Marie Kondo closet organization tips - 7 steps to follow

You'll need these Marie Kondo closet organization tips to get that 'sparking joy line'

Marie Kondo sat at a wooden table with a white wall behind her, in her Netflix show Sparking Joy, to illustrate Marie Kondo tips for organizing a closet
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you've not yet tuned into one of Marie Kondo's organizing shows, or read her cult favorite book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, then we'd advise you to get onto that ASAP. Not only is her work inspiring and motivating, asking us to shed our clutter – but it might even give you the motivation you need to tackle that one messy room, or perhaps your closet...

On her recent Netflix show Sparking Joy, the Japanese organization expert revealed some straightforward closet organization ideas to revolutionize your clothes storage situation and make outfit selection a breeze. So once you've given the space a vacuum, here's how to get started...

How to use Marie Kondo closet organization tips

Marie Kondo with a client inside her home in Sparking Joy, with boxes of clothes and a wardrobe behind them

(Image credit: Netflix)

Step 1: Take everything out of the closet

When showing her clients how to organize a closet, Marie tells them to start from scratch by removing every single item. This will mean you know exactly where everything is, with no long forgotten shoes buried at the back.

Step 2: Categorize clothing by item and material

Organize clothes by category, putting the same items all together in one area. This will mean when you've only got two minutes to decide which pants to wear to work, you have all the options in front of you.

Marie Kondo also recommends grouping similar materials within a category – so putting all wool sweaters together because they have a similar feel.

Marie Kondo in Sparking Joy, with a client next to a pile of clothes on the bed

(Image credit: Netflix)

Step 3: Make Marie's 'sparking joy line'

Put clothes of the same color together so you don't even have to think about where to put things back, says Marie. And go with darker items on the right of the closet, and lighter items to the left: 'creating a line that goes up to the right.'

Marie calls this the 'sparking joy' line – inspired by her classic line that if you are keeping something, it must 'spark joy'. 

Step 4: Use racks to store shoes in the lower area

Organize shoes by style, putting boots, sandals and sneakers together with similar items. Use stackable racks so that you can make use of the vertical space in your closet efficiently, and add more if your shoe collection grows.

Marie Kondo helping a client on Sparking Joy, with a pile of clothes on her floor

(Image credit: Netflix)

Step 5: Organize accessories by using boxes within boxes

Use storage boxes that contain smaller boxes within them in order to keep more delicate miscellaneous items safe. This way, you can remove the smaller boxes containing things like jewelry and hair accessories when you want to use them.

It doesn't necessarily mean buying brand new containers – mix and match containers already in your home like shoebox lids or paper jewelry boxes. As long as similar looking items are grouped together, that's fine.

Step 6: Remove any tags

'Because the tag is on, you may not necessarily reach for it and use it,' says Marie Kondo. If you've bought an item and it sparks joy, take off the tag and commit. 

If the fact you've kept it on feels like a sign that you don't love it, decide whether it could find a better home. Marie compares taking the tag off to adopting an item and welcoming it into your home – it now belongs to you.

Marie Kondo on Sparking Joy, holding her hands together in front of a tree

(Image credit: Netflix)

Step 7: Think about how items are arranged in store

When organizing accessories, jewelry and makeup, think about how they might be displayed in your favorite store when you're out shopping. Arranging items carefully to make a visually appealing display will make the process of getting ready in the morning much more fun.

When you're nearly done, make sure you invest in the best clothes storage containers for clothes. If you have plenty of baskets and boxes, it'll be easier to maintain your new, highly organized closet. 

Good luck!

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.