Which De-Cluttering Cult Is Right For You?

konmari and beyond

It seems like in the past few months, a little book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has taken over the world. Or my world, at least. Growing up in a house where you might encounter a taxidermied boar or a lamp that “will get fixed one day,” has, over time, developed into habits of extreme tidiness in my adult-ish-hood.

Tidy people are often labeled neat freaks (fair), germaphobes (not the same thing!), and all-around high strung. In reality, though, most people who crave tidiness are craving calm. Marie Kondo, a organizing consultant from Japan, has reached guru status due to precisely this lure. Crowds flock to her sold-out lectures and her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. From millennials to moms, it’s a phenomenon that speaks to overwhelment with the Internet and accumulation of cheaper fast fashion. Even those who aren’t usual tidiers are intrigued by the idea that getting rid of things could feel really good. Like, addictingly good.

But Kondo’s cleanse is not the only way to hop onboard the organization cult bandwagon. Here are some options that could help out every person.

The problem: “My apartment is cluttered. I need to pare down and get simple.”

The solution: The KonMari method.

This system requires a harsh day, and then upkeep. The key principles center around letting go: “Organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go,” she writes. “Take each item in one’s hand and ask: Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”

Once you’re done, you’ll have piles to donate or toss, and even an official Kondo-ite way of folding your clothes so as to never slink back into clutter again.

Check out: Marie Kondo’s classic, and her new book “Spark Joy.”

The problem: “My whole life feels like a packed bathroom cabinet. I’m losing my shit.”

The solution: Holistic guides to minimalism.

There, there. Be it after a breakup, or at the end of January when those New Year’s resolutions seem desperately out of reach, we’ve all been there.

Minimalism 101 guides are gaining popularity and will take you through purging your possessions and on to your to-do lists, your bank account, and social calendar.

Check out: “The Joy of Less” and “Organized Simplicity.”

The problem: “My biggest issue is my closet. I don’t know what to wear in the morning.”

The solution: Capsuling your clothes.

The term “capsule” comes from the seasonal aspect of this method—you can create a winter, spring, summer, and fall capsule to rotate in when the time is right.

Each capsule, however, is quite organized. Taking assessment of what you have—in spreadsheet form or otherwise—and deciding which items are crucial to your look, is the first step.

The end result of capsuling looks like a closet where all pieces can be worn together, ridding yourself of that “I love this, but I never wear it” issue. It can feel brutal to get rid of signature pieces, but unless you really wear it, begone!

Check out: Blogs like Un-Fancy and Into Mind for inspiration and checklists for creating your capsules.

The problem: “Sure I’m overwhelmed, but even more overwhelmed by all these SYSTEMS.”

The solution: Stay strong, friend.

When I went through all the all the previous organization trends, my partner stayed planted on the couch watching Tiny House Nation (ironic, no?). There’s no rule that says you have to throw out "joyless" socks to live a tidy life. And better yet, if you DGAF about being tidy...I’m jealous, and I salute you.