Here’s Exactly How To Clean Your House After A Breakup


1. Breakups suck — and whether you were dumped or the heartbreaker, they’re rarely easy endings. But they are always a great catalyst for transformation. Time for a new chapter, my dude.

asneakattack / Via

So you and I, we’re going to revamp your life, now that it has suddenly changed — we’re gonna transfigure the gross feelings into a new space, where only good stuff thrives. So we’re gonna get rid of all the stuff that makes you sad.

2. Especially your ex’s stuff.

Legally I cannot advise you to set fire to their car. However, you can 100% fantasize about it, and live vicariously through Angela Bassett doing so in Waiting to Exhale. I support that decision.

3. You know all those tips about getting rid of clutter one thing at a time? Yeah, forget that.

One of the reasons most people hate cleaning is it takes up so much time, all of the time — we have to be reminded, we have to do it constantly, we’d rather be doing anything else. We’re not going to go by the traditional advice you’re probably heard before. We’re going to try something new.

4. We’re gonna listen to the International Queen of Life Transformations, our Lady Marie Kondo.

This book is a cult. A totally reasonable, scary cult that works, doesn’t kill people (a bonus), but does drastically change your life. In this case — for the better.

Marie Kondo’s method — shortened to KonMari’s— makes decluttering and reshaping your life after a one time, serious undertaking, that doesn’t need to ever be repeated. It’s radical, but it works: you probably consume more than you discard — so getting rid of one thing when you’ve just purchased 3 new things on Amazon isn’t exactly going to keep your place an optimal Zen zone.

5. Cleaning room by room isn’t efficient. Clean by category, not by location.

Via Getty Images/iStockphoto hemul75

6. You don’t need a survey or diagram to help you get rid of your baggage.

There is only one question you really need to ask.

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You need to hold each object one by one and put it against your life: does it thrill you and improve your life, or do you have it just because? When you love something, you feel that spark, right? Get rid of anything that doesn’t give that vibe. It’s scary and simple, and it works.

8. You’re choosing what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.

Cull the dead weight from your life so you’re only surrounded by things that make you wanna get out of bed in the morning.

9. Of course — obviously there are caveats for the things that are necessary but pretty fugly — like the winter clothes you need but hate.

In Marie Kondo’s Reddit AMA, she advises, “”Those things are helping you every day. Because you are using them. Even if they are not sparking joy, they are helping you every day. They are making your days go by–meaning, you have not realized that they are making you happy. They are sparking joy to you, subconsciously. So it’s you, just not realizing that sparks joy for you. So you should convince yourself that they are sparking joy, and you should prioritize their status, because they are making your day, everyday. Then, gradually, you will start seeing some sparking joy concepts from those items.”

10. Here is the order of things for you to tackle. Remember, by category, not location.

1. Clothes
2. Books
3. Papers
4. Miscellany
5. Mementos

11. Keep the following in mind before you begin. It’ll make the process of discarding a lot more illuminating.

12. So, step one: the clothes. All of it, one place, one question: does this spark joy?

13. You will be getting rid of so much stuff you won’t even believe it.

14. Once you’ve significantly pared down your stuff, you can use strategies to really store them properly — and cherish them the way they ought to be.

15. When you put stuff back in your drawers, remember: file, don’t pile. You want to be able to see everything — these are things you are intentionally cherishing and keeping in your life. Treat them accordingly.


You can see her folding method in more detail here. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks, and everything is still neatly organized.

16. This is what your drawers might look like with the method.

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18. Here’s how she suggests you store them.


Here’s the video tutorial.

20. Next phase: books. Put all your books — ALL OF THEM — in a pile on the floor and start asking that spark question.

21. Here’s a KonMari’d bookshelf. Look at all that space, you guys.

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This was often the most difficult phase for people, because of the idea of waste. But listen, if you haven’t read that book (or the past 10) you bought on Amazon in the past two years, what makes you think you’ll pick it up in the next two?

22. Now you tackle the paper.

Dispose of anything that doesn’t fall into one of the three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.

23. Keep only what is necessary, and keep a lot of it digital.

So much of your paperwork — old health records and that sort of thing — can just be scanned and stored on an external hard drive and backed up on a (secure) cloud server. You can make copies of it easier that way and it won’t take up a gigantic filing cabinet you don’t want in your room.

24. Phase four: the miscellaneous.

26. Here’s what your bathroom makeup storage could look like, if you finally disposed of all that expired makeup and the products you just don’t use.

A Beautiful Mess / Via

If you need help narrowing down the stuff because ALL your beauty products spark joy, it will be helpful to consider what might be expired, anway. We put together a guide for you. And for the stuff you don’t use — there’s no need to be wasteful. You can drop off products at your local Women’s Shelter. Here is a national database for you to go through.

27. The last phase of discarding: the sentimental stuff.

It’s the hardest, which is why it’s last.

29. As the wise prophets Fall Out Boy once sang, “Thx fr th mmrs.”

30. You definitely don’t need to get rid of ALL the memories, though.

Even Marie Kondo keeps a ratty t-shirt she loves too much to let go of. It’s not about getting rid of the things you love — it’s surrounding yourself with the things you love, and only the things you love.

31. Only after you have thrown out a significant amount of crap can you proceed with your life.

It’s scary to get rid of so much at once, but it’s also, after a point, totally exhilarating. It’s a click — this is just right, this is just what you need. And when you reach that point of essentials, you can move on to the restructuring. Now you can get to know all the stuff you love again in new ways.

32. Cancel out any remaining bad vibes and smoke the sage.

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