5 Reasons I Disagree with the KonMari Method
I don't know about you, but I've been hearing about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo everywhere lately. I've been seeing posts all over blogs and social media about it, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.
If you're not familiar with the book at all, I definitely recommend reading it. Although I didn't agree with everything in it, I still learned a lot and was very inspired with it. (Next week, I'll be sharing what I learned from the book.) In a nutshell it's all about how to get your home organized once and for all. When she says “tidying,” it's really what I think of as “organizing.”
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Like I said, I really did like the book and thought it was very helpful, but there were a few things that just didn't quite click with me. I thought I'd share them with you here. The video below is a recording of a Periscope I did about this topic (follow me there at @iheartplanners). If you'd prefer to read rather than watch the video, I have the same information written below the video:
You'll never rebound (or go back to your old untidy ways)
The book claims: If you use this method of organizing, you will never ever “rebound” (or fall back into your old disorganized habits).
While I wish that were true, I have to disagree. While I do think there's definitely a lot to be said for the motivation that finally having your house completely in order (and getting in done in one fell swoop like she recommends), I DON'T think that alone will keep your house tidy from here on out. I think she overlooks the need to establish those small, daily habits that keep your house in order (like washing dishes right away, doing laundry from start to finish, etc).
Also, I'm living proof that getting your house completely in order once doesn't mean it will stay that way. Before my first baby was born 14 months ago, I was in major nesting mode. My house wasn't untidy or cluttered before I was pregnant with her, but I really went on a rampage against anything remotely resembling clutter before she arrived. About 3 weeks before she was born, I finally had every square inch of my home completely organized and tidy! I had tackled even those less obvious spaces like our unfinished basement laundry room / storage area. This lasted for exactly 3 weeks. I promise you, the house has not been in such a pristine state again since the day we arrived home from the hospital with her. I don't regret the organizing I did, but it didn't mean it stayed that way.
Thank your physical belongings
The book recommends: She personifies her physical belongings and recommends that you do the same. She literally thanks her socks for protecting her feet and wants to give them a chance to rest, and so on.
This is something that I can't get on board with. As a Christian, I've changed this up to thank God for blessing me with those things instead of thanking the things themselves. This works for me.
Empty your purse daily
The book recommends emptying your purse daily.
I definitely don't plan to do that. I want to be ready to go quickly instead of having to put things in my purse. I think it would be way too much trouble for no real benefit. I have a spot for my purse and keep it ready at all times. She didn't mention if she recommends unpacking diaper bags regularly, but I definitely don't do that. I leave my diaper bag packed and in the car at all times, which makes leaving so much more convenient.
Fold clothes vertically instead of hanging
The book says that folding clothes and placing them in drawers takes up less space than hanging them. She also recommends folding your clothes small and placing them front to back in the drawer like files.
At least for me, I don't think my clothes take up less space in a drawer. Also, I LOVE the neat, organized look of the folded clothes going front to back in a drawer. However, I've tried myself in the past and my clothes wouldn't stay standing, so it ended up being a pain. I might try it again at some point because I love the look.
Use “Sparking Joy” as the only criteria for deciding what to keep
She recommends touching every single item that you own and only keeping the things that spark joy.
I'm a huge fan of ruthlessly decluttering. I love using this criteria for most things, because it releases you from the guilt of getting rid of things. Plus you're deciding what to keep, not what to get rid of, and I think this will help you declutter more thoroughly.
That said, I do think that practical considerations do need enter the picture somewhere when I comes to decluttering and she doesn't cover these at all. For example, I'm needing to declutter some of my cleaning supplies, as I have some that I haven't used in a very long time. For this, though, I don't think the sparking joy criteria applies at all. For example, my toilet bowl brush definitely does not spark any joy for me, but I'm definitely not getting rid of it!
Next week, I'll be talking about what I liked about the book (and that list is even longer). Stay tuned, and consider reading the book for yourself.
Leave a comment below or in the Facebook group letting me know if you've read the book and your thoughts on it.
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Jessica [Havok] Says
This is why I won’t buy the darned book (and, at this point, I don’t think anyone has to, it’s talked about so much online, what more can the book actually hold?). I can bet you cash money that just because the house is “tidy” there is no reason why it will stay tidy. Sure, it’s fantastic to have a perfectly went through and organized home. But where does one pick up the ability and drive to keep it that way? Because you see it nice? Everyone’s house is nice at least once in their life, I’m sure – so why is not everyone’s house tidy! Same with emptying your purse. A purse holds things like any other container would. I understand clearing out receipts or things of that nature – that don’t belong in a purse – but to take everything out of it when you are home again? That just means I need to find somewhere to keep purse things – which, in turn, creates more mess! And so far as folding clothes versus hanging them…doesn’t every single organizing thing ever suggest using vertical space when possible? A closet is built in, the space is already there, you just have to use it. A dresser or set of drawers is extra space being taken up on your floors and things.
