Since her first book’s publication in 2011, Marie Kondo’s joyful cleaning tactics have sold over 11 million copies and launched a decluttering revolution across the globe. But until your application clears for a spot on her brand-new Netflix reality show, consider purging your closet with the below guidelines instead.
On a recent visit to PureWow HQ, Kondo kindly synthesized her “clothing” methodology into four simple questions to ask of each piece in your wardrobe. (And yes, she literally wants you to talk to them.)
1. What purpose did the item fulfill?
According to Kondo, gauging what a garment brought into your life is essential to parting with it: “Before letting go of an item, think about what role or purpose it played in your life. Even if you never wore the outfit, it taught you a valuable lesson about what suits you. Thanking the item not only diminishes the guilt of parting with it, but it also clarifies what items best support your ideal lifestyle in the future.”
2. Do I have a set home for this item?
In order to keep something, it must have an established home within your own. Kondo is a huge fan of using boxes to create micro homes inside of drawers—ex: a small box for camisoles, a long, narrow boxes for socks, etc. “Every item you own requires a designated spot. By assigning a 'home' for each of your items, you’ll be able to return it to where it belongs at the end of the day and maintain a tidy space."
3. Am I showing enough gratitude toward the item?
Along with creating an organized, clutter-free home, Kondo insists her method will change your mental outlook. The idea? By approaching cleaning with a loving, thankful heart, it becomes a less agonizing task. “Your items support you. Take time to express gratitude for the clothes you wore and the accessories you put on. This practice will make you conscious of how many thing enhance your daily life and will bring peace to your heart.”
4. Does this spark joy?
The money question. At the core of her philosophy, Kondo wants us to only own items that make us truly happy every time we touch, look at or wear them: “Keep only the items that spark joy and let go of any that do not,” says Kondo. “As a result, you will feel happier and more peaceful.” An added bonus? “By repeatedly asking yourself what sparks joy, you may transform other areas of your life too, such as your relationships or your work.”