How to Use the KonMari Method to Clean Up Your Finances

The KonMari Method has pervaded living rooms and basement storage areas across the country, much to the delight of thrift stores everywhere.  

The guru of the tidying lifestyle choice, Marie Kondo, is an organizational genius and author of New York Times bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Her strategies for keeping things simple involve an initial purge which then leads to a life free from clutter, as long as you can continue to adhere to the basic principles of her process. The beginning stages can be arduous, but the results, many agree, are worth the tough transition.

It’s likely you have heard about her push to have people retain only the items that “spark joy” and to eschew all other possessions. It’s a positive spin on a tough subject for many: cleaning our their closets.

However, even if your living room is clear of clutter if your finances are a mess, your life will be in turmoil too.

What if the same principles that were applied to your closets can help you organize your budgets? A recent article from Lexington Law points out that there are many analogous points where elements of the KonMari Method can be used to put finances in order.

While it’s difficult to think of making your budgets “spark joy”, there are definitely ways to keep you happy by saving money through a better financial organization.

Following The KonMari Method

The cardinal rules of KonMari can easily be applied to financial understanding as well.

Rule 1: Commit yourself to tidying up.

The first step is to admit you have a problem with organizing your finances and to dedicate time and energy to fixing it.

This is probably the most difficult step, but one that you can challenge yourself to face. There are apps like Mint.com and YouNeedaBudget.com to help you on this road. You can do it!

Rule 2: Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

Just like imagining what your life might be like if you could be tidier in your home, creating ideal financial goals are the first best step toward actualizing them.

Outline what your feasible financial hopes are and then do some pie in the sky calculations too, just to spark joy.

Rule 3: Finish discarding first.

In KonMari, this applies to the idea that you should make sure to dispose of things entirely, not clear out your living room, only to trade off by having a garage full of the clutter that used to inhabit the other space.

The financial equivalent might be to not outsource your financial issues to loans or credit cards. This only postpones the problems and makes your budgets more difficult to control in the long run. In fact, you should begin by getting rid of credit card debt if possible.

Rule 4: Tidy by category, not by location.

The KonMari Method asks the participant to look at categories of items rather than a specific location when cleaning up. Instead of staring with the kitchen, for example, you would start with clothes or books.

Putting this in the lens of finances, instead of trying to find a number of places to tighten the belt, instead of focusing on one category of expenses at a time is a more organized way to address budget questions.

It might be useful to start with places that are always going to be necessary, like food. See whether you can cut down on, for example, those $10 sandwich lunches that spark no joy at all. Thank the deli for its service and let it go, by bringing a lunch instead.

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Rule 5: Follow the right order and don’t get distracted.

For Marie Kondo, the order of things to be addressed is clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and then sentimental items.

Organizing an attack on your finances can be seen the same way. Budgets should be prepared without trying to take on too much too soon or trying to pare down on items that actually “spark joy.”

Don’t start with something like your cable bill, only to realize that you can’t live without HBO. Instead, look at large scale bills in one category.

What expenses are most relevant and what might you be able to get reduced? Are there better options, for example, for your car insurance?

Rule 6: Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

There is nothing about paying out hard earned money that can particularly spark joy. However, still the adage of “keeping only those things that bring you joy” can be one to follow with finances in mind.

Are there elements of your budget that you have (like a gym membership that you never use) because you are too guilty to let them go? Just thank them for their service and whoosh.

These simple rules are just part of how organizing the Marie Kondo way can help you get ready to have a tidier financial life. Check out the below visual from Lexington Law for more ideas and tips on feeling joy (or at least less pain) when approaching your bank account.

KonMari Your Finances

Stock Photo from NaruFoto @ Shutterstock