By now Marie Kondo and her method of tidying up known as KonMari are part of the world’s organizational landscape and the internet’s obsession with minimalism.
She details her methods in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but the short version — available to Netflix subscribers on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo — is to get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” Kondo extends this philosophy to every room in the house.
Hold the fabric softener … can even laundry and a laundry room spark joy? The promise of KonMari is that every item in your home — and your home itself — should indeed send lightning bolts of joy down your spine, which extends to that workhorse of a room (or nook): the laundry room.
Sound too good to be true? It can be done. Read on for tidying up inspiration for your laundry room.
Start by KonMaring your clothes
Instead of a room-by-room method of tidying up, Kondo espouses a category method, which means to truly get your laundry room in order, you’re also going to have to pay attention to other areas of your home. Clothing is the first thing Kondo recommends tackling (followed by books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items).
To KonMari your clothing, dig deep into your closet, dresser and wherever else you’ve stuffed your clothing, and put all your clothes into one giant pile. Then, take each item in your hand, physically feel it, and see if it sparks joy or not.
Once you’ve narrowed your closet down to items that spark joy (and donated or discarded those that don’t), you’ll only be washing, drying and folding items that you truly care about. Believe it or not, doing laundry will be more joyful if you like the clothes you’re laundering.
Consider every item in your laundry room
In the Kondo method, the items in your laundry room would likely be the next-to-last stop on the joy-sparking tour, as that area of your home contains miscellaneous items. To KonMari the right way, you need to touch every single item in your laundry area and decide how it makes you feel.
Joy? Hatred? Malaise? Be gentle, and consider that even if the stain remover spray makes you a bit angry when you use it to remove careless ketchup stains, the joy it brings when the stain comes out is worth something.
Let’s not overlook the star of the laundry room: your washer and dryer. Are your appliances sparking the joy that your home deserves? What if they could automatically reorder detergent and dryer sheets when you’re running low — without you having to lift a finger? It may be time to upgrade to a Kenmore smart washer and dryer.
Get creative with storage solutions
Once you’ve narrowed down your laundry room to the absolute joy-sparking essentials, it’s time to designate a specific place for every item you’ve decided to keep — an integral part of the tidying up plan. Kondo doesn’t encourage an expensive trip to the store or filling up your online shopping cart for organizational bins, boxes or other dividers, although it might be tempting.
Instead of falling back into the consumption train when it comes to organizing, look around your home for sturdy boxes, bins and baskets you can repurpose to keep your laundry room necessities neat and tidy, and organized by use.
Ideally, look for items with open tops or clear sides so you can easily see what’s inside, even if the storage is behind a cabinet door. If your home is devoid of items to turn into storage solutions, look for good-looking but affordable options at IKEA or another store that specializes in inexpensive, efficient space organization.
Master Kondo’s folding techniques
You have not MariKondo’d until you’ve learned her folding technique. Beyond the instructions in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, there are plenty of online tutorials (with video!) that show the ins and outs of achieving the perfect fold.
While the folding technique differs a bit from item to item, the end result is the same: a perfectly compact standing package that stands at attention in a drawer almost like a hanging file folder in a file cabinet.
The genius of this idea is that each item in a drawer is visible at a quick glance. And since vertical space is optimized, it’s possible to fit more clothing into a smaller space. It won’t take long for you to get the hang of the folding technique; you’ll have your underwear standing at attention next to sweaters, towels, socks and the rest of your joyful laundry in no time.
Once you’ve finished the KonMari method on your laundry room (and hopefully your whole house?), give thanks to Marie Kondo for your newly organized and minimal laundry room that at the very least won’t spark revulsion, and might even spark a touch of joy.