, but that bright-green bridesmaid’s dress from her wedding isn’t doing you any favors. Neither are any suits, gowns, or formal attire you don’t wear at least annually.

After you declutter (our KonMari method cheat sheet will help you do that), learn how to easily organize everything in your closet.

Pro Tip: Sell your formal wear at your local Buffalo Exchange or online with Poshmark, Prom Again, or The Dress List.

9. Desk and craft supplies

Colorful art supplies are grouped together in six tin canisters

Unless you’re a hard-core crafter (or you have a child in grade school), you don’t need multiple boxes full of dull pencils, promo pens, and scrapbook stickers.

Organize your desk, and narrow down your supplies to the basics. Then donate the rest.

10. Your collection of CDs and DVDs

A small collection of old CDs and DVDs are gathering dust on a wooden shelf
Flickr/Karl Baron

There are a couple practical reasons to hold onto your CDs and DVDs, like in case your WiFi gets spotty and you can’t stream music and movies. But finding space and time to store and organize a massive collection of outdated physical media isn’t always worth it.

If your stack of Good Charlotte CDs and Austin Powers movies is taking up prime real estate in your bedroom or living area, get rid of them so you have more space for the things that matter.

Free Bonus: Should You Keep CDs And DVDs? How To Store And Sell Them For Cash

11. Half-used spices and expired food

A closeup of 3 spices in 3 separate plastic spice bottles
Flickr/Andrew Malone

Double your kitchen cabinet space in two seconds by tossing out all your expired food. While you’re at it, get rid of spices you’ve never used or don’t particularly like. Bye, fennel.

Pro Tip: Trash your expired food, but make sure to recycle or reuse glass and plastic containers.

Free Bonus: 7 Smart Ways To Save A Ton Of Space In Your Small Kitchen

12. Accessories that aren’t your style

A collection of chic women's scarves on a wooden floor
Flickr/emma

You know the ones: The black leather purse with the rhinestones, the paisley scarf you bought on impulse in London, or the tie your brother-in-law gave you two Christmases ago.

Accessories, whether sunglasses or a belt, are designed to add extra flair to your wardrobe. But if you don’t feel confident and cool when you wear them, they’ll never make it out of your closet.

Donate the accessories you don’t love. Then use this list of 13 easy DIY storage ideas and solutions to organize the rest of your stuff.

13. Wire hangers

Old wire hangers are crammed together in a dimly lit closet
Flickr/Michael Lehet

If your closet is full of flimsy wire hangers you’ve had since the early 2000s, it’s time to let go. Trade them in for a matching set of wood or velvet hangers.

Free Bonus: 5 Problems With Your Bedroom Closet (And How To Solve Them ASAP)

Some cities prohibit you from putting wire hangers in your recycling bins. Check your city using Earth911’s Recycling Center Search. Either way, you can always donate your hangers to your local dry cleaners or drop them off at a recycling center near you.

14. Instruction manuals, expired coupons, and old magazines

A sizable pile of old magazines like Food and Bon apetit
Flickr/Jessica Spengler

Cut down on clutter (and save your sanity) by recycling all the unnecessary papers you’ve accumulated over the years.

First on the list: Stacks of outdated, unread magazines, expired coupons, junk mail, and all those useless instruction manuals you saved but never once relied on to restart your TV.

Free Bonus: 13 Painless Ways To Organize, Store, And Get Rid Of Paper Clutter

15. Electronics you don’t use

A pile of old phones like Blackberry and Vodaphone
Flickr/Enrique Dans

It’s safe to say you won’t need your old iPod mini or dead Blackberry, well, ever.

Get rid of these outdated devices, along with random chargers, USB cords, and any other technology you don’t use on a regular basis (like your Kindle, or the Dell computer you haven’t opened since you got a Mac).

Pro Tip: You can’t just throw electronics in the trash. You need to be thoughtful about how you dispose of them. For old or broken electronics, find a responsible recycler (otherwise known as an e-Steward) near you. Staples, Best Buy, and Apple will also take your old products. Just make sure to delete your data first.

Donate Your Stuff

A box full of books ready to be donated
Flickr/Alper Cugun

Give your things new life by donating them. The Salvation Army is always looking for gently-worn shoes, clothes, and formal wear, as well as books, kitchen tools, and household supplies.

The same goes for Goodwill, which will take your old electronics, too. And if you live in NYC, Chicago, or DC, MakeSpace can even pick up your donation and drop it off at your local Goodwill — for free.

After you let go of the stuff you don’t need, use MakeSpace to store your off-season clothes, bike, surfboard, luggage, A/C unit, and more.

Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup (your first pickup is free!) and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home and carefully transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you want something back from storage, simply browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

10 Brilliant Organizing Tips From Ellen Degeneres, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, And More Of Your Favorite Comedians

We all want to get organized. But sometimes, reading advice from a stuffy expert can get awfully boring.

But you know who’s never boring?

Comedians.

Because professional funny people have a knack for making anything amusing — and typically have to keep themselves organized, thanks to their crazy schedules — we pulled nuggets of wisdom from nine comics on the best ways to declutter, organize, and decorate your home.

Granted, some of it is a little facetious. But there’s also real, applicable advice embedded in these zingers.

Get ready to laugh and learn from these accomplished writers and performers:

Make organizing a relaxing weekend ritual

Amy Poehler tells us how she organizes her home
David Shankbone via Flickr

Most people let their apartments descend into chaos because they see cleaning and organizing as chores. And they are! But you can trick yourself into thinking they’re not by taking a cue from accomplished comedian and person Amy Poehler, who makes organizing a peaceful Sunday routine. As she told Parade:

“On a really awesome day, I’ll spend the afternoon cleaning out my closets. I love to organize. To me, there’s no greater grown-up pleasure than cleaning your drawers while listening to This American Life or Fresh Air on public radio. Your brain gets organized, and so does your underwear.”

Or turn organization into a party

 

Poehler isn’t the only famous Amy with ideas on organization. While promoting her book on entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, Amy Sedaris offered this relevant anecdote about a clean-up that she transformed into a social event:

“When I finished the book, my apartment was a mess. … So I took everything off the walls, repainted and then had people come over and help me rearrange the artwork, decide what was going to go up and what I was going to put in storage.”

Be sure to provide food, drinks, and music to make all that rearranging and reorganization a true party.

Motivate yourself with money

Whitney Cummings fielded readers’ questions for Esquire ahead of her HBO comedy special I’m Your Girlfriend. When one reader wrote in asking how to rectify his messy habits, Cummings delivered this half-sarcastic, half-useful advice:

“Grow up? And have a yard sale. Put your stuff on eBay. As soon as you can get money for your c**p all of a sudden getting organized seems way more appealing.”

You should also consider selling stuff you don’t need, such as your old CDs and DVDs, on Craigslist, Offer Up, and Facebook. You might not want that old coffee table anymore, but your friend who just moved might.

Don’t get hung up on stuff

In some ways, George Carlin was the original Marie Kondo. Sure, he cursed a lot more, but he shared her views on clutter. As his famous bit goes:

I don’t know how you are, but I need a place to put my stuff. You know how important that is. That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much g*****n stuff, you wouldn’t need a house… When you take off in an airplane and you look down, you see that everyone has got a little pile of stuff. And when you leave your stuff, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don’t bother with that c**p you’re saving. Ain’t nobody interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They’re looking for the good stuff! That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

In order to avoid a stuff-induced crisis, try to pare down to things you truly need and/or love. And please, throw out those fourth-grade papers.

Have a purgatory bag

A photo of Sara Benincasa at a microphone
© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

In comedian/writer Sara Benincasa’s advice book Real Artists Have Day Jobs, she tackles all sorts of topics ranging from flossing to fan letters. But she also imparts a useful organizing tip she’s used to keep her home tidy. It involves designating a so-called Purgatory Bag.

“The concept of the Purgatory Bag is quite simple. Once a month, or whenever you feel like it, you go around your house and throw a bunch of clutter in a bag. Not trash, mind you — you throw the trash out. I’m talking about clutter… Then, on a designated day, you have a Purgatory Bag session. You go through your most recent Purgatory Bag and decide what goes to Heaven (its proper place in your home or someone else’s home) and what goes to Hell (the garbage can).”

Benincasa insists the bag can be large or small, so long as you empty it completely on the appointed day. Also, she reminds you to remember that “Heaven” is a big place — if you don’t want to send something in your bag to “Hell,” there’s also charities to consider.

Clean before things snowball

A headshot of Nora Ephron
Prachatai via Flickr

It wouldn’t be fair to cite the late, great Nora Ephron as an organizational muse. She was very open about her messiness, as illustrated in her essay, “I Hate My Purse”:

“Here’s what happens with a purse. You start small. You start pledging yourself to neatness. You start vowing that This Time It Will Be Different, you start with the things you absolutely need – your wallet and a few cosmetics that you have actually put into a brand-new shiny cosmetics bag, the kind used by your friends who are competent enough to manage more than one purse at a time. But within seconds, your purse has accumulated the debris of a lifetime. The cosmetics have somehow fallen out of the shiny cosmetics bag (OK, you forgot to zip it up), the coins have fallen from the wallet (OK, you forgot to fasten the coin compartment), the credit cards are somewhere in the abyss (OK, you forgot to put your Visa card back into your wallet after you bought the sunblock that is now oozing into the lining because you forgot to put the top back onto it after you applied it to your hands while driving 70 miles an hour down the highway).”

