Make the most of the school term to tidy up, Marie Kondo style. We chatted to Australia’s first certified KonMari consultant, Gemma Quinn, about the ins and outs of the world famous method, and how you can make it work for you.

According to KonMari, tidying up is the tool to help you live your best life.

But any parent will tell you that ‘tidying up’ changes a LOT when you have kids – it goes from being a regular occurrence to a practical impossibility.

At least, it used to.

Enter: Marie Kondo’s KonMari method.

“In short, the KonMari method is a way to downsize, declutter and organise based on their own personal values and what brings them joy,” says Gemma. “It isn’t decluttering. Decluttering is about letting things go; it’s a negative exercise.

“If you take the idea that everything in your house is going except for the things that make you really happy, it becomes a far more positive experience.”

The best part of KonMari is you don’t need a lot of money to do it. All you need to do is sit down and ask yourself what brings you real, true joy.

“Do it at a macro level first – maybe it’s ‘I want to relax with my family’,” says Gemma. “Then, take it to the micro level. Maybe that means always waking up to packed lunchboxes, or cooking a delicious breakfast every weekend.”

Next, tidy by category, not location. The KonMari method stipulates beginning with clothes, then books, papers, kimono (miscellaneous items) and, finally, sentimental items.

“The idea is to develop your sensitivity to what ‘sparks joy’ as you go through the process,” says Gemma.

Go around the house and collect every, for example, paper, so that you can see them all in the same spot at the same time. This, Gemma says, will help you weigh up what’s important to you – seeing one item next to another similar item will help you decide which one sparks joy.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘how does a pen spark joy?’,” says Gemma. “Instead, think about what that pen enables you to do – maybe it’s crosswords? Think about how that pen feels in your hand, how it glides across the paper and how it makes your handwriting look. You will soon see how one seemingly mundane item can spark more joy than another.”

Go from easiest to hardest in each category – socks, for example, may be easier to tidy up than your dresses. Find your three favourite things in each category, and use them as a meter to gauge how much joy the other items spark.

“Remember: you want to hold onto items that will enable you to live your very best life,” says Gemma. “If you hate hand washing your dishes, keep the ones you can put in the dishwasher.”

Remember the six key rules of the KonMari method:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, not by location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Now go forth and tidy up.


P.S. Want to find out how mum-of-two Marie Kondo tidies up? Check out her blog post here.



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.