How to Use the KonMari Method™ to Help Local Charities

By: Melissa Krenek

It’s never too early to start spring cleaning, and Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant can help kick-start the process. The Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo showcases the innovative KonMari Method™ from her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” The show follows several families in their journey to de-clutter and re-spark joy. The KonMari™ Method is unique because it organizes items by category, rather than location. These five categories are clothing, books, paper, komono, and mementos. Komono, which means “accessories” in Japanese, covers kitchen supplies, bathroom products, tools, electronics, and valuables.

The first step of the KonMari Method™ is to create a large pile of clothing on the floor. One by one, pick up each item and if it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Once the winning pile is chosen, all clothes are folded in a tent-like fashion as to maximize space in drawers and closets.

Step two focuses on books. As with clothing, start by placing all books on the floor. By doing this, Kondo says you make them “conscious.” Repeat the joy exercise and dispose of what fails the test. Step three forces the organization of stacks of paper that are usually shoved in random drawers. Papers must be divided into three categories: pending, important, and miscellaneous. Pending papers are actionable items, such as bills and letters. Important documents are papers that you need to keep permanently, such as contracts or insurance forms. Miscellaneous are papers you refer to often, like recipes. Step four involves Komono items such as kitchen supplies, electronics, and makeup. All items should be compartmentalized into small boxes and placed upright so everything is visible. The last category, mementos, represent keepsakes or souvenirs that hold sentimental value. Kondo stresses that memories are more important than the physical items they represent.  

Once all tasks are completed, each family appears to have both a physically clean house and a spiritually purged self. But these families aren’t the only people reaping the benefits of the KonMari Method™. According to news outlets such as NPR and the Guardian, thrift stores around the country have been overwhelmed with the amount of donations resulting from the show. Gordon Dahl, Director at the Market Street Mission Thrift Store, provided some background information on the Market Street Mission, which has been in operation since 1889.  

The story began with a pastor’s wife, Mrs. Louisa Graves Owen. She and her husband, Rev. Dr. F.W. Owen opened the residential program for alcoholic men on 9 Market Street after she learned the majority of women in her Bible Study group had husbands suffering from alcoholism. From the beginning, the Mission provided meals, lodging, clothing and temporary employment for alcoholic and homeless men. The industrial department, now known as the Thrift store, was added to the mission in the 1930’s.

“Our organization takes a holistic approach, targeting whole-life recovery for over 60 men. We opened a Career Education Center where men can learn computer skills in a professional atmosphere, counseling offices that provide a safe atmosphere for sharing and growth, and classrooms where men can learn new life skills. In addition to those services, men in the work recovery program are taught how to merchandize, sort items, and operate the forklifts and trucks for the Thrift store. If you’re looking to do something in addition to donating or volunteering to the Mission itself, we ask that you donate and shop at the Thrift store. Whether you’re looking for a $3 pair of jeans or an upscale painting, you’ll find it at the store. All proceeds are pumped back into the Mission and help fund the medical, legal, and counseling services the mission provides.” Gordon shares.

The Market Street Mission Thrift Store is located at 25 George Street in Morristown and accepts donations of most items except toys, magazines, tires, batteries, and weapons. Donations are tax-deductible, and all proceeds benefit the Mission. Trucks, operated by men in the work therapy program, collect donated items on a weekly schedule. Donations are welcome between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The KonMari Method™ teaches the importance of an objects purpose, when it no longer serves one, and knowing the difference. Once you have successfully completed the Marie Kondo challenge, visit the Market Street Mission Thrift Store on George Street and spark joy in someone else’s life.

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