Updated: Sep 18
Find out if the KonMari Method is for you by reading my review of Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
What you can find in my post.
Is the KonMari Way for you?
Who is Marie Kondo?
The KonMari Method
Five categories of the KonMari Method
What I learned from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Tidy once and for all
Books by Marie Kondo
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Is the KonMari Way for You?
Ever look at your house and feel overwhelmed with how cluttered and disorganized things are? Ever spend hours cleaning only to have the house look like a wreck before the day is out? Ever want to just feel joy when you walk in the door? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, is for you.
I began reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up after I came across Tidy Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. I was intrigued about the KonMari Method that was shown on the TV series and wanted to learn more about it.
Who is Marie Kondo?
Marie Kondo grew up in Japan. She is the middle child of three. She claims that the tidying bug hit her at the tender age of five, when she began by reading home and lifestyle magazines. This was the beginning of a passion for organizing and tidying. Which evolved throughout the years to become the KonMari Method we know today.
Some may be skeptical about a five year old being obsessed with cleaning, but I can believe it. I have my own little organizer. My third child is constantly organizing and cleaning. His nightly prayers often are filled with wishes for a clean house. The other day I found him in his sister's bedroom cleaning up. Later I found her shoes all lined up in front of her door. We finally had to put her shoes in the top of her closet because he kept putting them back in front of her door, insisting that they belonged their. I can defiantly relate to what Marie's family went through with her many tidying adventures she shares.
Marie started her own tidying consultant business at the age of 19. She is now a world renown tidying expert. In 2011 her first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was published in Japan. It was later translated to German and then English. Marie's book has since shot to the top of the list to be nominated #1 New York Times bestselling book. In 2019 her method was made into a reality TV show, Tidying Up, found on Netflix. She has been featured in many magazines and TV shows from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, The Late Night Show, to the Elleen Show.
Marie has an infectious personality, on TV as well as in her book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book, even though I am not the biggest non-fiction fan. This book is a good mix of humor and introspection. It provides moments of reflection, excitement, chuckles, and even doubt. Most importantly it "Sparks Joy," which is the overall message of the book.
Find out more about Marie by visiting her website KonMari, and find out what other have to say about her.
The KonMari Method
While reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and watching Tidy Up, it was hard for me not to jump up and just begin cleaning my house. I was able to restrain myself a little bit. As a student, mother and wife, I just don't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to Marie's method. However, the more time I spent reading her book and watching her TV series the harder it was to contain myself.
I finally gave in and started tackling my clothes. I will go into that process a little later, though. I first I want to introduce you to Mari's method and the categories she recommends your tidy by.
"The KonMari Method is not a mere set of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to acquiring the right mind-set for creating order and becoming a tidy person."
Instead of cleaning by room or a little at a time, the KonMari method is a "tidying marathon." You tidy everything at once. Before you get scared off by that thought, take a step back and really think about it. If you’re like me, you spend hours cleaning your kitchen one day, and the next day you focus on the living room, but by the end of that day your kitchen is a mess again. If you can get the tidying done all in one go round, wouldn't that be better. It sounds pretty good to me, and I can't wait to try it out.
Marie suggests you tidy by category, and of course all at once. Remember it is a "tidying marathon" not a race, so take it one step at a time.
Five Categories of the KonMari Method
The two main tasks as you run your marathon are discarding and deciding where to keep things. Gather everything from that category into one place and then spend time handling each item. As you do this, ask yourself does this spark joy. If it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn't, get rid of it. According to Marie, you are not to put anything away or think about where to put things until you are finished discarding.
You may be wondering if step one has been working for me. I am happy to report that it has brought me joy. It all began when I was folding clothes and decided to fold my clothes in the KonMari way and see how it worked. (Yes, she has a specific way to fold clothes)
If I liked the results, then I would convince my husband and children to give it a try. Well, I was having so much fun folding my clothes, and liked how it was looking, that I couldn't help myself and moved onto my husband's clothes. When I was finished, I couldn't wait to show it to my husband. Unfortunately, he wasn't too happy that I reorganized his clothes without his permission. If I had first finished reading Marie's book, I would have avoided my husband's displeasure. She addresses this issue in her book. She suggests focusing on your stuff, and as you go along then your family usually catches the tidying bug and wants to join.
I also didn't follow her advice of waiting to put anything away until I was finished discarding. I didn’t go into my experiment with the right mindset. I just wanted to fold my clothes and not worry about discarding. Now I need to start all over and do it the right way to begin with.
What I Learned From Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Four positive insights I gained from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The art of organizing clothes so they are standing up instead of laying down. This way you can see all your clothes the moment you open your drawers. I love the way my drawers look, and that they are staying organized.
That tidying is fun. I now enjoy folding clothes. I abhorred it before. Clean clothes would pile up on my bedroom floor. It would get so bad that my kids would keep saying they didn’t have any clean clothes. Which they did, they where just on my floor because I hadn’t folded them yet, and it didn’t want to. I want to fold clothes now and even get excited about putting them in my dresser.
The KonMari Method teaches the value of gratitude. It teaches you to only bring things into your life that bring you joy, and to show appreciation for the things you have. By doing this, you take better care of your possessions, and you refrain from shopping sprees for things you really don’t need.
Marie recommends that there should be a specific place for every item, and that they shouldn’t be scattered throughout the house. I can’t tell you how many times I have told my husband that I wished everything in our house had a designated spot, so we could find what we need when we want it. Having a designated spot for everything also makes cleaning up easier because you know exactly where to put the items.
Two concerns I have with with the KonMari Method
Mari suggests you get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy. I feel that if I did that, I wouldn’t have anything left. There needs to be a middle ground with keeping things that are a necessity, not just because they spark joy. You could get rid of things that are out of fashion, no longer needed, or that you just plain out hate. She does mention this in her book and says that her clients who voiced this same concern found that they were able to keep plenty of things that sparked joy.
Marie’s method is not for the faint of heart. Expect to work long, hard hours to complete her course. It is not something that can be done in a weekend. It is a process that can take up to six months or longer. What makes it more manageable is that she divides her course into five steps and wants you to focus on one step at a time. If you can do this, then you can be successful.
Tidy Once and for All
According to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if you abide by the method set forth you only need to organize your space in one go round and you will never face clutter again. It will also have an "immeasurable impact" on the rest of your life.
"As you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don't, and what you should and shouldn’t do."
If you are intrigued about learning more about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, like I was, give it a chance. It is an easy and fast read that will have you organizing your house before you are finished reading it.
For more about the KonMari Method check out my review of the Netflix original TV show Tidy Up and my KonMari Method Reading with Purpose Challenge.
Books by Marie Kondo
If you like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up you may consider the companion book Spark Joy. It is an illustrated guide to her method that includes folding illustrations, drawings of organized closets and draws, advice on frequently asked question.
You can also get the books as a complete set.
Also available by Marie Kondo
Set the date for Marie Kondo's new book, Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life, to be released in April 7, 2020.