People are not quite done spring cleaning their homes. When the minimalism-inspired aesthetics of Japanese professional organizer Marie Kondo sent the world on a tidying-up frenzy last January, the KonMari method of organizing stuff by category, instead of by room, immediately gained a following.
Many aimed for a house filled only with items that “spark joy.”
“What we hold on to blocks whatever new that wants to come in,” said Christine Dychiao, the Philippines’ first and only certified KonMari consultant, during the exclusive KonMari workshop hosted by Ethan Allen for 20 of its VIP clients. Dychiao trained with the Marie Kondo team in Chicago.
Dychiao said people should stop holding on to items they hope “to use someday.” Start with doable things, like donating those skinny jeans you hope to fit in again, or your hoard of hotel toiletries that ended up gathering dust.
“Tidy your space to transform your life. A messy house means a messy mind,” she said.
If there’s an item you dislike, Dychiao said, refrain from giving it away unless someone volunteers to keep it. Don’t pass the burden of keeping an unwanted item to friends and family. There are many organizations who might want to keep it.
Tidy up by category
There are basic rules to the KonMari approach: 1) Commit to the task of tidying up, picture yourself in that ideal lifestyle;
2) Discard unwanted items, but first thank them for serving their purpose; 3) Tidy up by category (clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, sentimental items) not by location; 4) Follow the right order; 5) Ask yourself if they spark joy.
To some people, that sounds simple enough, but to others, the mere thought of following “rules” is objectionable.
When it comes to cleaning up, do you have the organizing habits of a left- or right-brainer? Here’s a test from Dychiao to help you get started. Find out how you organize, based on your personality, to make the process less of a chore.
Tick off the entry that matches your personality:
1) When I’m finished using an item, I put it away immediately.
2) I love being surrounded by vibrant colors.
3) Whether I’m looking at a work of art or a room, I tend to prefer symmetrical design.
4) I like to move my furniture around a few times a year, rather than stick to the same arrangement.
5) I’m the go-to party planner of friends and family.
6) Keeping current projects where I can see them is a must.
7) I love having a designated spot for each item in my closet or drawers.
8) On my computer, I often have multiple windows open at once.
9) I have a specific morning routine I always follow to a T.
10) When making major purchases, I usually follow my instincts rather than do research.
11) I often wear the same jewelry every day.
12) If I have to explain directions to someone, I’ll draw him/her a map instead of telling it verbally.
13) When I find a great dish in a restaurant, I order it every time I go there.
14) I often drive with the “empty” gas light flashing.
15) I always bring a shopping list to the grocery store.
16) I have a lot of knickknacks around the house.
17) My books and CDs are in order so I can always find what I’m looking for.
18) My desk is filled with piles of papers, stick-on notes, and business cards.
19) I feel guilty if I don’t follow the rules while playing board games.
20) I’m fine if people change plans at the last minute.
Count the odd and even numbers you’ve checked. If you have more odd numbers, you’re a left-brainer. More even numbers mean you’re a right-brainer. If it’s an equal split, you’re a mix of both personalities.
Left-brainers, according to the test, tend to have designated locations for everything. They like sorting, so pieces with compartments appeal most to you. You prefer to keep things out of sight, so boxes that stack neatly in drawers or closets are just perfect for you. Categorizing—by date or event—comes naturally to you. Multiple identical storage options (like matching photo albums) feed your urge for extreme order.
Right-brainers tend to not follow rules. So your keep-it-neat plan should capitalize on your pull toward the creative and emotional. Containers that you already own and love can be good motivators to start tidying up. Check your clutter patterns: Do you drop your necklace on the bathroom counter, for instance, when you’re getting ready for bed? Then maybe you need a wall hook by the sink to catch jewelry. As long as it works for you, that is fine.
“Clutter is a crime. Eighty percent of what we keep we never really use,” Dychiao said.
In the workshop, Ethan Allen launched its KonMari-approved furniture, such as the generous storage capacity of the Jocelyn Etagere pieces that are all at once statement pieces, yet functional.
The Powell Double Dresser has deep drawers that can store clothes and bedding, and the Brandt Buffet can keep exquisite pieces of dinnerware.
Ethan Allen showrooms have personalized, luxurious furniture at Twenty-four Seven McKinley, 24th St. corner 7th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, tel. 7059999; and on Pioneer St. corner Reliance St. Mandaluyong City, tel. 6348587.