Tidying Up with Marie Kondo


Remember the TV Show on TLC channel, Hoarders?  I think that show is still on, but it’s out.  It’s definitely not in.  Marie Kondo, from this Netflix orginal, is in now.

Marie Kondo is all the rage. All of the “Pinterest type” moms are already posting pics of organized drawers with perfectly folded clothes.

Don’t know who Marie Kondo is? Check out her bestselling book

I even got in on the act- although my technique is still a little rough.  Don’t worry, I’ll show you what a finished drawer looks like when the folding is done properly.

Here’s my attempt at organizing a drawer I keep some of my running clothes in. 

Not perfect, but much improved.

So, what is it about this show that is kicking everyone into gear, and getting them off their butts and organizing?

There are very practical reasons for using the Marie Kondo method

I turned to one of my friends, who was probably already one of the most organized people I know.  Her house always looks great as it is, does she even need to use this method?  But even she found some reasons to get it done.  She shared them with me.

She wanted to get her house in order because they are getting ready to build some additional space.  This will affect how they are using all of their current closet space, and she wanted to get her house in organized more so she can spend less time looking for things.  She also wanted to do less picking up things and cleaning.

With organized closets comes shorter times to get ready in the morning.  Being organized also gives her a sense of calm, and the feeling of having a more beautiful home.   After she explained this to me, it totally made sense.  So, she watched Marie Kondo and put it all into action.

The Marie Kondo process

First, empty all of your closets in all of your rooms. Take all of your clothes out, and not just the ones hanging in, the closet.   Empty all of your dresser drawers too.  Anything that you are using to store your clothes needs to be emptied.

Then you have to place all of these clothes on your bed.

Does it spark Joy?

You can’t just stand in front of your closet or dresser and organize.  You need to do the process of emptying it.  So, when you see the mountain of clothes in each room on each bed you will get a realization of how much you have accumulated.

You then pick up each single article of clothing, hold it up, and ask yourself if it sparks joy or not.

Yes, now enter all of the internet memes.  Some people have even posted they’d like to get rid of not just the many objects, but also a few people they have that don’t spark joy!

Another of Marie Kondo’s books

All joking aside, it may sound silly, but by asking yourself this question- you’re forced to see if you’re truly attached or to that item or not.  If it doesn’t spark joy, toss it in the donation pile. Or, if it’s damaged, toss it in the trash.

But wait- her process asks that you thank your clothes or your objects before you get rid of them.

After you decide which clothes you want to keep, you’ll need to fold all of them in a certain way so they stand up right.  Basically, you are folding them into rectangles.  If you do it right, they will stand vertically.  This is so you can see all of your clothes at a glance, and fit more into your drawers.

This is a huge space saver that even has its own name- KonMari.

Here’s an example of what a finished drawer looks like when using the method properly.

The method breaks down organizing into the following categories:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (miscellaneous items)
  5. Mementos (sentimental items)

Not without criticism.

They also recommend when going through this process that you commit to doing your entire house.  You block out the time, and go through each of these categories.  You organize by categories, not room by room.  This is easier said than done because it requires you to think through the process of what you’re keeping and why.

This is also somewhat unpractical though.  On the show, the guests have hired her to be their consultant, and are required to block off the time needed to complete the process.  I’m a working mom who doesn’t have that kind of time to block off all at once. So, I will continue to do this gradually as I am able to.

Another common criticism of the method is when it comes to books- she doesn’t want you to keep all of them.  What kind of person encourages us to get rid of books?  But she makes a good point in that most of the time they just add clutter and collect a lot of dust.  So just keep the ones you really want.

Does it translate?

Marie Kondo is from Japan, and she started her career there.  Her books are best sellers, and she’s created a movement that everyone wants to be a part of it.  However, how well does that technique transfer to over here in the U S of A?

We are hoarders, and we buy in bulk.  We’re surrounded by stores just begging us to stock up: Costco, Sam’s Club, BJs to name a few.  We have huge houses, and cram everything we can find into all of this space.

I don’t know what the average size of a house in Japan is, but I’m fairly certain it isn’t even close to what we have here.  Her method of compartmentalizing things into smaller boxes is easier to follow when you have a smaller place, and smaller furniture.  When you have a huge closet, space might not even be an issue. So, for some people, I think a lot of this will be lost in translation.

A work in progress

Will I finish my house, or will it continue to be organized chaos?  I’m going to keep working on this, using the methods of Marie Kondo, but time will tell.

Have you used this method?  Did you love or hate it?  Let me know in the comments.

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