Marie Kondo says this is the biggest challenge when decluttering – and how to overcome it for a more organized life

The world's most respected organizer sat down with H&G to explain how to tackle the trickiest part of any tidying journey

Marie Kondo
(Image credit: Macmillan / Kurashi at Home)

When it comes to decluttering, some parts are easier than others – and when it gets tougher, it's easy to neglect the process and fall back into bad habits. 

You would be forgiven for linking challenges with certain rooms – for example, the idea of decluttering your bedroom may at first feel harder than your bedroom. However, Marie Kondo explains that the problem is not the space – but rather a particular group of items that make decluttering hard. 

The globally admired consultant, New York Times bestseller, and Netflix star sat down with H&G to discuss the art of organization, including Marie kondo's top five tips and her tidying mistakes to avoid

In the interview, Ms. Kondo explained how Japanese organizing techniques can help you overcome problematic groups of items that make decluttering so challenging – so you can achieve an organized home faster. Here's what her transformative home-organizing ideas involve. 

The most challenging part of decluttering – according to Marie Kondo

'Since The KonMari Method tidies according to category, not location, no specific room is hard to declutter, but rather certain groups of items can be,' Marie says. 'Sentimental items make up the final category in the KonMari Method for a reason – tackling them requires an expertly-honed ability to determine what sparks joy.'

Marie Kondo

(Image credit: Courtesy of Marie Kondo)

Sentimental items are often steeped in emotion, and so, the thought of 'decluttering' them will understandably come with its reservations. However, Marie explains that – if you follow the right process – you will find a way to let some pieces go. 

'Before you take stock of any of these items, look inwardly. Celebrate the progress you have already made and trust in how that same progress has developed your power to understand what’s truly joyful. Doing so will help you address your sentimental items with confidence,' she says. 

One of the most common decluttering mistakes you can make is being too brutal when throwing things out. Therefore, when it comes to sentimental items, Marie urges you to clear them with caution. 

'As you move through the category, don’t force yourself to let go of anything you’re not sure about. But, if deep inside you know an item has already served its purpose, let it go with a send-off ritual to make saying goodbye easier.'

Therefore, if you want to declutter with purpose, take stock of everything you have, and 'live with it' for a while before you decide to simply throw it away. Remember, decluttering isn't just about clearing your home of clutter, period. For many of us, decluttering can have a positive impact on mental health and emotional relationships, too. 

Marie Kondo

(Image credit: KonMari Media, Inc.)

Marie's new book Kurashi at Home explores the KonMari Method in further detail, and her teaching expands beyond the home and into wider areas of your life (kurashi meaning 'way of life' in Japanese, after all). We're adding a copy to our baskets now. 

Kurashi at Home by Marie Kondo, $19.69 on Amazon

Kurashi at Home by Marie Kondo, <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$19.69 on Amazon

The book expands on the Japanese concept of kurashi, or 'way of life,' that will change how you approach organization in your home. Ms. Kondo's teaching prompts you to visualize your best life from the moment you wake up until the end of every day

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.