Obviously, this is not how you want to handle clutter in your home. But you can glean advice from Ephron’s struggles with her purse. Namely, take care of messes while they’re still manageable. Sort through the stack of papers on your counter before they morph into a mountain, and break up the pile of scarves sitting on the floor of your closet before they blanket the whole thing.

See the space

When it comes to reorganizing rooms, you can trust Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show host revealed herself to be a secret home decorating fiend last year with her book Home. It includes lessons she’s learned from her house-flipping ventures. Here’s one she shared with The Los Angeles Times on pseudo feng shui:

“Envision where, say, your sofa is going to go, where certain pieces will go. And not that I believe in feng shui completely, but I do think there are certain aspects of it that make sense. Like, you want to have a clear path, you don’t want a lot of things in your way as you walk through a room. And you don’t want to see the backs of things when you enter – if you have to position the sofa that way, put a console behind it. And always remember: paint makes all the difference in the world.”

Decorate like an adult

Chelsea peretti does standup
Miss Wright via Flickr

Like Cummings, Chelsea Peretti took over the Esquire “Ask a Comedian” column ahead of her Netflix comedy special One of the Greats back in 2014. Here’s the sage wisdom she imparted onto a reader seeking to set up her first “adult” apartment:

Is an “adult” apartment covered in d****s? Does it read The New York Times? Does it take yoga? Does it drive a minivan and drop its little-kid apartments off at school in the morning? I’m very interested in this unorthodox structure you describe. There are a lot of different kinds of adults, but when in doubt get a gold log end table (Google ‘gold log end table’ to see what I mean) or DIY paint something gold for a warm yet sophisticated color pop. You can find more examples of fancy decor on Pinterest or interior-design magazines.

Think of the future

But in the end, the best advice on keeping up your home might come from Mindy Kaling. She wrote on her blog, “I figure, it’s best to live your life and decorate your house such as if you ever become mega famous and died, people would have a lot of fun touring your crazy house.”

If you’re looking for decorating ideas, check out Kaling’s Instagram for occasional glimpses of her L.A. home.

Invest in MakeSpace

What if we told you that you could be sitting in a blissfully clean apartment right now without getting rid of a single thing? You’d probably laugh and tell us to leave the comedy to Carlin. But this isn’t a joke. It’s the power of MakeSpace.

To get started, simply schedule a pickup. We’ll come get your things – whether it’s an old coffee table, extra kitchen appliances, window air conditioner, or surfboard – and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you never forget what you have in storage.

That’s not all.

When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

It’s not a gag. It’s storage made simple.

Top image via Flickr/celebrityabc

Decluttering Flowchart: Finally Expel Clutter From Your Home

That umpteenth holiday sweater from Grandma … five years ago.

That watch from the one who got away … five years ago.

That pair of jeans you wore … five years ago.

That pair of shoes you rocked … five years ago.

That stack of magazines you read … five years ago.

That stack of ticket stubs from movies you saw … five years ago.

That stack of CDs you listened to … 17 years ago, before Napster hit the scene.

We all have “that.” The one thing, or multiple things, that we don’t use anymore.

The one thing, or multiple things, that have nothing better to do but sit on our shelves. Twiddle their thumbs. Hide underneath our beds. Scratch their heads. Sleep in our drawers. Creep on us from the back of our dark closets. Collect dust. And eat space.

Why?

Because “that” is buried out of sight, and thus, remains out of mind?

Because “that” meant a lot to us at one special time in our lives?

Maybe “that” did. Maybe “that” still does. Either way, “that” doesn’t always deserve to live in our homes, and eat our space, rent-free.

So how do you know whether to keep, store, sell, donate, recycle, or trash “that”?

You don’t. That’s why “that” is still in your home.

But maybe not for long. Our Decluttering Flowchart below will help you finally decide what to do with “that.” Because beautiful space is a terrible thing to waste.

Decluttering Flowchart by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff so you never have to visit a self-storage unit

Want to embed our Decluttering Flowchart on your site?

Dope. Copy the code below. And may your home — and life — always be clutter-free.

<p><a href="https://makespace.com/" target="_blank"><img src="https://cdn.makespace.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/10174707/decluttering-flowchart-makespace-storage.jpg" title="Decluttering Flowchart by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff."></a></p>
<p>via <a href="https://makespace.com/" target="_blank">MakeSpace</a></p>

KonMari Cheat Sheet: Easily Declutter Your Home Like Marie Kondo

Last updated October 13, 2017

You’ve read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it, well, changed your life.

You’ve also read Kondo’s new book Spark Joy, and it, yep, sparked joy for you.

