A Peek Into Marie Kondo's (Extremely Minimalist) Cleaning Routine
When I was a student, I went through a phase where I was really into cleaning our home whenever my mother was out. This wasn't because I wanted to do something nice for her but rather because I couldn't suppress my compulsion to tidy. Not content with tidying my own room, I cleaned as a way to distract myself from tidying everyone else's rooms. I used bleach to clean the kitchen sink drain, scrubbed the grime from the kitchen fan, wiped the windowsills, and took great pleasure in removing dust that no one had even noticed, using different types of cleansers to tackle each type of dirt.
What my cleaning routine looks like now.
Now, however, there are almost no cleansers in my home at all. I have one each for the kitchen, the laundry area, and the toilet, plus a bag of baking soda.
I use nothing whatsoever for the bathtub. Instead, after I've drained it, I wash it down with cold water from the shower to cool it and then wipe it dry with a towel designated for this purpose. Spraying the tub with cold water is something I learned from my mother, but I decided to stop using cleansers because I find the chemical smell unpleasant. Not using cleansers seems to make no difference at all. I do, however, talk to the bath as I wipe it dry, saying things like, "That was such a refreshing bath," and "It's amazing how you're always so clean and free from mold."
I used to wipe the floor with cleanser as well, but now I just wipe it with a damp rag. I use ordinary white cotton ones. They don't stay white for long, and the sight of them doesn't spark joy, but I ignore that. I wash and dry them thoroughly, fold them using the same principles as those for folding clothes, and store them in their own box in a way that does bring me joy. When they become too grungy, I use them to wipe down things like the window and door screens before throwing them away.
I don't use cleanser for the stovetop either but merely wipe it with a hot, damp cloth. This is something I learned from one of my clients. It's easy to remove oil and grease if you wipe the stovetop immediately after cooking using a well-wrung cloth soaked in hot or cold water.
I think that one of the keys to easy cleaning is to use the bare minimum of cleaning equipment. Of course, some people, such as professional cleaners, may need to use an array of cleansers to meet specific needs, while others may need to use them occasionally, such as to remove grime that has become firmly fixed. And if you are someone who actually enjoys collecting and trying out different kinds of cleansers, that joy itself is wonderful.
In my case, however, what brings me joy is a simple approach that requires just one cleanser so I don't have to think or choose. Fortunately for me, all-purpose cleansers that are good for the environment are now easy to find.
If, when you go through your cleansers, you find that you don't use some of them, why not take the opportunity to let them go and experiment with a simpler approach? The sight of a tidy cupboard, no longer filled with a jumble of cleansers, may actually inspire you to clean. Before you know it, your dream of a sparkling, joy-filled home will have come true.
Reprinted with permission from Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home: How To Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life by Marie Kondo, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, star of Netflix's hit show, "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," and founder of KonMari Media, Inc.
In her #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie took tidying to a whole new level, teaching that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Marie has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, Vogue, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Ellen Show as well as on more than fifty major Japanese television and radio programs. She has also been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.