It’s the time of year when we look to revive our homes, undertake spring cleaning, and plan new projects. Who else to look to for organizational inspiration than decluttering expert Marie Kondo, bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy? Here are seven Kondo-inspired home organization hacks we’re actually excited to tackle this spring.
01. Sort Your Books by Color
If you’re a bookworm, it’s not unusual to find stacks of books scattered throughout your home. However, when you organize your books by color, they have a clear place of belonging, which makes retrieving and putting them away an easy task (not to mention more visually pleasing). Kondo believes that every item in your home must have a designated spot. Sorting by color rather than alphabetically or by genre opens up a spot that you can see and remember right away.
02. Decorate and Revive Your Closet’s Interior
Over the winter, our closets tend to become a cluttered dumping ground for bulky sweaters, wool socks, jeans, and snow boots. Kondo believes that the closet is more than a storage unit. “Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure,” she writes.
Once you pack the winter wear away for the season, refresh the new space. An over-the-door towel rack makes a great home for scarves. And you can organize your purses by storing them inside larger bags to be more compact. If your closet has a getting-ready space, make it an area that gives you a morning pick-me-up with an inspirational quote or your favorite photos nearby.
03. Store Accessories in Trays
We’ve all toiled over a closet purge at one time or another, but what about your accessories? Kondo writes, “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”
This spring, get your bobbles and bangles organized by using small trays on your dressing table for the pieces you wear daily, while keeping less-worn jewels away in a box. This will make choosing jewelry in the mornings easy and taking it off and putting it away in the evenings simple.
04. Organize Toiletries in Beautiful Bins, Baskets, and Boxes
Bathroom linen closets are often the number one dumping ground—a disorganized storage container for cleaning supplies, medicine, linens, and cosmetics. Definitely not the neat linen closet one dreams of.
“One reason so many of us never succeed at tidying is because we have too much stuff. This excess is caused by our ignorance of how much we actually own,” Kondo writes. “When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish. To escape this negative spiral, tidy by category, not by place.”
Take some inspiration from Kate of the Small Things Blog, and use chic containers such as glass jars and pretty canvas boxes to organize your linen closet. Think about organization as twofold: Sort through the items by category (towels, makeup, etc.), and then put them back in an organized manner, keeping them grouped in those same categories.
05. Use Magazine Containers to Sort Papers
Cute printed magazine containers offer the perfect way to organize files. Moreover, they allow you to organize papers vertically, making it easier to keep track of them rather than losing items in an abyss of piles.
Kondo explains her approach to paper clutter this way: “My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away. My clients are stunned when I say this, but there is nothing more annoying than papers. After all, they will never inspire joy, no matter how carefully you keep them. For this reason, I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.”
Start by simply trying to clear the clutter. Do you really need all those bulky receipts from items you bought online six months ago? Probably not. Go digital, and scan receipts into your computer to keep the paper from overwhelming your work spaces. For the documents that must remain, design a system that keeps them sorted and where they need to be. Kondo recommends a single folder, but if that’s too spartan, these vintage blue or pastel-patterned magazine files from IKEA will brighten up any corner. Or consider these modern gold or rustic bronze wire files for a more minimalist palette.
06. Upgraded Spice Storage
Unless you buy one of those spice rack sets, the spice cabinet is another hidden organizing minefield. Kondo argues that things are easily lost and forgotten when they’re stacked on top of each other, whether it’s the spice you need for dinner or your favorite linen napkins. This spring, implement a new system for storing spices that lets you easily see them by rebottling them into simple glass jars, like this vintage crate spice rack on the JST Design blog. Moreover, putting the spices into plain jars removes the visual clutter that is on the original packaging. Rather than remaining an eyesore, it can become like a piece of culinary art.
07. Curate and Display Meaningful Collections
When it comes to books, Kondo urges us to keep only books that we see ourselves cherishing forever. She explains it this way: “Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?”
Think about how this could work for any collection, be it cookbooks or teacups. Because these items spark joy, display them in a beautiful fashion that lets you enjoy them daily while they complement your home decor.
“Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination,” Kondo writes. “The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.” I’m learning that functionality and organization aren’t at odds with beauty. With a little creativity and effort, these are just a few concrete ways I plan to keep my home orderly and tidy without sacrificing style.