But what happens when you need a KonMari Method refresher because you’re trying to stay on top of decluttering your home while juggling your busy career, social life, and genius DIY storage and furniture projects that you tackle on the weekends?

Or what happens when you just want to show a friend how to organize your apartment, once and for all?

You could reach for either of Marie Kondo’s books and flip through the pages. If you didn’t already donate, sell, or give the books to another friend who’s sharing a tiny apartment with a significant other and needs help keeping their home tidy.

Or, you can reach for no books and flip through zero pages. Because we made a step-by-step KonMari cheat sheet that you can save on your phone and bust out whenever you want.

The best part: It’ll help you feel happier faster than you can fold a shirt or organize your office desk.

Seriously. Check out our six-step KonMari cheat sheet below. And don’t forget to share it with your friends/future KonMari-ing Konverts.

Thank you!

Marie Kondo KonMari Method Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace, your full-service storage solution that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff.

Want to embed our KonMari Cheat Sheet on your site?

Sweet. Copy the code below. And may your home — and life — always spark joy.

<p><a href="https://makespace.com/" target="_blank"><img src="https://cdn.makespace.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/13164419/marie-kondo-konmari-method-cheat-sheet-makespace-storage.jpg" title="KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace" alt="KonMari Cheat Sheet by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff - for less than self-storage prices."></a></p>
<p>via <a href="https://makespace.com/" target="_blank">MakeSpace</a></p>

Want to store your stuff without visiting a self-storage unit?

Of course you do. Schedule a MakeSpace pickup, pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

We’ll pick up your stuff, store it in our secure storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of it so you never forget what you have in storage.

The best part:

When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

New York City
Washington, DC
Chicago
Los Angeles

Top image via Flickr/Web Summit

Marie Kondo Shows You How To Fold And Store A Shirt The KonMari Way

Wish you knew how to fold a shirt in a way that lets you store 10-20 more shirts in the same space required to hang 10? Learn the best way to fold shirts from none other than Marie Kondo, the inventor of the magical KonMari method of organizing who also just so happens to be the most organized person on the entire planet.

How to fold a shirt with short sleeves the KonMari way

An illustration from Spark Joy by Marie Kondo that shows how to fold a shirt with short sleeves the KonMari way.
Spark Joy/Houzz

On page 68 of Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy, Kondo writes that “Folding works best if you approach it like origami.” Which means after each fold, be sure to smooth your palm over your shirt before going on to the next fold. This helps your shirt keep its shape longterm and makes it so that you can store your shirt upright and save space.

Now let’s roll, we mean, fold:

Step 1

Fold one side of the shirt across the center.

Step 2

Fold the opposite side of the shirt the same way, stopping a little before the edge, to form a rectangle.

Step 3

Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise to reinforce the shirt’s shape.

Step 4

Fold the shirt again in half or in thirds. For an extra long shirt, you might have to fold it four or five times.

Step 5

Stand the folded shirt upright on a table.

If your shirt stays standing, congrats! You just mastered the KonMari method of folding shirts.

But you’re not done yet. You still have to put your shirt away. Store the shirt standing upright in a drawer, or effortlessly store it in MakeSpace, and then repeat the process with your other shirts.

If your shirt falls over, it could mean that the rectangle is too wide, or the height of your folds in Step 2 or Step 3 is too high or too low. Experiment with folding your shirt until you get it to stand upright, an accomplishment that Marie Kondo calls the “golden point of folding.”

Watch Marie Kondo in action:

 

How to fold a shirt with long sleeves the KonMari way

An illustration from Spark Joy by Marie Kondo showing how to fold a long-sleeve shirt fast the KonMari way.
Spark Joy/Houzz

To fold a long-sleeve shirt, fold its edges toward the center to make a rectangle, just like how we showed you to fold a short-sleeve shirt. And remember, smooth each fold with your palm before moving to the next fold.

The key to shirt-folding success: Fold the long sleeve all the way over to the opposite edge, and then fold it down toward the bottom while following the line of the shirt. Try your best to avoid making the sleeves overlap each other, which would only make the shirt take up more space than necessary.

Ready to see the KonMari method of folding a long-sleeve shirt in action?

Watch the below video from Ebury Reads, and enjoy the power of being able to store more shirts in your drawers and MakeSpace bins than you ever thought possible:

 

Bonus: While knowing how to fold a shirt like Marie Kondo is great and all, nothing beats knowing how to organize everything in your entire home. Download our new KonMari Cheat Sheet!

Win Marie Kondo’s New Book ‘Spark Joy’ (And Never Worry About Organizing Your Home Again)

In honor of Clean Off Your Desk Day, and because we want to help you live the most spacious life possible, we’re giving away four copies of Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy!

