Drinking some Japanese Kool Aid


Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I read “The Life-Changing Magice of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo and have started applying the KonMari method to my life.  I’m hardly the first person to obsess over this book so google away if you want to know how other people have experienced the methods, but here are my thoughts so far:

The Philosophy:  Keep only thing things in your life that “spark joy” and find a place in your home for every single thing that you do keep.

The Pros:

  • I have so much less clutter already.  I’m not even close to finished with my house, but I feel so much lighter, and actually happier.
  • Purging becomes an addiction.  I can’t wait to get home every day and clear out and organized the next category on my list.
  • Her methods work!  She does a good job of actually teaching you how to clean out your home.  For example, you don’t clean out your closet…you clean out your entire wardrobe.  You go by category, not area of your house, and then you put everything away together.  It’s a really thorough way of purging, and an effective way of organizing.
  • She really helps you let go of things you don’t need without guilt.  Which is weird because when you think of your belongings as inanimate objects you feel guilty discarding them, but when you personify them you start to feel ok letting them go (this book is kind of kooky, just trust me on this part).

The Cons:

  • It takes six months.  That’s a long time, and I’m worried I’ll burn out eventually (I’m on week three).
  • She doesn’t have kids and it’s obvious.  I don’t have the luxury of taking every belonging out of my purse every evening and re-packing it every morning.  I’m too busy explaining that we don’t watch TV on Tuesday nights, or arguing with my three year old that yes, she does have to wear shoes to school and OMG WE’RE LATE AGAIN!
  • Her methods aren’t 100% practical.  I kept only the clothing items that “sparked joy” but those items are sequined or bright-colored cocktail dresses, black lacy underwear, light and colorful dresses, and shorts of every color.  That sounds wonderful except I have a full time job and I need business casual clothes, and I never go to cocktail parties.  You can’t (or shouldn’t) wear black lacy underwear with white dresses.  Pretty, delicate blouses and short shorts aren’t the most practical mom clothes, and sometimes I need to wear something that can get dirty.  I have been inspired to buy new work clothes that do make me happy, but I can’t give up my “play clothes.”
  • I kind of want to go on a spending spree.  The point is to declutter, but when you’re tasked with keeping only the items that make you happy you start to think nothing you own is truly special enough to “spark joy.”  I’m really fighting the urge to scrap all but a few clothing items so I can start over.

The Surprises:

  • I was prepared to hate her method of folding and storing clothes.  I was oddly angry about it, but in the interest of embracing her method as best I could, I tried it and I love it.  I’m addicted to “filing” my clothes away now!
  • Keeping all of your belongings together actually makes a lot of sense.  I always kept our most-worn shoes by the back door for convenience sake, but keeping them in our respective rooms has made a huge impact on our mornings, and the feeling of the entrance of our house.  It’s slightly inconvenient to walk upstairs to put everyone’s shoes away when we get home, but there’s no longer clutter by the door, and the kids get 100% dressed before we go downstairs.  They’re weirdly more amenable to putting on their shoes when getting dressed for the day than they are when we’re on the way out in the mornings.  It more than makes up for the small effort of walking up the stairs in the evenings.
  • I didn’t feel as crazy talking to my clothes as I expected.
  • I’m way too wrapped up in this philosophy.  I’m not into self-help books, or spiritual guides, or working really hard on my house after work, but this book has gotten ahold of me and I feel kind of weird about it.  I can’t stop talking about it, and I think people are starting to suspect that I’ve joined a cult.

The Tips: 

  • Follow her methods, even if you think they’re dumb.  In the interest of doing it right, I’ve forced myself to stick closely with the program.  If something doesn’t work, you can always change it, but her methods have all worked better than I expected.
  • Watch YouTube videos.  I watched the video of her folding the perfect underwear drawer, and it was a huge help.
  • Actually read the book, don’t wing it.  You need to see the whole picture in order to do it correctly.  Read it from start to finish before you get to work.

As I mentioned, it’s a huge undertaking to organize an entire house, especially if you have a lot of junk, or kids, or a life, so this process is going to take a really long time.  So far I’ve done my clothes, and my kid’s clothes.  This is just a quick summation of my early thoughts.  So far I’m obsessed, but we’ll see how I feel in the end!  I’ll keep you posted, and I promise I’ll get some good pictures!


2 thoughts on “Drinking some Japanese Kool Aid

  1. Help! Kevin has joined the cult also. Our dumpster is brimming full two days after trash day and I’m making several runs to goodwill every week.

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