The awkward energy that fills the room each time Marie Kondo greets a new home in her Netflix show, Tidying up With Marie Kondo, sparks a lot of joy in me. Let’s be honest, she’s taking a brief nap. I imagined my hourly paying clients wouldn’t appreciate me napping on the job but when I asked one she said, “Sara, you can do whatever it takes to get my home in shape.” Thanks Joyce, you’re a gem!
Anyway, let’s talk about Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard of her, you’ve definitely been living under a rock...er, I mean a pile of clothes. She’s the Japanese woman known for her home organizing and decluttering method called the KonMari method and she’s BANKING on America’s bad case of something I like to call TMS - Too Much Stuff. TMS can’t be cured from swallowing over-the-counter painkillers. Applying a heating pad to the problem area won't heal the issue either but if it could, I bet you’d have at least three to choose from. TMS requires external help from friends, family and Home Organizers like me, Shelfie.
Through books, YouTube videos, training programs and most recently a Netflix show, KonMari Media Inc. is motivating people everywhere to declutter their homes. Since the show aired on January 1st, 2019, I’ve received an influx of texts and emails from friends and clients sending me links to various articles about her. People want to know what I think of her, the show, the books and the method. So I’m here to share it with you!
In 2015, I read Marie Kondo’s first book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and at first, seriously thought this woman was completely out of touch with reality. It reminded me of another book I read a year earlier called The Rules, a book about dating for single women. While the book was completely antiquated and seemingly absurd to me, it was also totally helpful. I grasped the main ideas and bigger themes and was able to laugh at some of the details that basically tell readers a woman should never leave the house without a full face of makeup in case she runs into the man of her dreams. If you’re in check with your emotions and reality, the overarching takeaways are pretty solid. I feel the same way about the KonMari Method.
GREAT KONDO TIPS
Showing gratitude for what they’ve taught me and how they served me before getting rid of them has been a super helpful method for both my clients and me. It helps us realize the items weren’t totally useless which in turn makes us feel less guilty for ditching them. I understand how hard it can be letting go of a sweater you never wore with the tag still attached, the old and mismatched extra sets of dishes you’ve kept in case the Brady Bunch unexpectedly shows up at the door for dinner, or the keychains the old man that works in the Amish Market brings to you each winter when he returns from Turkey.
Try thanking the sweater for teaching you not to shop impulsively. Thank the keychains for putting a smile on your face for a few minutes but reminding you it’s the thought and memories of friends and family that counts, not the crap they buy us. Thank your old and mismatched dishes for being useful at one time but The Brady Bunch hasn’t shown up yet, so when they do, we’ll figure it out.
Papers and Filing
These tips are quite useful. Kondo tells us to put all of our papers into one huge pile when going through the purging process. It’s particularly helpful to me when I’m working with clients, but also in my own apartment as well. I used to have papers all over the place. Once I dumped it all into one bin and decided what to shred, trash, and keep, the entire process became much easier. Kondo teaches us not to overfile once we are organized which I think is a great tip. Items like passports, birth certificates and the deed to the house can all go into one folder. You don’t need a labeled folder for each of those categories - just a simple “VIP DOCUMENTS” section will do. The idea is that for the far and few moments you need a document from your file area, you know it will definitely be in one place.
QUESTIONABLE KONDO TIPS
Kondo’s Folding Method
This has been a huge hit. It’s beautiful, organized, saves space and allows you to see everything in the drawer. But is it maintainable? For me the answer is a hard no for most of my clothes. For this reason, I always ask my clients before I start Kondo folding if it’s something they will maintain. If yes, this is a great system. If no, it’s a total waste of time. Which brings me to my next point - her folding method takes a really long time and I don’t know about you, but when I fold my laundry, I want to get it over with as soon as possible.
Something else to consider: in a city like New York, many send out their laundry and it comes back nicely folded. You better believe if I’m paying for someone else to do my laundry, there isn’t a chance in hell I’m going to unfold and refold everything. I think the folding technique is good for items you have less of - for me that’s denim. I have about 4 pairs of jeans I wear. Pants are quick and easy to Kondo fold and pop back into the drawer. If you have deep drawers, this technique is also good for chunky sweaters vs. shelf stacking only for them to topple over later.
Holding an item in my hand and asking myself if it “sparks joy.”
Realistically, this only works part of the time. Do my four square white bowls in the kitchen spark joy for me? No. Do I need to have bowls in my home? Yes. Am I going to ditch my perfectly useful dishes and go out and find dishes that spark joy? No, because that would be a waste of money. The balance is that I only have what I need, that match, are in good condition and nest nicely into one another. If this were my kitchen, however, it would spark loads of joy.
Shelfie’s Thoughts on the Show
Why I Didn’t Really Want to Watch: Typically, I avoid reality TV shows that force me to hear about other people’s problems, feel deeply sad, bad, frustrated, frightened or disturbed (Hoarders, My 600 LB life, etc.) and I place this show in that category. I’d rather watch mindless TV like The Real Housewives of New York
or anything on HGTV. My goal when watching TV is to relax and feel happiness.
More Of Why I Didn’t Really Want to Watch: Watching a television show that reflects what I do at work all day is exhausting. I LOVE what I do for work. But think about it, would a teacher want to come home and watch reality television about a teacher teaching a classroom?
Why I Watched Anyway: It’s important to me to stay in the know on the latest hoopla in my industry.
What Happened When I Watched: I found the show boring. I don’t want to come home and watch people fold. It’s that simple. I fell asleep in the middle of the first episode and afterwards, took a break from watching.
Media OverKill: The media really knows how to ruin and oversaturate everything. When this happens, I naturally tend to move away from that subject. This was particularly frustrating for me because I’m simultaneously EXTREMELY grateful Marie Kondo’s show is shining a bright light on my industry. I’m writing this to embrace the overkill and answer lots of questions people had for me :)
What Happened When I FINALLY Finished The Series: In the end, Marie Kondo, my fellow organizing community and I all bring a positive life-altering experience to people who need it. We help to cure TMS. We bring happiness, joy, relief, tidiness, order, organization, calmness and positive energy into the homes of others. We help people - and this is what matters most. When I finished the series, I had the warm fuzzies! It reminded me why I love my work so much - but the show was still extremely boring.