5 Organizing Mistakes to Avoid With the KonMari Method

The KonMari method of organizing, created by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, has taken the world by storm in recent years. This minimalist approach to decluttering focuses on only keeping belongings that “spark joy”, resulting in dramatic transformations for many households.

However, even avid KonMari practitioners can encounter missteps and challenges when first attempting this method. Avoid these common organizing mistakes to ensure you get the most out of the KonMari decluttering process.

Not Committing Fully to the Process

The KonMari method encourages tidying by category, not by room. This means fully sorting through and organizing every item in a particular category (like clothing, books, or kitchen items) before moving on to the next.

It can be tempting to organize in a more piecemeal fashion by tackling one drawer or surface at a time. But not fully committing to finishing each category leaves the job half-done and makes it harder to maintain organization long-term. Embrace the KonMari category-by-category approach for the best results.

Failing to Visualize the Lifestyle You Want

Before getting started, Marie Kondo recommends visualizing your ideal lifestyle. This vision keeps you focused on the joy you wish to create in your life. Without this ideal in mind, it’s easy to lose motivation and make organizing choices that don’t align with your goals.

Spend time dreaming about what sparks joy for you before tidying. Decide how you want your space to look and feel at the end of the process. This clarity makes decision-making much easier when sorting through belongings.

Not Properly Folding Clothes

The KonMari method prescribes very specific techniques for folding and storing clothing, like t-shirt rolls and vertical folding. While it may seem silly at first, proper folding is key to creating order, maximizing drawer and closet space, and making items easily visible and accessible.

Take the time to learn the folding methods described by Marie Kondo. When clothing is neatly folded according to her techniques, you can optimize space and more easily maintain the new order. Improper folding leads to messy drawers and shirts thrown in piles.

Not Purging Enough Items Initially

Newcomers to the KonMari method often struggle to let go of as many items as needed for a clutter-free space. You must be ruthless during the first tidying round, discarding anything that does not bring you joy.

As Marie Kondo says, you can’t organize clutter. Be prepared to thank then bid farewell to more items than expected. Remember, items that no longer serve you could bring great joy to others through donation. Holding on to too much during initial tidying will only overwhelm your space again.

Losing Momentum Before Completion

The KonMari tidying process involves sustained effort over an extended period. It’s not unusual for enthusiasm to wane around the halfway point once initial quick successes are accomplished. However, pressing on to fully complete the process is vital.

When momentum starts flagging, re-energize yourself by revisiting your vision for a joyful living space. Or, remind yourself how rewarding previous tidying efforts have been. Rededicate yourself to sticking with the process until every category has been sorted through. The end result will be worth it.

Not Continuing the Process Long-Term

Perhaps the biggest organizing mistake is viewing the KonMari method as a one-time project rather than an ongoing lifestyle. Regularly revisiting categories to assess what currently sparks joy is key to maintaining your new simplified space.

Set reminders every few months to tidy again. Identify categories most prone to clutter for more frequent check-ins. While the initial KonMari process requires intense effort, future tidying sessions are much quicker and easier. But neglecting to continue the practice almost guarantees slow slide back into disarray.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about avoiding organizing mistakes with the KonMari method:

How do I stay motivated to finish the entire KonMari process?

Remind yourself of the vision for your ideal living space. Take before and after photos for a visual record of your progress. Tidy with a supportive friend or organize small reward treats to enjoy after tidying sessions.

What if I struggle to let go of items that don’t spark joy?

This is very common! Thank items sincerely for their role in your life before parting with them. Remember, discarded items can spark joy for someone else through donation. Take photos of special items before passing them along.

I finished the initial KonMari process but my space is messy again – what should I do?

Don’t get discouraged! It takes time to change lifelong habits. Commit to regular tidying sessions to maintain your space long-term. Identify problem categories needing more frequent attention. Handle items once by putting them right away in their designated spot.

What’s the best way to adapt KonMari for shared spaces like a family home?

Have each person tidy their own belongings first separately. Then come together category-by-category to make joint decisions about shared spaces. Compromise by discarding more of your own items. Encourage other household members through each step.

How strictly do I need to follow the KonMari folding techniques?

It is highly recommended to adopt the KonMari folding methods as closely as possible. They are designed to maximize space, visibility, and tidy appearance. Customize them slightly if needed based on your storage containers. The key is consistent, neat folding.


The KonMari approach can utterly transform your home when undertaken methodically and completely. While mistakes inevitably happen, being mindful of these common organizing pitfalls will set you up for an effective tidying process. Stay motivated by your vision, thoroughly purge unneeded belongings, maintain the new system long-term, and your home will become a lasting source of joy.