As a professional organizer, I’m always interested in hearing new ideas about organizing. Because I tailor my methods according to my client’s needs, I tend to read a lot about what other organizers do and how their methods help clients in specific ways. Enter Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In case you haven’t heard, she calls her method the “KonMari” method… combining her first and last names.
To be honest, I’ve been a bit skeptical of her method since I heard about it, because I didn’t think it really would work in most American family households. Of course, I hadn’t actually read the book, so before I started discounting her work, I wanted to learn about it myself. Now, I am by no means trained in the KonMari method (and yes, there is an actual certification for this), so please keep that in mind. Realize that my opinions are based only on my reading of the book and not through taking her classes.
The very basics of her method are that you start with the premise that you’re deciding only what to keep, not necessarily what to discard. And, you only keep those things that “spark joy.” You do all your tidying by category and you do it all at once. You also verbally thank and appreciate the objects in your home.
Some of the tenants, I certainly agree with. Kondo asserts that the “tidying” must all be done at once. At first, I was laughing hysterically. If she’s been in some of the houses I’ve been in, all at once would have been a marathon 3 week undertaking with no breaks. But, that’s not what she means. She means for you to decide to tidy up and work continuously at it and complete it within a certain amount of time - 3-6 months, for example. That makes more sense to me, and I agree with that. You don’t want to start organizing and then take months off in between. You’ll undo anything you’ve started.
I also agree that it’s best to sort like items at the same time. She insists on it. I don’t. This is where we part ways. This works fantastically well for some of my clients - if their homes aren’t cluttered to the point that they simply don’t know where all their clothing is, for example. So, I would take her advice and modify it to fit my client’s situation. We sort by category as much as possible but realize that we may need to do a second sort once we’ve gone through the bulk of the home.
As far as thanking the items for their service, I think I’ll pass. But I definitely can take this and put a more culturally acceptable American spin on it. I do believe, just as Kondo states, that the things we own can be easier to get rid of if we accept that they have fulfilled their purpose in our lives. We may not have realized what the purpose was when we acquired that object, but it could have been as simple as providing us a certain amount of happiness when we found it for half price in the store. We don’t necessarily have to hang on to something just because we haven’t gotten “full use” out of it. Sure, you did, you just didn’t realize it at the time.
Overall, I enjoyed Marie Kondo’s book. I did laugh to myself a few times when I envisioned trying to work through some client’s homes the KonMari way. Surprisingly though, I did learn new ways to help clients make decisions on what to keep. So, her book has served a purpose in my life. And I can, with joy, let it go.
What do you think? Have you read her book? Has it helped you tidy up, or did it just give you a good laugh (or a little of both)? Let me know in the comments!
Jennifer Raschig loves to share thoughts on creating restful spaces and presenting your best self every day.