Be Marie: How to Use the KonMari Method for Packing

KonMari Method for Packing

Written by Katie Coakley on

Katie Coakley is a Colorado-based freelance writer who writes about travel, craft beer, and outdoor adventures. The Coronavirus may have kept her state-side but she’s still traveling safely. See more of her work on her website or follow her on Instagram @katie_on_the_map.

KonMari Method for Packing


Are you a Marie Kondo devotee, organizing your home and sparking joy in everyday life? Here’s how you can take those lessons and apply them to another joy-sparking activity: travel!


Have you jumped on the tidying bandwagon yet? If you haven’t binged all eight episodes of Netflix’s show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” now is the time!

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant and author, has become a household name with her technique for tidying, the KonMari Method. With more patience and serenity than most of us feel while organizing, Kondo shares her step-by-step list of which items to tackle when, encourages clients to discard those items that don’t “spark joy,” and shares a specific way of folding clothes. And while the overall impact is impressive—second hand and thrift stores across the country have seen an increase in donations since the show debuted on January 1st—there’s a bonus element that you might not have spotted: You can also use the KonMari method to pack for travel!


Step One: Take Out All of Your Clothes and Put Them on the Bed

Okay, not really. However, this is the first step for the KonMari method to see what you actually own—and what you can discard. This step (slightly modified) is also useful in packing your bag. Instead of purging all of your drawers, just pull out everything that you think you might want to pack and put it on the bed. Is there a small mountain rising from the duvet? You’re ready for the next step.


Step Two: Handle Each Item and Ask, “Does This Item Bring Me Joy?”

One of Kondo’s favorite questions is, “Does it spark joy?” when referring to items of clothing, books, mementos, etc. You should ask this same question when you’re packaging for a trip. If that pair of pants doesn’t spark joy when you wear them at home, how are they going to make you feel when you’re traveling? When you’re posting your pics on the ‘Gram? Pack only the clothes that make you happy—especially that new fanny pack.


Step Three: Fold Accordingly & Use Packing Cubes

Now that you’ve decided what to take, you’re ready to fill your favorite bag. If you watch even 15 minutes of Kondo’s show, you’ll see that she has a very specific way of folding clothes. This method not only saves space in drawers, but also keeps clothes nice looking and helps avoid wrinkles. When it comes to packing, you can use this very same method to arrange shirts, pants, and skirts in your small carry-on or duffel bag or place them straight into your packing cubes.

This is a game-changer. As a former rolling proponent (and let’s be honest, I still love the method), putting t-shirts, jeans and sweaters from my drawers right into my packing cubes for my last trip was a revelation. Without adjusting from hangers or folds to rolling, you can save time and feel all sorts of pleased with yourself, simultaneously.


Step Four: Bask in the Glory that is Your Perfectly Tidy Bag

That’s it. Your clothes are perfectly organized in your packing cubes and fitted expertly in your bag. Follow these steps for your shoes (minus the folding, of course), undergarments (just wait until you see how cute your socks look folded with the KonMari Method), toiletries, and other items. With everything in its place and everything sparking joy, you’re ready to take on the world. Or Cleveland. Or wherever you may be headed.

So before your next trip, take a deep breath, channel the pixie-like Kondo, and use the KonMari method to make packing for travel even more magical.


Looking for inspiration on what to pack? Check out Eagle Creek’s Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist .



Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Here’s How to Pack an Organized Duffel

Pack with a Plan

10 Best Tips for Packing Light

Video: How to Pack Wrinkle-Free