I am the first to admit that more often than not, I am late to the party. When it comes to music, fashion, or any other trend, I tend to forgo getting involved until the trend dies down. It is for precisely that reason that I never read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, upon starting my minimalism journey. But, as we all know, the Marie Kondo trend never died down. In fact, it has become stronger than ever with the appearance of her Netflix show.
I’ve never seen the show.
I don’t have NetFlix. My family and I downsized our television services to Hulu and Amazon Prime some time ago. It is important that before you read any further you understand that everything I am writing is based on my reading of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Trendy as it is, I did finally read the book. I got it from the library and dove in waiting for something wonderful to jump out of the pages. After all, everybody’s tidying now. It’s on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook and YouTube – all over the internet! Everybody who is anybody seems to be jumping onboard with the KonMari method. Surely I would do the same, right?
I am clearly in the minority.
I don’t think anything Marie Kondo offers is revolutionary. In fact, many of her ideas for organizing are things I have been doing for years that I didn’t even know were credited these days to her. Like that store bags in bags thing – I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager. It’s common sense.
The fact is, decluttering and organizing are nothing new to anyone – and just because it gets put in a book doesn’t make it magical. Yet, for many people, because it gets a fancy title (the KonMari Method), they will try it out and fall in love. After all, everybody else is doing it.
Yes, I know I sound so negative. But really… I’m just not impressed.
The entire concept of holding an object and seeing if it sparks joy is something many people do. We pick something up, ask if it makes us happy, and if not we toss it.
I do this with my things.
I have my kids do it with theirs.
“Does it bring you joy?” is a common question I ask in my house. Not because Kondo says to, but because it is common sense. If you don’t find happiness in something, you don’t need it. And I didn’t need a book to tell me that. Most people don’t.
Declutter by Category
Marie Kondo says we should declutter by category. All clothes at once, all books at once, all this or that at once – not room by room.
No surprise here, friends, but I disagree.
I do not think you should gather every single like item together and place it out on the floor to hold each one and question if it sparks joy.
Yes, I can see where for some people this would work. For some.
But unlike Marie Kondo, I actually do believe that different people need different methods. You see, she believes her way is best and good for all involved. I believe her way would produce a panic attack in me so large that my husband would end up taking me to the emergency room.
I’m a declutter room by room, closet by closet, drawer by drawer, bin by bin person. Sections. I’m all about sections.
My next qualm with Marie Kondo is one that is directly related to my Christian faith. If you don’t share in my faith, you will probably think I am nuts. That’s ok.
Personification of inanimate objects, thanking them for serving you or getting you through the day or giving you whatever you needed to survive life… this is placing power on material objects. For Kondo, this is directly related to her Shinto religion. That’s her faith.
For me, it gives gratitude to something that did nothing. It is akin to idol worship, and I will not do it.
I will not bow in a house, I will not greet it, I will not ask objects to help me, I will not thank objects for helping or serving me, I will not seek assistance or acceptance from anything of the sort, and I certainly will not set up a personal shrine anywhere.
If you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book and find it hard to swallow what I am saying, well, go read it for yourself. Kondo is not shy about telling where these beliefs come from. It is a direct result of her worshipping at Shinto shrines.
No thank you.
And last, but not least, I get to her now world famous folding method.
Does it look pretty? Yes.
Is it organized? Yes.
Will I use it? No.
I don’t own a dresser. My closet has box shelves on the side and that is where all of my foldable items go. Folding them with the KonMari method would require me to go buy some sort of storage bin to put in the box shelves and pull out when I want something. I find that annoying.
But do I think it would work if I had a dresser? Yes. However, I wouldn’t use it.
I like folding things flat. My kids have dressers and I fold their clothes flat. It works for my organizing style. But… and this is important to note… we don’t own tons of clothes. None of us in this family do.
I really would like to say that I was impressed by the KonMari Method. After all, then I could be trendy. But I can’t. While she does offer great tips for organization, none of them are new to me. Her storage methods are simply that – storage. Using shoe boxes and clear bins, placing items upright, disposing of unnecessary papers… all of this stuff is fairly basic to anyone who has managed a household.
I guess what it comes down to is that some people need to have it said by another before they take action. Some people need to name what they are doing. And if that is you, that is ok. I’m not trying to diminish the value here, I’m just saying that it’s not for me.
In conclusion, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up does not spark joy for me. I’m glad I got it from the library where I can promptly return it.