While Marie Kondo has become more mainstream since her Netflix show aired, this Japanese organization consultant and author released her first book in 2014. Since then, she has released several more books and created classes to trail those who want to become consultants using her methods to organize your home.

Several years ago, I was drowning in clutter and my stress level was on the rise. I had tried decluttering and organizing many times over the years but nothing ever worked until I discovered Marie Kondo’s method. Her organizational method focuses on keeping what “sparks joy” for you.

For many people, clutter can aggravate stress and anxiety. Piles of undealt with paper clutter, too small clothes you want to fit into someday, and broken toys your children don’t play with can all cause stress to mount up. Instead of dealing with the problems, you pile them up for a “someday” that never comes.

With Marie Kondo’s method, the first step is to bring all like items to one central location so you really understand how much you have. Rather than organizing writing implements in every room of your home, you bring them all together so you can see what you own. From that point, you identify those that really bring you joy. This can help teach you to be grateful for what you own.

As you weed out the things that do not bring you joy, you are also getting rid of obligation and guilt. She encourages you to let go of things that don’t make you happy without other considerations. If you’re only holding onto Great Aunt Margaret’s ugly vase because you think you have to, it’s time to let it go. Eliminating guilt can be freeing and helps to relieve stress.

Another aspect of Marie Kondo’s method is to store similar items in one location. This can keep you organized and reduce expenses. Have you ever run to the store to buy something because you could not find the one you already own? With this method, everything you own will be easy to find and located in the same space. This helps eliminate extra expenses and needless purchases.

If clutter and disorganization contribute to the stress in your life, you can use Marie Kondo’s method to eliminate it. And, through the process, you will learn more about what does and does not make you happy. By keeping this in mind in the future, you’ll be able to make better decisions about what you want in your home.