Using the KonMari Approach for De Cluttering Your Cavendish Home

                                                                  POST UPDATED 9-5-17

Does it seem like a number of people you know have read or use some aspect of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by the Japanese author Marie Kondo? Many are finding it a very easy way to de clutter and kept it that way. 

In a nutshell, the idea is to only keep things that “spark joy” when you look at them, and say “Thank you,” as you discard everything else.  You only keep the things you want in your home, your space will be cleaner and you will feel happier in it.

The process is simple. Gather all items in a similar category, such as clothes, books, or paper, regardless of where they appear in the house and put them in one location. Start sorting.

When you pick up an object ask one question-does it spark joy? If it elicits a response from feeling nothing to “hate it”, discard it for recycling if possible at the following locations:

Area thrift stores: Black River Good Neighbor , Chester-Andover Family Center , SEVCA or Wag Sales at the Springfield Humane Society

Planet Aid Boxes: Bins are located in Chester, Springfield and Claremont. Check Find a Bin for most convenient location. 

• Give Back Box Program: Goodwill and Amazon have teamed up for the Give Back Box program. After removing items from the Amazon box, a user fills it with clothes, accessories and other items you want to donate and then visits to print a free shipping label. The box can be dropped off at the post office or UPS or picked up. Donations go to the closest Goodwill participating in the Give Back Box program.

• Repurpose: Can’t bear to part with various clothing items? Repurpose them into other practical uses, such as shopping tote, rag rug, sweater mittens, pillows and more. Check out the following links for more ideas: 11 Innovative Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes or DIY Upcycling Clothing

 • Goodwill Industries Goodwill reuses, repurposes and recycles clothing, household goods, computers, small appliances and others materials. You can donate items at 230 North Main Street daily 8-4 in Rutland. Unlike other thrift stores, Goodwill has a workforce development and job-training component. Their philosophy is “a hand up, not a hand out.”  

• Cavendish Transfer Station:  Many items can be recycled for free at the Cavendish Transfer Station. Please check the website for more details. 


1. Tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible: Set a deadline, such as sort clothes on Saturday morning. It’s a special event, not something to do everyday.

2. Sort by category, not by location: Having everything in one place makes you not only aware of how much you have, including duplications, but how much of it you don’t use and even if it’s weighing you down.

 3. Is this necessary for me? Does it “spark joy?”: If it’s necessary, such as tax returns for the last seven years or medications, it’s a keep. For everything else, hold it and ask yourself if it sparks joy? Does it make you happy? When you pick up an object and it elicits a response somewhere between feeling nothing to “hate it”, thank it and let it go. For those necessary items, they benefit you in some ways and in time can generate more positive feelings.

"Never decide to keep something because it 'might come in handy.' An item may be good, useful, and even beautiful, however if it only seems like it should make you happy, but it really doesn’t, then it’s time to thank it and say goodbye. That’s right, say 'thank you' to the item... It will help you feel better about the decision you’ve made, and it will help you feel more gratitude towards the stuff you keep."

4. Order of Tidying: Clothes, Books, Documents, miscellaneous items, and mementos. The last one, mementos, is often the hardest so by doing the others first, you’ll have sufficient practice in realizing what sparks joy in you and can make the sort easier.

GETTING STARTED: You might find it useful to read Kondo’s book or watch one of her videos Marie Kondo and New York Magazine’s Wendy Goodman or her talk at Google. While the talks are similar, the question and answers differ. Join Marie Kondo’s Facebook page for lots of tips and ideas. 


• Start with easy stuff: Start with non-sentimental categories and work up to the big stuff. Given that it’s the change of season-starting with clothes is a good idea.

• Use the handy Konmari Method Worksheet  to help you decide which categories (clothes & accessories; books; kitchen; paper; hobbies; miscellaneous) to work on.

• Discard than organize: If you start worrying about how you are going to organize the items you are keeping while trying to discard, you will derail the process. Besides Mari has excellent ways to fold clothes and store items so you don’t need to go out and purchase anything.

• Don’t let guilt be your guide: Holding onto items that you don’t use, let alone bring joy, no matter who gave them to you, isn’t useful. Thank them for being a reminder of someone’s generosity towards you and then pass them on. Remember, the Cavendish Town Wide Tag is always the last Saturday in July. Both individuals and organizations find this is a good way to make extra money.

• Use the Cavendish Transfer Station to get rid of stuff and recycle including E-Waste: Outdated computers, old printers and other electronics that are taking up space.

• Use the Cavendish Community Garage Sale Facebook page  to sell or get rid of things you no longer want. It’s Free.

• Pass on the Sentiment: While a family heirloom may not spark joy in you, it may be very appreciated by another member of the family. Pass it on.

• Do it all at once: Set aside a day or a weekend and do a category all at once. The transformation is amazing.

• Don’t show your family what you’re discarding: If you do, they’ll start taking things out.

• Everything needs a home: Once you have finished discarding, you can start the process of organizing. The best way to maintain a sense of minimalism is to have a dedicated spot for everything.   It makes both tidying and finding things a breeze (reduces stress) and also makes it easy to see when you are starting to amass again.

• Stack Vertically When Possible: When you pile things on top of each other, the stuff on the bottom gets crushed. Staking vertically treats items with respect.

• Use the videos to Learn to Fold Clothes: There are good videos to watch in order to learn how to fold and store clothing, which are easier than reading about them. Check out Illustrated Guide to the KonMari Method of folding clothes

• Don’t bulk up: In general buying in bulk isn’t a great savings for many –it goes bad before getting to use it and/or it can be a major source of clutter.

• Don’t hold on to Paper: Thanks to computers, you only need to keep taxes and other necessary documents and papers that require action. Place any sentimental items you come across in the sentimental box to be dealt with last so that you can move through the papers swiftly. Remember paper can be recycled for free at the Cavendish Transfer Station. For those who tear things out of magazines, start a Pinterest Board instead.


School Kids Stuff: If you see that a piece of artwork, or an exam or a paper, is something that produces pride for the child, you should not get rid of it. In fact, you should display it, as it gives joy to the whole family. But if you find that the artwork (etc.) is more important to you than it is to the child, perhaps it’s time to get rid of it.

 These sorts of items are similar to gifts from family members or other loved ones, the true joy in experiencing these items is felt when the painting or paper is brought home, and you see that your child has such great pride in the piece. And you share that moment together. When that feeling of pride is diminished, or maybe they now feel more strongly about some other works, say thank you to the artwork for the weeks or months of pleasure it has given your family, and let it go. I know that sounds strange for some people, but try it, it really works.

 For school papers and exams, store them neatly in a binder. And for smaller sculptures or figures, if these truly give you and your family joy, you should definitely display them, perhaps on a little shelf in your living room, which is dedicated to the works of art and crafts from your child. I always tell my clients and readers that no matter what an item is, if it brings you joy, you should put it in a place where you will see it often. But be sure that when the time is right and you don’t feel that the piece sparks joy in your or your family anymore, don’t be afraid to get rid of it. Just be thankful for the time your family had with that piece, and love the “new stuff” even more. Marie Kondo on the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — With Kids

Getting Kids to Tidy: Start with the Marie Kondo on the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — With Kids