Everyone’s gone Kondo crazy.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has taken Netflix and America by storm. She’s cleaning out and spreading joy in urban cities and rural towns from East to West. Facebook has been inundated with people’s posts on how they are putting the KonMari Method to work in their own homes. And, so should you.
Applying the KonMari clean up method to your home can be very therapeutic. There is something cathartic to letting go of things that are useless, embracing what’s important, sharing items that you no longer need with others so they can enjoy them, and getting rid of the trash altogether. It’s freeing. It’s liberating. And it’s filling up Goodwill Donation Centers faster than the promise of a tax write off.
So, as a homeowner, certainly cleaning out can help you enjoy your home more. Yet, as a seller, it is imperative. There are multiple steps necessary to prepare a property for the market and applying the KonMari Method is your best first step.
Buyers need to find joy in your house. A clean, organized, and well-designed house can help. So where to start? While Marie suggests starting with categories of items, when preparing your home to sell, it is perfectly fine to start with areas. You want to feel a sense of accomplishment and progress right away so you don’t get discouraged. My first suggestion—the closets.
Storage is a significant feature for many buyers. We often live in tight quarters in the city, so showing buyers that their personal belongings will fit in your house should they buy it becomes more important. If your closet is packed to the ceiling and things are piled up on the floor, buyers can get the impression that there is not enough storage space in your house. Clean out the off-season clothes. Donate what you no longer need or want, and store the rest. Remove your Summer wardrobe and sports gear from your closets in the Winter and in the Spring/Summer store those coats and Winter boots, skis, shovels, etc. Remember, you are going to move out, so give yourself a head start and pack up those out-of-season items.
For what remains, get to folding. Using the KonMari Method of folding creates a beautiful display. Use shoeboxes, and other small vessels, to help organize your drawers. Add hooks to the walls or to the back of the door to hang belts, ties, and bags. If done correctly, it can actually look like art. Invest in hangers. Return every wire hanger to your dry cleaner and buy slim velvet ones. They will help free up space and add a designer touch to your organization. Label your shelves and storage bins—skinnies, denim, cords, hats, scarfs, etc. For items on hangers, organize by type, then color, to create visual harmony.
Do the same to the linen closet. Pack up the blankets if you list in the Summer and beach towels if you list in the Fall or Winter. Get them out of the closet and free up some space. Fold your remaining towels and sheets in the KonMari Method way to add visual interest and better organization. Stay focused on the bathroom and check under the sink and in the drawers. In those places, purge, purge, purge.
Next, tackle the kitchen. The pantry, or the cabinet where you store dry goods, is typically hiding old spices and seasonings. Check all expiration dates and toss those items that are beyond their prime. Want to make it look extra organized? Plan a trip to The Container Store to invest in a food storage system. They stack well, show off the contents, make your shelves look professionally organized, and typically they keep everything from cereal to pasta fresher, longer. The same goes for the refrigerator. Old condiments, sauces, half-eaten containers of food—all of those things need to go.
So go Kondo on your house. Clean up. Toss out. Tidy up. Fold with abandon. Embrace what you love—the things that bring you joy, and toss or donate what you no longer need. Free up space for buyers to find the joy in your home, so they can make it their own.
Editor's Note: Article originally published in The Washington Blade on February 23rd, 2019.