Who’s Marie Kondo?

Only the most organized person in the world/the Beyoncé of organizing. Through her “KonMari” method of organizing and best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she’s helped millions of people around the world declutter their homes for good.

Her secret? She advises you to only keep the things that “spark joy” (make you happy).

Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to worry about organizing your apartment again?

If you win a copy of Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, you don’t have to. Because you’ll learn how to finally organize and store everything from shirts, socks, kitchen tools, and toys, to cleaning supplies, papers, magazines, books, electronics, that awkward-but-adorable photo of you and your prom date, and more.

Enter to win a copy of Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy

All you have to do is tell us one item that sparks joy for you. Reply to this tweet, or comment on this Instagram post or this Facebook post, with your item and include #SparkJoy to be entered into the giveaway.

Act fast, though, because this giveaway ends this Friday, January 15th. We’ll pick a total of four winners at random from all of the entries received and notify them on that same day.*

Good luck!

Free Bonus: Even if you don't win, you can still learn how to organize everything in your apartment once, and never again. Download our new KonMari Cheat Sheet!

*To participate, you must be a legal US resident and at least 18 years old at the time of entry.

Here Are 8 Pages From Marie Kondo’s Upcoming Book ‘Spark Joy’

Just when you thought Marie Kondo changed your life with her #1 New York Times Best Seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “The Beyoncé of Organizing” is about to do it all over again.

That’s right Konverts. Mark your calendars for January 5, 2016 because that’s when Marie Kondo is releasing a new book!

Aptly titled Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, Marie Kondo’s new book will, according to the book’s website, “present an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections.”

Finally, we’ll learn what to do with our piles of TPS reports, Baublescomic bookstchotchkes, and sneakers that we’ve been collecting for years.

 

Marie Kondo’s new book will also include “user-friendly line drawings” that “illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts [which you can quickly learn by watching the video below], pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets.”

 

Perhaps our favorite part about Spark Joy, though, is going to be that Marie Kondo adds “in-depth advice on moving, packing, and dealing with necessary objects that may not spark joy—answering all the questions she’s gotten since her first book [like these questions from Marie Kondo’s Reddit AMA].” Which means you’re going to get more of Kondo’s terrific tidying teachings delivered straight to your system, via a captivating capsule that contains 304 pages of delightful decluttering and organizing magic.

Spark Joy’s website says, “This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy.” So basically, everyone.

Can’t wait until January 5th to get your next KonMari fix?

You’re in luck. Here’s an excerpt from Spark Joy:

But wait. There’s more. The world-renowned organizing consultant is releasing Life-Changing Magic: A Journal, a “companion” to her first book, on December 29th.

The front cover of Marie Kondo's book "Life-Changing Magic: A Journal" to be released on December 29, 2015.
Penguin Random House

According to Life-Changing Magic: A Journal’s website, the 3-year journal will guide you through applying Kondo’s “spark joy” test not just to your belongings, but also to your activities and relationships.

In other words, your squad is about to get Kondoed. Just like your summer clothes, which you can effortlessly store in MakeSpace.

Bonus: We just launched a KonMari Method Cheat to help you declutter your home for good. Download our new KonMari Cheat Sheet today!

15 Facts You Don’t Know About Marie Kondo

It seems like everyone is obsessed with superstar organizing consultant Marie Kondo (us included). Google her and you’ll find article after article touting her hyper minimalist decluttering and organizing method, coined “KonMari,” in which she encourages you to discard everything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

It might sound odd at first, but the result of accurately following the KonMari method is a permanently organized and spacious home in which you’re surrounded by only happiness.

“Surrounded by happiness.” Sounds nice.

The Beyoncé of Organization” also has some fascinating idiosyncrasies — not the least of which is that she actually loves clutter. Here are 15 surprising facts about the most organized person on the planet.

1. Marie Kondo is influenced by Shintoism.

In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo states that the goal of tidying up is to transform your home into “a sacred space, a power spot filled with pure energy.” She also recommends that you set up a mini shrine in your home that displays your sacred objects.

As it turns out, Kondo worked part time at a Shinto shrine when she was 18 years old and sold lucky charms at a kiosk. “It [Shintoism] influences me, but not as strongly as you might think,” Kondo said in her Reddit AMA.

2. You can keep items that don’t spark joy, but only under one condition.

A fan on Reddit asked “What do you recommend to your clients when something does not bring joy, but is necessary and can’t simply be discarded? For example, a winter coat if you live in a cold climate, or a set of dishes.”

Kondo replied, “Those things are helping you every single day. So you should appreciate how they are contributing to your life. Change the relationship with those items, by appreciating their contributions to your life.”

3. Marie Kondo’s last name is a verb.

How do you know when to call mom and dad to tell them that you’ve made it big?

