Marie Kondo’s suitcase-packing masterclass

The renowned tidying guru and author on how to pick – and pack – the perfect suitcase


BY MARIE KONDO
Tokyo’s Marie Kondo has sold more than seven million books worldwide – people wait months for a consultation with her. Her KonMari method, which encourages her readers to choose and keep only items that ‘spark joy’, has won her an extremely loyal following.

 

What to look for when you buy a suitcase

Durability and usability are key for me, but as well as the functionality of a case, I will also see what I look like in the mirror carrying it. That’s just as important as anything else. If you have a suitcase that you never use or that gives you a negative feeling, I donate it to someone else. Thank the suitcase before you discard it, just as you should any other belonging you part with. You may say something along the lines of, “Thank you for letting me travel comfortably until now.” By expressing gratitude for the role that it played in your life, you will not only reduce the guilt of letting the item go, but you will also develop greater appreciation for the items that you choose to keep. Taking care of your belongings leads to keeping your house in order. 

Think before you pack

Check the weather and itinerary for your trip and make sure you only plan to take belongings and clothing that will fit those needs. I make a written list of the things I need to pack before I start. If your head is clear and you know what you need, packing proceeds more smoothly. If you are going on holiday, you may want to envision your destination and use packing as a way to build anticipation for your trip. For a business trip, imagine the great work that you will accomplish and the trip going well.

Don’t pack cosmetic samples – unless you really use them

I’ve noticed that women often store stocks of cosmetic samples, thinking that they will one day use them on a trip. In reality, they often don't use the products at all (although, in my experience, Japanese people do tend to use products decanted into travel-sized containers more than other nationalities). By transferring items that you use on a daily basis into small reusable containers, you can significantly reduce the amount of space those products take up in your luggage. Since hair and skin products are very personal and react differently for each individual, I recommend that you bring your own face wash and any other products that spark joy for you. Pack toiletries in a waterproof pouch to prevent items from leaking into the rest of your luggage. Once an individual tidies using only my KonMari Method, he or she will be able to judge what they need in their lives. This will enable them to pack less.  

Pack small items in pouches

Using bags and pouches prevents, for example, dirt on the soles of your shoes from coming into contact with your other belongings. More than that, it’s also an efficient way to categorise and pack plenty of other small items. It’s best to roll men’s ties like a sushi roll, and put them in a perfectly sized pouch to retain the shape. You can store jewellery in pouches that allow you to sort by type: earrings, necklaces, rings, and so on. This prevents jewellery getting tangled and makes getting ready easy when you arrive. As for tights, I recommend tightly folding them and lining them up standing upright – this is also the best way to store them at home.

Leave as much as 50 per cent of your case empty

Depending on the purpose of your trip, I suggest leaving anywhere from ten-50 per cent of your suitcase empty. If you tightly fold the clothes and store them standing upright in your suitcase, you can easily rearrange your clothing to accommodate more things.

When deciding on which souvenirs to purchase, consider whether or not they spark joy when you touch them and if you believe that they will continue to spark joy in your life after you bring them home. After you have completely tidied up using the KonMari Method, your judgment will improve. You'll choose souvenirs that spark joy more easily and find yourself saving more money. 

Say thank you

When I come home from a trip I wipe the surface of my suitcase and unload everything with gratitude for the joy that they brought me on my trip. As I close the suitcase, I think to myself, “I look forward to using you during my next trip.” As a result, I feel happier the next time I travel with that suitcase. 

Marie Kondo’s latest book is The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

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