The 5 Best Marie Kondo Tips for Social Distancing

Marie Kondo
Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage

In quarantine, we're all getting to know our homes much, MUCH better.

Marie Kondo knows homes.

The master organizer-turned-Netflix star knows how to take a home and make it the best that it can be. And because we're all getting to know our homes much, much better -- as we hunker down and continue social distancing -- it stands that Kondo would have some invaluable wisdom for us in these trying times.

If one of your goals during quarantine is to finally get your house in order, Kondo’s KonMari method of decluttering is broken down in her book, The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up, and Netflix series, Tidying Up. (And if you are using your time at home to declutter? You're Kondo's kind of quarantine-r. "Anyone who's in need of tidying is my friend," she told ET.)

But what about tips for, you know... just being at home, all day, for the foreseeable future? There is no method with an easy fix for that. But if social distancing is starting to get to you, Kondo can still help. Below, we've consulted some of her best tips -- now, with a quarantine twist.

1. Focus on Choosing What to Keep

The Marie Tip: "We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of," Kondo writes.
For quarantining:
Kondo’s outlook to tidying is a shift in perspective away from thinking of what you're losing and to what you’re making a conscious choice to keep. Similarly, we should look at sheltering in place and being safer at home not in terms of what we will be missing out on -- or the inconveniences and frustrations of self-isolating -- but as an act of love, that by staying home we are keeping our neighbors, our elderly, our immunocompromised safe.

2. It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better
The Marie Tip:
The KonMari method tasks you with creating piles of all your belongings before you start sorting through it and parsing out what you want to keep or toss. You’re creating a mess in order to create order..
For quarantining:
These lockdowns ask a lot of us, and the difference that doing what we need to do right now makes will not be immediately clear. The pandemic will continue, and it will be scary and it will be sad and it will be difficult before we start to see the positive effects of our collective actions. But we will see them, and it will get better.

3. Show Gratitude to Your Home
The Marie Tip:
"Tidying is an opportunity to express appreciation for your home and all it does for you," Kondo writes. "Create a dialogue with your space -- thank it for protecting and nurturing you -- especially if you’re about to embark on a tidying marathon!"

For quarantining: It makes sense why you may feel a certain resentment towards the walls and ceiling you’re seeing 24-ish/7. But that just means you have walls and ceiling 24/7, a comfort and safety to be grateful for amid these uncertain times. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge -- even vocalize -- that thanks when you wake up in the morning or return home from a social distancing walk.

4. Top 5 Productivity Tips

The Marie Tip: Kondo lays out a five-point strategy to stay productive: 1. Start your morning with good energy. 2. Make a daily to-do list. 3. Coordinate with your partner. 4. Clear your mind. 5. Create a nighttime routine.
For quarantining:
This one essentially holds true while social distancing, though Kondo herself caveats "just when you think you’re settled on a schedule, life throws unexpected challenges!" I have found the second and third rules particularly useful, now that we are spending this much time at home with partners we’re used to cohabitating with... but not this much.

 5. "Does It Spark Joy?"

The Marie Tip: "The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: 'Does this spark joy?' If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge," Kondo writes.
For quarantining:
Not to negate the previous point -- because Kondo would hardly approve of shucking off your chores or work responsibilities -- but these are unprecedented times. Do what you need to do to get by. Binge watch the next episode of your show if it makes you happy. Play Animal Crossing an extra hour if you’re enjoying it. Have another glass of wine. It’s not only OK to prioritize joy right now, but essential.