thoughts on the real life application of the life-changing magic of tidying up


My guess is you’ve read or have at least heard of the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” written by Marie Kondo.  It’s a New York Times best seller with over 3 million copies sold, and people have gone bananas for The KonMarie Method, Marie Kondo’s category-by-category system of organizing the home.

Thoughts of on the real life application of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I read it last year right around the time my family was in the process of moving.  And I immediately thought to myself, “This is perfect timing”!  What better time to read a book about purging all the stuff you don’t really love or need in your home.  Basically why box up and move things you really don’t care that much about.  So while we were in the process of packing I systematically went through every. single. item. in our home and discarded anything that as Kondo puts it “didn’t spark joy”.  So if you’re planning a move anytime soon, I’d highly recommend you read this book and then jump in to the joy of letting go of all the crap.  😉   You won’t regret it.  I let go of quite a bit of our holiday decor, oodles of my craft supplies and tons of the junk we had in our garage, in addition to a good thorough clothing purge.  We had a big moving sale and then made multiple trips to Goodwill to let go of the rest.  It was good.  It was liberating.  And even though I thought I was pretty good at organizing before reading this book, I did still find that I had hung on to lots of things for no real reason.  I had a ridiculous amount of candles, and I came to grips with my wrapping paper hoarding tendencies.  
So now that it’s been almost a year after reading the book and about 6 months since we’ve unpacked the things we did bring with us, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on this business of “life-changing magical tidying up”.  
First off, I’ve recommended this book to a number of my close friends.  But I always recommend it with a few caveats. 
1.  You have to get over the number of times the words “tidy” and “spark joy” come up in this book.  In fact, I think I even recommended to one friend to read while sipping a glass of wine and then take a sip every time she read those words.  Drinking games for adults.  😉   Some college habits never die.  Haha!  But seriously, don’t jump ship just because the repetition of those words starts to annoy you.  Because while “spark joy” is a catchphrase Kondo has coined, the main idea here is one that’s been around for quite some time.  William Morris, one of the most important figures of the 19th century, said, ” Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  But what Kondo does in this book goes a bit further as she lays out a roadmap as well as gives you permission to let go of the embroidered pillow cases Aunt Betty gave you for your birthday five years ago.  So drink your wine and read the book.  🙂 
2.   Keep in mind when Kondo wrote this she didn’t have children.  Kondo just recently became a mother.  Now I’m not saying that a women without children can’t offer great advice on tidying or organizing the home, but I am saying that until you become a mom you just can’t fully understand what’s it’s like to have the level of stuff cluttering up your home that comes with children.  It’s like how I thought I would never in a million years feed my children chicken nuggets before I actually had children to feed…….things change when children become a part of your home……and some of your high ideals go to the wayside…..and for good reason.  So when Kondo recommends storing shampoo and soap in a cabinet after every use instead of leaving them in the shower stall like a normal person go ahead moms, roll your eyes, because I know you’ll be thinking the same thing I was thinking…..ain’t nobody got time for that.  To be honest I can’t think of any woman with kids or without that would find merit in that advice or that would honestly think that doing that would be something other than an added chore in your already busy day.  But at any rate I just think it’s helpful to know before reading that this tidying expert is just now joining the motherhood because a few of the things she recommended made me want to give her the side eye as I couldn’t see them working too well in my home.  And while she covers decluttering categories from clothing, paperwork and  keepsakes, she never once makes any mention of toys.  
3.  Which leads me to her chapter on folding clothes in which she writes, “By neatly folding your clothes you can solve almost every problem related to storage.”  Now, it’s not that I don’t agree, I do.  In fact, I myself follow Kondo’s folding method, not perfectly, but close enough. 
KonMari Method
KonMari Method

But back to the motherhood issue, my kids are 9 and 11 and while their closets are quite neat and tidy (see the girl’s closet here and the boy’s closet here), their drawers start out looking great and then after a few weeks start to look a little crazy.  I wash and fold, and they put away.  And they do a great job, but after awhile things start to look……….disheveled.  I think because while neatly folding your clothes to where you can see them all at first glance is absolutely great, the key is in being committed to keeping your drawers looking that way.  And since my kids aren’t old enough to find the joy in organizing as much as I do their commitment to staying on top of keeping their drawers neat looking isn’t super high.  I guess I could pull a mommy dearest and empty the contents of their drawers when they start looking crazy…….but I’m pretty sure they’ve already amassed enough crazy here in our home to have plenty to talk to a therapist about later in life, so why add to the list.  😉  I just figure if they are putting things in the right drawers and not leaving piles of clothes on their beds than so long as I can’t see the mess it’s a mess I’m willing to live with.   I’d rather choose my tidying battles than attempt to conquer it all. 

And fyi, this isn’t just the kids’ commitment issue.  The hubs has had trouble committing to the KonMari method of folding as well.  #blesshisheart
At least his closet still looks neat.  
4.  My favorite part of the book was the chapter on Komono (miscellaneous items).  This is where Marie Kondo goes into not feeling guilty about letting go of things you’ve held on to out of obligation.  I wish I could add in the praise hands emoji right here because reading this was really great for me as I’ve been known to keep things solely because someone gave them to me even if I wasn’t crazy about the items.  And now, I have zero guilt about that whatsoever.  I’ve also long felt like having a ton of extra bedding stored in a linen closet was pointless, so reading the section on extra bedding was confirming for me.  As was the small paragraph she wrote about one of her clients that had 3 months of toilet paper stored in a closet.  That definitely gave me a chuckle as I myself have refused to join Sam’s Club or Costco for the mere fact that I don’t ever want that much of any one thing in my home. ever.  
5.  Lastly, Kondo talks a lot about purging, discarding and removing any and all items from your home that do not spark joy.  Then she delves in with a great roadmap providing instruction for effectively tackling each category of your home, but when I got to the end of the book I thought well, where are the strategies for keeping yourself from once again accumulating all the stuff?   I feel like it’s all fine and well to thoroughly purge and then store things in a neat and organized fashion, but without talking about curtailing our buying habits than won’t we just end up going through the same cycle over again?  I don’t know, I just felt like a chapter or two on that subject would have been really helpful.  Maybe it’s just as simple as stay away from the Target dollar spot.  😉   I don’t know, but I myself have started doing the wardrobe collection thing to keep my closet and drawers from going to crazy town.  And that has made a huge difference for me.  
All in all, I feel like every homeowner could benefit from reading this book.  Even if some of Marie Kondo’s language is a bit odd……like when she mentions in the section on folding clothes that when you run your hands over the cloth you pour your energy into it…….yeah, I was like okay lady, that’s a little voodoo-ish, don’t you think?  I also didn’t agree with her section on books.  I reread books all the time and the library we’ve collected is one that makes me proud.  I love books!  Though I don’t keep every single one, I didn’t agree that you should reduce your collection to just 30 volumes.  Just 30!  That just sounded crazy to me.  I think that’s a really personal thing that no one can put the right number on for you.  So, while there were some definite moments where I paused and thought to myself, “Really?”, all in all the message and the method is really sound advice.  You just have to curtail it to make the most sense for you.  
Have you read this book?   Are you following the KonMari method?  What about her new book,  Spark Joy, have any of you read it?  

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