With perfect timing Netflix released “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” on New Years Day, just in time for the momentum of post-Christmas purging and New Years resolutions to “get organized”!
Marie Kondo is the inspirational bestselling author of “The life changing magic of tidying up” and famous for her KonMarie method of organizing by category. Having read the book multiple times I was keen to watch the joy-filled, effervescent Marie Kondo do her thing! Each episode tells the story of a household being taught the KonMarie method and shows the process of them tidying up and purging items from their home.
I get asked a lot if I love Marie Kondo (I do) or follow her method (not often). The general concepts she uses are somewhat universal but I have different perspective of a few things.
Where we Differ
Marie Kondo’s “Sparks Joy” benchmark for keeping items is difficult to figure out. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that joy has little to do with de-cluttering and organizing. When I help clients set parameters on what to keep, ‘Do I love?’ it is only one consideration. More practical questions of the items practicality and usefulness are addressed as well. There are also some times that things that do bring joy need to be let go.
Focus on Folding
While I do use and love the vertical ‘File-fold’ method for some items with drawers, her folding system isn’t one that works for everyone and in every space. It requires maintenance and really works best for drawers, not for shelves (which a lot of closets have). And this might come as a shock but I don’t always advocate for folding. I recommend low maintenance ways to store clothes that protect the garment and are easy to sustain. While folding is sometimes helpful, I find most busy households aren’t able to maintain this for the volume of laundry that gets produced each day. Folding for children isn’t always the most efficient way of dealing with all their clothes, particularly kids who pull out a few outfits per day! Laundry is such a perpetual process, so at Grace This Space we come up with a process for each household that is the most efficient and that requires as little time and effort as possible.
Gratitude and Object Personification:
Gratitude is a wonderful sentiment and I believe it is so important to be content and appreciate what we have. However, I didn’t connect with Marie Kondo’s personification of items by acknowledging their hard work, thanking them, letting them ‘rest’ or waking them up.
One Method for All Clients:
While I think the KonMarie method is a great method, it doesn’t fit all clients’ styles, their needs or time constraints. While some clients are be able to allocate the time to an all in method like Marie’s, most work more effectively with a slow but steady process. Also, some spaces lend themselves more to this method wile others are more utilitarian and have little to do with joy.
The overall process of evaluating items and then finding a home for them that Marie Kondo takes her clients through is very familiar to most organizers, but we all have different styles. Her style will work for many but there will be many who just won’t mesh with her category method, folding method, evaluation question, etc. That’s ok! There are so many different styles that you can use! As organizers we perceive each client’s needs, lifestyle and personality and work with a method that will help them and mesh with their style.
What I share with Marie Kondo
Being non-judgmental and respectful of every client's needs is an essential element in professional organizing we share, everyone deserves respect and clients tend to judge themselves already and often need to show themselves, and be shown, grace.
Marie Kondo’s excitement to see messy drawers and rooms is relatable as I love to have the opportunity to completely transform them into functional and beautiful spaces. And the joy of a clients happiness at the conclusion of the process is so rewarding!
Her honesty with clients is also so important, I also loved that she was honest whenever asked how her house looks or her children behave. This is so encouraging to clients to hear they are not alone and even the professionals deal with these struggles! There is a lot of emotion involved in going through personal items and this is shown in the series. It is a rewarding and special part of what we Organizers do!
So what do I Think of Her Show?
So is it worth the watch? Yes! While it may not be the most exciting show - it will motivate and inspire you! This is a reality show, however, it includes it does include instructional sections (eg. How to store things, fold, etc) it is definitely worth checking out!
You may find yourself compelled to pull out all your clothes after an episode! Remember, evaluating your possessions is an emotional and physical task that you can take at your own pace and in your own way too. Don’t feel discouraged if her method isn’t for you- simply create a system that works for you!