When your name becomes a verb. And your work, a social media phenomenon.

4. Marie Kondo adjusts her tidying advice based on the culture of her Konvert, err, client.

“Japan has more limited space, maybe some people in America might not have that space issue, so maybe they need a different way of thinking to de-clutter the space,” wrote Kondo on Reddit.

She also told Fast Company “Children in the U.S. have more toys, and that makes it harder for my American clients to tidy up.”

(Pssst … there are some toy storage solutions to help with that.)

5. Marie Kondo is married. She and her husband have a daughter.


Marie Kondo is married to Takumi Kawahara, and she announced in this blog post on July 17, 2015 that she gave birth to a baby girl (check out People Magazine for more photos).

How soon will she teach her child the ways of KonMari?

When her child is 3 years old, apparently.

“[Once] children are over 3 years old, they have some ability to figure out if it [an item] sparks joy or not,” wrote Kondo on Reddit. Although we’re pretty sure that we found joy in things before we were three, such as chewing on everything we could find.

6. Marie Kondo doesn’t like pants.

While shopping at Anthropologie’s flagship location in Rockefeller Center, Kondo told The New Yorker that she doesn’t wear pants because “several years ago they stopped bringing her joy.”

7. Marie Kondo chills with Ellen DeGeneres, Emma Watson, Twitter, Airbnb, and eBay.

Cuckoo♪ #twitter #london

A photo posted by Marie “KonMari” Kondo (@mariekondo) on

Marie’s #KonMari demonstration at #AirbnbOpen ✨ #tidyingup #sparkjoy #prekonmariclothing #airbnb #airbnbhost

A photo posted by Marie “KonMari” Kondo (@mariekondo) on

8. Marie Kondo always wears white. Always.

Professional organizer Marie Kondo wears white because it represents cleanliness.

Search “Marie Kondo” on Google Images and you’ll see that she’s ALWAYS wearing white. Why?

Because it’s associated with cleanliness. “It is part of my brand,” she told The New Yorker. We imagine that she of all people wouldn’t have a hard time keeping her wardrobe clean.

9. Marie Kondo (secretly) loves clutter.

 

Contrary to what you’d expect from “The most organized woman in the world,” clutter gets Kondo excited “because it is a good feeling for me to imagine how this person can declutter,” she told one Redditor who asked how much it bothers her to see a cluttered and messy house.

Kondo is a true testament to following your passion in life.

10. Marie Kondo loathes a certain type of mess.

Bad smells. AKA the mess of the nose. AKA scent mess.

“If a room has some garbage, like stinky garbage, old food and stuff, yes it does bother me sometimes. But not because of the amount of clutter, it is just the smell,” she admitted.

11. Marie Kondo likes to keep a low profile.

Even through all the fame and attention she’s received from her philosophy of tidying, Kondo maintains a very low profile. Despite the hundreds of homes that this professional organizer has worked in, Kondo has never invited a reporter into her own home.

12. Marie Kondo can organize anything, including your messy underwear drawer.

Take notes and study the master at work.

13. Marie Kondo released two new books.

Just when you thought Marie Kondo changed your life, the world-famous organizing consultant and best-selling author is about to do it all over again with not one, but two new books:

Life-Changing Magic: A Journal, which was released on December 29, 2015

and

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (watch the book trailer below), which was released on January 5, 2016.

14. Marie Kondo is releasing an app.

konmari app screens on iphone 6
KonMari Media, Inc.

Tidying up? There will soon be an app for that.

That’s right. Marie Kondo is going to release an official KonMari app/Instagram for Konverts. Using the KonMari app, you’ll be able to:

  • Track and photograph your progress tidying each of the KonMari method’s five categories — clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and sentimental items.
  • Set due dates and reminders.
  • Follow and motivate other Konverts, and get feedback from them.
  • Stalk Stay up to date on everyone’s tidying action through your dashboard and community feed.

But that’s not all Marie Kondo has up her genius pristine sleeve. Eventually you’ll have the opportunity to become a trained and certified KonMari consultant.

Here’s proof:

A screenshot of a comment on one of Marie Kondo's Instagram posts indicating that her team is working on a way to train and certify KonMari consultants.
Instagram/konmari_method

It was only a matter of time until Marie Kondo conquered, err, organized the entire world.

July 18, 2016 Update: You can now download the KonMari app on the App Store, and become a certified KonMari consultant. Have fun!

15. Marie Kondo owns a media company.

A screenshot of KonMari Media, Inc.'s (a media company owned by famous organizing consultant and best-selling author Marie Kondo) LinkedIn company page.
LinkedIn

Of course Marie Kondo owns a media company. It’s called, you guessed it, KonMari Media, Inc. And it’s based in Manhattan.

