Implementing Marie Kondo Principles in Your Interior Design

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

I first came across this well groomed Japanese lady in 2014 when one of our renovation project homeowner showed me a (chinese translated) book on how to physically organize your spaces. His interests was well reflected in the space he wanted to create at Casa Tropicana (below). We learned as much from him than he did from us.

Now that it’s on Netflix with English speaking hosts and subtitles, it was inevitable that the wife was encouraging me to practice it, for the “benefit of my work and clients”. I must say it was a revelation.

However it was still difficult throwing out my personal belongings, especially when our office looks like this.

This has got me thinking about how this might affect the interior design of our storage spaces or how you may put this into consideration with your interior designer.

1. KITCHEN. One of the messiest area of the house but the heart of the home. What Marie say: Keep counter as clean or clear as possible. Have every items easy to use and put back in its designated place/ compartment. How to implement design:

Use of bars and hooks to clear up counter space and drawers tidy.

Consider height of backsplash (space between kitchen top and bottom of the wall mounted cabinet). Ikea uses 60cm height and their wall cabinet is 30cm in depth. We usually do 70cm height because we use 35cm depth for wall cabinet.

Yes it might be a little bit taller, but gives the counter a more spacious feel, less risk of head hitting the wall cabinet when opening doors, and more visual focus on backsplash, which can be a design feature on its own.

2. STORAGE + DISPLAY AREAS, BOOKSHELVES. If not managed well, the relaxing or display corner might well become the storage corner where “everything else” goes. What Marie say: Put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible. Organise by categories (of books topics, toys, tools and never by size) How to implement design: Instead of deciding storage design based on what you want to see or hide, decide based on how often you use them. Flexible shelves are advisable as you can cater them to changing living conditions (arrival of a new family member, or a housemate moving out).

We use the 170cm guideline: below 170cm for daily items like chargers, work/ school bags, display items (action figures), bedsheets and books I am currently reading; above 170cm for annual items like wedding albums, luggages, original boxes for valuable electronics, and selected winter wear.

3. BEDROOMS. And more specifically wardrobes. What Marie say: When possible, fold your clothes more than hang. Stack everything vertically for ease of use.

How to implement design:

Conventional stacking methods of folded clothes storage follows the retail model. More visual but there’s a reason why retail assistants are always on standby to fold them once taken out. Which means its beneficial for drawers to be deeper (the deeper it is, the more you can stack).

In Konmarie method, clothes are folded to be thicker but shorter when stacked vertically, meaning there will be some extra, empty space.

With this method, clothes are folded to be thicker but shorter when stacked vertically, meaning there will be some extra, empty space above. To maximise it, have the drawers to be shorter (20-25cm height) so that you can have more drawers on top of each other. 4 levels of drawers in the wardrobe means you can still have shirts or blouse hanging above it.

Personally, this is as much about respect for your living space as much as it is about the annual spring cleaning, considering Chinese New Year is around the corner. It always disheartened me when people choose to spend more money, effort and time on their vehicles than on their homes.

Perhaps it’s time we kon-marie our thoughts. Happy holidays.


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