That’s all the episodes it took for the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, to take America on a decluttering frenzy.

The premise of the show is based on a brilliantly simple concept she wrote about in her New York Times bestselling book called the KonMari method: you get to live your best life if you focus on the things that spark joy for you.

Although Marie’s focus is on decluttering your home, that same philosophy applies perfectly to your money situation too. We’ll show you how.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • The key concepts of the KonMari method
  • How to tweak the process to apply to your money
  • A motivational & encouraging way to face your finances

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do your money choices spark joy? declutter financial mess with konmari method



netflix marie kondo's tidying up your home screenshotScreenshot of Netflix’s series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

In the context of tidying your home, when you allow yourself to accumulate things that don’t serve a clear, practical need or that you don’t make you super happy, that stuff ultimately ends up being clutter.

They become things you have to deal with that don’t give you anything back emotionally.

You only have a limited amount of time & energy, so you feel frustration when it seems like you are wasting it on stuff that doesn’t do much for you.

Your finances are very similar in that you only have a limited amount of money, right? When you feel frustration or disappointment, it’s because you aren’t happy with what your money is doing for you and it’s not sparking joy for you.

Fortunately, Marie Kondo has already done the hard part and figured out how to help people hone and implement that spark joy philosophy. Our goal is to show you a way to apply her same techniques to your finances.


Get your mind and wallet on the same page with a fillable printable journal to:

  • Dive deep into your money values
  • Uncover habits and trends influencing your personal finances
  • Get motivated to make positive change with your money
  • Start getting your money to work for you

Steps to KonMari your money

i am grateful on ceramic heart with rope loop

Step 1: Greet your money with gratitude

With each client on her show, Marie starts off by greeting their home. During this part, she encourages her clients to thank their home and the items in it for serving them. She also asks them to envision what being clutter-free will do for them:

  • How will their life be different?
  • How will they feel different?

For this first step, take a few minutes to do the same with your money. Thank it for providing for you and think about how you want things to be different financially.


In response to how you want things to be different financially, ask yourself:

  • Is there debt that I want to be rid of?
  • Is there a need I know I should be contributing more towards (ex: retirement, kids’ college savings)?
  • Is there a want I’d like to save up for (ex: home, vacation)?

Step 2: Face your reality

Once they greet the home, Marie will usually start by having her clients go through their clothes but she makes them put every single piece of clothing into a HUGE pile onto their bed first.

The purpose of that is to let them see what they’ve let the situation get to.

Seeing the giant pile is really eye-opening for people because it’s only when they see how much stuff they’ve accumulated that they realize how much potential there is to improve their lives, how much there is that they can purge.

Money is very similar in that it’s easy to be out of sight, out of mind.

There is, however, at least one time a year that people get same feeling of shock that the giant clothes pile does for the people on the show.

W-2 time.

Every year without fail, when people get their W2s, so many people say “I made that much money?!? Where the heck did it all go?!?”

They say no pain no gain, so you need to see your financial “clothes pile on the bed.”

So for this step, dig out your last W-2 and really soak in the number.

Recognize that you’ve let that money get away from you, then focus on the fact that you make tens of thousands of dollars, certainly enough to crush it financially if you make the effort to.

woman holding post it with smiley face in front of face

Step 3: Figure out what sparks joy

After her clients see the shocking clothes pile, Marie then finally has them start sorting through their stuff and begin to figure out what sparks joy for them.

When it comes to money, you want to develop that exact same sense because that’s how you’re going to decide when it is worth spending money on something.

What does it feel like when something sparks joy for you? What you’re looking for is something that makes you feel excited. When you think about this thing that sparks joy, you should literally feel giddy with anticipation.

And if something doesn’t make you feel that way, then you gotta ask yourself: why am I spending money on this when I could be spending it on something that does float my boat?

Start paying attention to what sparks joy for you, that excite you so much that even just the anticipation of it gives you energy and happiness.


It doesn’t have to be big things that can spark joy for you. Perhaps grabbing a coffee with your best friend or buying a small toy to surprise your kid.

And if you’re having trouble figuring out what truly gets you excited, the things that literally bring a smile to your face is a good indication.


Get your mind and wallet on the same page with a fillable printable journal to:

  • Dive deep into your money values
  • Uncover habits and trends influencing your personal finances
  • Get motivated to make positive change with your money
  • Start getting your money to work for you

Step 4: Stay mindful

After people finish purging their house, they’ve had a lot of practice identifying what sparks joy and a lot of them say it is actually a lifestyle change and a mindset change, not just a one-time tidying exercise.

Your goal is to get to that same point, so that you are only spending on what sparks joy for you, so that you feel zero regrets with what your money is doing for you.

You see, the secret to successful money management has more to do with mindfulness than it does math or budgeting.

Every time you’re presented with the chance to spend money or buy something, literally stop and think to yourself “how happy would this make me?”

It takes a little getting used to, but just like the people on Marie’s show, they get better and better at it until eventually it kind of becomes silly or strange to live in a way that doesn’t spark joy for them.


There are so many things that we can spend our money on, so it doesn’t make sense to waste it on things that don’t maximize our happiness. Our article shows you how you can use Marie Kondo’s popular Konmari tidying philosophy to declutter your financial messes and let your money spark joy.




stacy trinh aka aunty chang headshot


STACY, aka AUNTY CHANG, is a personal finance blogger set on a mission to show people that there's more to money than just the numbers. With two rental properties and a six-figure 401k by her 30's, she's on track to retire early without sacrificing work-life balance to get there. She wants to teach others how to identify their goals and use money to make them happen. Dual income, no kids, based in Hawaii.

Hangs out on Keeping Up with the Changs: Facebook | Twitter