How do we know?

Sign up to be one of the first people to try the KonMari app and you’ll see what we mean.

Want to learn more about Marie Kondo and how you can declutter and organize your life using her amazingly-effective KonMari method of tidying?

Read these articles:

KonMari Method Cheat Sheet: Easily Declutter Your Home Like Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo Shows You How To Fold And Store A Shirt The KonMari Way

How To Organize Your Apartment Once (And Never Again)

Easily Organize Your Office Desk For Good — In Under 4 Minutes

Easily Organize Your Office Desk For Good — In Under 4 Minutes

Organizing your office desk isn’t easy. But you already know that if you have piles of papers, magazines, books, mail, Post-its, pens, highlighters, and other office supplies dotting your desk’s landscape like pepperoni.

What you might also want to know are the effects of having an untidy desk:

In a survey by OfficeMax of over 1,000 adults in the U.S., 90% said they feel clutter has a negative impact on their life. 77% said their productivity is negatively impacted, which spells doom for your looming TPS report due date.

“Clutter around you splinters your focus each time you look around. This can cause a mental logjam that triggers the same feeling of stress that being overwhelmed by work does,” wrote professional organizer Brooke Stone on the relationship between clutter and mental health.

So how do you organize your desk space without taking too much time away from actually doing your work? And how do you easily keep your desk organized moving forward?

The answer is simple:

We’re going to show you how to organize your desk in under 4 minutes, about the same length as one song playing on the radio. If you follow these instructions, you won’t have to organize your desk at work, or home, ever again.

What’s the secret?

KonMari, a super-effective organizing method developed by famous organization and decluttering consultant Marie Kondo.

KonMari is so powerful that Marie’s clients never return. Not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t have to. The results are everlasting. And they can be for you too.

Ready to learn the best way to organize your desk once and for all?

Step 1. Hold an item from your desk and ask yourself this one question:

Does this spark joy?

Step 2. If you answer “yes,” keep the item.

Items that make you smile and laugh will brighten even the toughest of days with the tightest of deadlines. Keep them.

Step 3. If you answer “no,” get rid of the item.

Before you get rid of an item that doesn’t spark joy, say “thank you” to it.

Sounds insane, right?

But by thanking the item for the time it spent supporting you throughout your career, you’re making it easier on your conscious to toss it in the garbage, recycle it, or give it to a coworker who wants it.

A perfect candidate is the iPhone charger you have two of because one is your spare and the other is a gift you never use. Instead of letting the unused charger nibble at the sparse space on your desk, give it to that work buddy who always asks to borrow one.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1–3 for everything on your desk.

Repeat steps 1–3 for every single item on your desk, on your shelf, and in your drawer until only the items that spark joy remain. But skip your computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, phone, and anything else you absolutely need to do your job since those tools should stay.

Step 5. Set a clean slate for all your joy-sparking stuff.

It turns out your desk space is less clean than you think:

The average desk has 400x more bacteria than the average toilet according to microbiologist and University of Arizona professor Charles Gerba. So be sure to clean your desk with disinfecting desk and office wipes, or desk and office spray cleaner and some paper towel.

Step 6. Assign a place to store every joy-sparking item.

For example, a great place to store your paper clips, tape, and Post-its are inside a small box or organizer inside your drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. Until the next time you need those office supplies to build a lint roller for your headphone jack and a keyboard cleaner.

Now here’s the most important thing for you to remember to keep your desk permanently organized:

When you’re done using a joy-sparking item, always put it back in its designated spot.

Eventually repeated behavior becomes a habit according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. At that point, you won’t have to think about putting things back where they belong. It’ll be second nature for you.

And just like that, your desk is organized, clean, and decluttered. Forever. Leaving you with nothing but a more focused, happy, and productive mind to crush your ever-expanding to-do list.

“It’s nice to be able to actually see the things that I care about, instead of just junk everywhere,” said Fast Company Senior Editor Erin Schulte after Marie Kondo organized her office desk. “What this does is it gets rid of a lot of the mental clutter and chaos. And it kind of just helps you focus on the things you’re actually supposed to be working on.”

Want to see Marie Kondo’s organization magic in action before you perform it on your own desk?

Watch this Fast Company video of Marie Kondo organizing Erin Schulte’s desk in less than four minutes.

And if you’re open to sharing your results, tweet us @MakeSpace with before and after photos using #TidyingUp. We’d love to see your desk transform into a terrifically tidy table, too.

Bonus: Get a free KonMari Cheat Sheet

Organizing your work desk is great and all, but what about your home?

There’s a free KonMari Cheat Sheet for that.

How To Organize Your Apartment Once (And Never Again)

“Organize Apartment.” It’s the permanent to-do list fixture. The recurring New Year’s resolution.

