Should You Follow the Konmari Method of Decluttering?

Have you ever heard about the Konmari method of decluttering?

In case you haven’t, allow me to give you a brief background.

The Konmari method is a decluttering process taught by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant.

According to Marie, decluttering has six basic rules:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, instead of location.
  5. Follow the correct order as follows: clothes, books, papers, komono (all other items), sentimental items
  6. Decide what to keep and what to discard based on whether it sparks joy or not.

The Konmari method has revolutionized the way people declutter their homes. Whether you agree with it or not, you cannot deny the fact that many have already tried and have been helped by this method.

Marie Kondo also held a show on Netflix where she would enter a home and help the owner declutter. You may describe her as delightful, and I think that’s why people are drawn to her and her method of tidying up.

While the Konmari method is a helpful way to get rid of the clutter and transform your home into a haven, you may find that some of its rules just can’t be applied in your life.

More importantly, the underlying principles behind this decluttering method have serious conflicts with Christian teachings. As Christian women, we must not only be aware of these, but also discerning.

It’s easy for us to fall prey to false beliefs. So we must always test every belief and practice, whether they are in line with the Word of God or not.

That being said, here are five reasons to pause and discern to determine whether you should declutter the Konmari way.

1. The Konmari method teaches you to thank the thing before discarding it.

Konmari method teaches to thank the thing before discarding.

Before getting rid of an item, Marie Kondo teaches that you should sincerely thank that item for serving its purpose.

While this process seems okay and even looks good at the surface, is this how God really wants us to treat our things?

Should you really thank your things?

Imagine receiving a gift from your hubby. To whom do you say thank you? To the gift?

Nope…

You say thank you to your husband of course!

Now let’s take it the other way around.

You have this special gift for your husband that you have been saving for your anniversary. When you give it to him, he is so surprised! You are so delighted that he loves it!

And then, he thanks the thing, not you.

How does that make you feel?

Thank the giver, not the thing.

Thank the giver, not the thing.

Contrary to what Marie Kondo teaches, your things do not have spirits. They are inanimate objects and there is no life in them.

So instead of focusing on your things, focus on the giver, and thank him.

Now who gave you all those things that you are decluttering? Who is the real source of everything you have?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,

and comes down from the Father of lights,

with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Whatever you have right now – trash or treasure, new or old, never-been-used or worn out, all these came from God.

Thank God, not things.

Thank God, not your stuff.

He is the one deserving of your thanksgiving.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

2. The Konmari method teaches you to keep only those things that spark joy.

Konmari method teaches to keep only the things which spark joy in you.

First, what if your things just don’t spark joy, but you need them?

Like when I touch my pen and it doesn’t spark any joy, does this mean I get to discard it?

Naah… It doesn’t spark any joy, but I don’t really need it to spark joy to keep it.

I use this pen to write my thoughts and the things I have to do everyday. It has a purpose in my life. This is why I’m keeping it.

Focus on the item’s purpose.

Focus on the item's purpose, not necessarily on whether it sparks joy or not.

Rather on focusing on the joy part, focus on the purpose of the item in your life.

For example, a piece of clothing – is it still doing its purpose? Your clothing only does its purpose when you wear it. So do you wear it?

Yes?

Now does it have a place in your closet?

If none, then, is this clothing so important in your life, that you are willing to let go of another clothing just so you can give that space permanently to this piece?

Yes?

Then keep it, and discard the other clothing.

If you answered No to any of those questions, then… buh bye clothing!

Now another issue is the joy part.

There is nothing wrong in keeping things that you love. But when you expect these things to spark joy for you, that’s when you get into trouble.

Don't make things the source of your joy.

When you expect your things to spark joy, you are giving these inanimate objects the power to control how you feel.

You’re making your things the source of your joy; when the truth is, these are just things and you should never rely on stuff to bring you joy.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty,

nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God,

who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

1 Timothy 6:17

Rely on God to bring you joy.

It is God who gives you joy.

You will show me the path of life;

In your presence is fullness of joy;

At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

It is only God who can give you real joy. Don’t settle for the counterfeit that you may feel from your things.

3. The Konmari method teaches you that you should declutter all at once.

Konmari method teaches to declutter all at once.

While nothing is wrong with a one-time big-time declutter, if you are a busy wife and Mom, juggling responsibilities like laundry, meal prep, playing with your kids and homeschooling them, and helping out your husband, you’re going to realize soon that decluttering all at once is an impossible feat.

But worry not because this is not the only way you can succeed with decluttering.

Many women have decluttered their homes in increments, like 15 minutes daily, or more when time allows for it. And it has worked for them.

I will also admit that in my case, 15-minute daily decluttering projects  have created the changes  in our home. That would not have happened if I followed the declutter-all-at-once method as the Konmari teaches.

Over time, it has also helped me develop a declutter habit. At first, decluttering felt like a burden. But the daily practice made it stick, and today, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t feel like a burden anymore. It has become a part of my homekeeping routine.

So again, nothing is wrong with the Konmari method’s declutter-all-at-once method. But it’s just  not for everybody.

4. The Konmari method teaches you that you must declutter per category, and in the following order: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), sentimental items.

Konmari method teaches that you must declutter per category.

While there’s nothing wrong again with decluttering per category, it doesn’t mean that this is what you must follow, and in that order, through and through.

If you find this practical for you, then by all means do so.

But if not, don’t lose hope because again, this is not the only way.

You can declutter per location.

Start in one room. Divide that room into sections. Then declutter per section.

As you transform each area of the room into a clutter-free zone, work your way through until that one room is entirely clutter-free. Then do this again to another room, until you finish all the rooms in your home.

This may take a lot more time than Konmari’s declutter per category method, but it does the job too, and for some women, they just need more time to go through the decluttering process.

5. The Konmari method teaches that when you’re done decluttering, you will never ever fall back into your old disorganized habits.

Konmari method teaches that when you're done decluttering, you will never ever fall back into your old disorganized habits.

It’s just like saying that if you follow the Konmari method of decluttering, your home will be organized forever. Clutter just won’t come in anymore.

I wish this was true. But it’s just not.

The truth is, keeping your house in order once is not a guarantee that it will stay that way. You still have to stick to a handful of daily habits to maintain it.

You need to be constantly putting things back to where they belong. You have to wash the dishes and clear the counters every night. You need to tackle the laundry before it starts to pile up. You have to be conscious of your purchases and not just buy based on how you feel.

There are many small habits that you must implement to maintain a tidy home. And when you do not have the discipline to do so, guess what?

Your home is going to return to its previous cluttered state.


The konmari method of declutering has helped a lot of people already. But just because it has worked for some doesn’t mean that it’s the only method that works for everybody.

While some of Marie Kondo’s tips are practical, like commit time to declutter, and fold your clothes this way so that it doesn’t take up too much space, it must be noted that Shintoism is at the heart of her practice. Naturally, her advice is influenced by Shintoism – a belief and culture that we do not share as Christians.

So rather than simply following what you watch on Netflix, or what you read in her books, examine everything from a Christian standpoint.

Remember that our Savior came to this world to show us how to really live. He is the perfect example of the simplicity that is found in God.

We want to declutter because we want to simplify our lives. So let’s declutter in light of God’s Word!


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