Applying Marie Kondo’s Magic to your Garden

Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm. From best-selling book to Netflix Queen of Clean, the tidying expert’s unique method to decluttering has transformed people’s living spaces from a messy place that doesn’t “spark joy” into areas of serenity and calmness. 

As summer creeps up and BBQs and garden parties are impending, we want our outdoor areas to be a true extension of our homes and our family life, to truly make the most of the weather the next time the sun decides to shine. 

Yet we have all been there in May: a sudden heat wave, but a garden that has been disregarded for a few months. Our shed crammed with all sorts of items and last years inflatable paddling pool hiding behind the outhouse - sound familiar? 

Marie Kondo is a cultural phenomenon - her work has helped people across the globe transform their homes. This blog offers Housing Units’ take on how to use her life-changing magic in your garden, with five simple steps. No matter how big or small, Kondo’s approach is simple and effective. First, let’s understand her method:


KonMari, a play on her name, is Kondo’s unique method which includes gathering together all of your belongings, one category at a time, and only keeping the things that ‘spark joy’ to your life which suit any of your needs. The first point of action is...

Make the Commitment

Once you are committed and have dedicated yourself to decluttering and organising your garden, half of the battle is already won. If your garden is a field of mess, your commitment will help you to stop wasting unnecessary products as well as save time by reducing the risk of being constantly distracted. 

Get the Idea First 

Take a moment to imagine the life that you want to lead, and how you visualise this in your garden and house. Be as specific as possible. Once you envisage it, you will have a much clearer image in your head which will help you to stay motivated and acquire your dream garden. Does the garden in your head include a BBQ and table and chairs, but you don’t feel like you have the space? No problem. Once you have decluttered, you will be surprised by how much space you can create and utilise, while still allowing the area to look clean and organised. 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind? 

Before you start buying new furniture for your decluttered garden, we have to focus on the clutter itself. This does not mean store it away out of sight, out of mind, as it will get on top of you. 

The most common storage culprit in the garden? The shed. People can often cram as much as possible into the shed because that hides the mess. But then you aren’t discarding, you are only adding more and more and more.

That’s not to say that storage solutions aren’t always a good idea. They can be a blessing for cushions and other smaller items that you want to use each summer, but not have out for the bad weather. Often though, storage is used as a hideaway for mess and hoarding. How do you declutter? 

Choose Category by Category

Many people opt to organise by location, but Kondo recommends doing it by category as it helps you acknowledge how much of each item you have, what you need or brings happiness to you. Kondo typically heads for the clothes first, then moves onto books, papers, misc and leaves sentimental items until last. It’s not difficult to adapt this to your garden; don’t organise by shed and greenhouse, organise by item.

Take your garden accessories one by one. Lots of random garden chairs that look out of place? 50 tennis balls? An abundance of different tool kits that you never use? Sort through them category by category, and it will ultimately help you to choose the best of the best of your garden tools to keep, and to throw away. 

Categories for Garden 

  • Clothes and gloves Applying Marie Kondo’s Magic to your Garden
  • Dining Sets 
  • Seating, Sofas, Stools and Benches 
  • Parasols
  • Barbeques
  • Outdoor Accessories
  • Plant Pots 
  • Gardening tools 
  • Toys and Sports
  • Building Materials 
  • Komono (miscellaneous items)
  • Last, anything with sentimental value 

Does it ‘Spark Joy’? 

Perhaps her most famous catchphrase, Marie Kondo urges people to only keep the things that ‘bring joy’ to them in their homes. Do you have a garden gnome that you don’t love? Plant pots with no plants in? Throw them away. Think about how useful it is. Have you used it recently? Is it sentimental? Does it bring joy? The last part is the most important.

Imagine putting on your favourite pair of jeans or reading your favourite book. If throwing away a tool gives you the same feeling of throwing away your favourite book, don’t bin it. But if not, pass it on, donate it, or recycle it. This will help you to stop buying things you don’t need and even once you have decluttered, save money in the long run. 

Other benefits to the Marie Kondo method include benefits to your mental health and relieving stress. We’ve all heard the idea that a cluttered home is a cluttered mind, and this is just as relevant to the garden. 

Choose a place for everything. Remove anything that doesn’t bring you happiness. Keep anything that does bring joy. Most importantly - don’t get a bigger shed.