What if we told you that you could organize your apartment only once, and never again? (Which should make keeping your New Year’s Resolution a cinch.)

Well, it’s real. It has PureWow calling its creator “The most organized woman in the world,” and Fast Company calling her “The Beyoncé of Organizing.”

The method is called “KonMari,” a mash-up of the inventor’s name, Marie Kondo. She’s a highly-sought-after organization consultant/celebrity from Japan who wrote about her reliable method in the best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

While other organization experts advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach of throwing out things you don’t use, Marie encourages you to shift your mindset to the feelings your items evoke by adopting a minimalist, category-by-category technique where you only keep the items that make you happy.

The result? Everlasting organization. No really, her customers never return.

 

We recommend you order a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up here. It includes step-by-step instructions for organizing every item in your apartment so you can “enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home — and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.” When you’re done reading it, make the world a better place and pass it along to a friend.

Until then, here are seven organization tips we learned from Marie’s book that you can follow today. These tips will help you transform your apartment from “Help! The walls are closing in,” to a spacious paradise of beauty, peace, and inspiration.

1. Organize now.

“Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever,” writes Marie. We couldn’t agree more. When you organize your apartment a little bit at a time, week by week, it starts to feel like a never-ending chore. Instead, set aside time to tackle everything at once. You’ll reap the benefits of having more space in your apartment sooner.

2. Sort your items by category, not room.

“When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish. To escape this negative spiral, tidy by category, not by place,” writes Marie.

To tidy by category, collect and sort your belongings starting with the easiest items to part with and ending with the most difficult. Sort your clothes first, followed by your books, papers, komono (the Japanese word for “miscellaneous items” such as spare buttons, cords, and kitchen supplies), and then sentimental objects such as your photos and love letters.

marie kondo tidying up and sorting items into categories
Japan Realm

3. Ask yourself one question.

Once you’ve sorted all the items in your apartment, hold each item and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” If you answer “Yes,” keep it. If you answer “No,” then donate, recycle, or discard the item.

“By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle,” writes Marie. A lifestyle that involves a new roomy haven in which you’re surrounded by only love and happiness.

Heads up: If you live in New York City, certain electronics are banned from disposal. Here’s a list of recycling options for your electronics in NYC.

4. Recycle paper and packaging.

How many times have you read the instruction manual for your new laptop? When are you going to need your iPhone box? Chances are your answer is “never.” Recycle papers and packaging you don’t need. If you have bills you already paid and credit card statements taking up precious counter space, guess what? Those can be shredded. You have access to mostly everything online.

If you need to keep important documents like contracts, warranties, and insurance policies though, file them away neatly. Stylish boxes like the ones pictured below are an attractive option.

shoe box organizers
Asian Cajuns

5. Donate books.

How many books do you have sitting on a shelf collecting dust? How many of them have you read more than once? Donate those books and spend time reading the one that’ll excite you.

Pro tip: Get a Kindle so you can read and store thousands of books in only one hand.

6. Don’t keep gifts you dislike.

Got a gift you didn’t like over the holidays? Don’t feel obliged to keep it. Let your gifts go with gratitude. Thank not only the person who gave it to you, but also thank the item for the time it spent with you. Then donate the gift without the guilt. Or re-gift it to someone who you think would love it.

7. Assign a home for the items you keep.

Once you’re left with only the items that spark joy, designate a place, or what we like to call a “home” for each one. When you’re not using an item, place it in its home. Eventually, putting things where they belong, in their homes, becomes second nature to you. Organize this way once and you’re done. Forever.

Take a look at these before and afters:

Free Bonus: You don't always have time to read an entire book or blog post. So we made a quick KonMari Method Cheat Sheet that you can save on your phone and whip out at any time. Download our brand new KonMari Cheat Sheet today!

Pro Tip: Fold your shirts the KonMari way and store them standing up in a drawer. You’ll be able to store 10-20 more shirts in the same space required to hang 10. Watch this video to see it in action:

 

8. Effortlessly store the rest of your stuff in MakeSpace.

As for the items you love, but don’t necessarily need within arm’s reach, schedule a MakeSpace pickup. Unlike self-storage, we’ll pick up, store, and deliver your stuff back whenever you want.

The result: More space in your home. And more free time to do the things you love instead of visit a storage unit.

Take it from Alex Stone. We’re keeping his comic books safe and in mint condition:

 

Kondo’s book title promises to change your life. And with over 2 million copies sold, a Japanese TV drama based on the international bestseller, and a three-month long waiting list for consulting sessions with Kondo, people around the world are discovering the life-changing magic of KonMari. Are you next?

Get a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and schedule a MakeSpace pickup to enjoy an infinite closet like our friend Alex.