The whole thing has sounded silly the moment I first heard about it, and I’m glad I’m not alone in this!
I listened to the book & disagreed with most everything. This lady was born organized! Any system is only as good as it’s user.????
LauraJane SaysPost author
LOL – good point about any system being as good as its user!
LOL. Love the point about your toilet brush not sparking joy. And I am also not about to thank my socks or my underwear before using them. I might apologize to them though.
Rotflmao @ apologizing to your socks & underwear!
I have read and own Marie’s book. She does talk about daily habits towards the end of her book. In her wording, ‘tidying’ means major decluttering once, while her use of the word ‘cleaning’ means daily habits of keeping things clean and tidy.
When I read the book, I took the parts of the personifying objects as part of Marie’s Japanese background. Like you, I’m a Christian and didn’t take that part on board.
For me, storing clothes vertically was such a revelation! I love it! And seeing my clothes vertically stored (in boxes, not just on shelves) keeps me motivated to keep it that way.
I must admit I smiled at times reading Marie’s book, because she obviously wrote the book before she became a mum. I have 5 children and that certainly makes things more “interesting”/complicated.
Marie also says in her book that you need certain practicality for keeping items, especially in the kitchen.
I have only done my own wardrobe and my youngest son’s clothes so far… My other kids are teenagers or older and they can do their own. I thought for ages that my older kids wouldn’t get it. But just last weekend, my girls had a HUGE clean-out! I mean, in Marie’s words, they tidied up majorly!
Now for the rest of my house….
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, you do have to get used to the terminology of “tidying.” I love the look of vertically stored clothes. Maybe I should give it another try.
Hi. I’ve seen you’ve picked up the word “personifying” as our blogger uses. It should be personalizing. To personify means to embody some quality. Like Marilyn Monroe used to personify sex appeal in the fifties. To personalize means to make something personal to you. Many people do this with their cars, calling it “Brad,” for example. KonMari doesn’t ask you to name your clothes. She wants you to look, feel, see and realize they are yours alone; that they are personal to YOU. This is not a religious issue. Guitars have been personalized, too, by their owners. But she doesn’t go that far. It’s her way of telling you to be sure you personally value what you own. That way, you take better care of it. Nuff said.
To personify (personification) also means to give human or lifelike qualities to inanimate objects, so I think it is used here correctly.
Jeff Wells Says
I just read the book, and she DEFINITELY believes your clothes have feelings. There’s an entire chapter about how your clothes want to make you happy, and they don’t get mad at you when you don’t treat them well, they just get sad because they know they aren’t bringing you joy. This is justification for getting rid of things you don’t want/need, because if you give them away they can find a new owner to bring joy to, and if you destroy them that energy gets released and will come back to you in the form of another set of clothes or something else.
She seems to be pretty heavily influenced by Shintoism, in which there can be spirits in any object. Still, most of what she talks about seems completely reasonable even without the idea of objects literally loving you back. Walking into your house and seeing only objects that you actually like will almost certainly do wonders for your happiness, and while I’m skeptical of nobody ever rebounding, I can certainly see how it could inspire people who have always had issues to develop tidy habits (the key insight there seems, to me, to be organizing your space so that things are easy to put away, not necessarily easy to access).
It’s also only natural that if pare down your possessions to a reasonable amount, and if everything you own is something you love, that you will want to take good care of those items, and therefore they last a lot longer than items used to. Things like that. So it makes plenty of sense without the surprisingly heavy religious aspect she places on tidying.
I kind of agree. Life happens (especially when you have kids, or work or both) and while I do advocate regularly cleaning out my purse once a week is sufficient. Every so often I do the wardrobe thing – turn all your hangers around the “wrong” way. Then as you use something, turn your hanger around the “right” way. At the end of three months, technically you don’t need and/or want to wear the other stuff so it can go to charity or be swapped. Just don’t swap your ski jacket in summer, okay?
LauraJane SaysPost author
I’ve heard of the hanger thing, and it sounds like a good idea to me.
As soon as I heard about this book, I rushed out to buy it. As a person who trends towards “majorly cluttered”, it sounded like heaven. I read the book quickly – and there was some good in it, especially the “sparking joy” part. But then I disagreed with the concept of only having to tidy once…life is a series of little routines, all combined make for a reasonably clean and tidy home. This is why I like FlyLady so much. I did like the part about storing things where they are used – for example, I do a lot of my crafting on my bed (strange, I know), so I bought one of those plastic rolling carts with drawers to keep by my bedside for my supplies (or at least the most frequently used ones!) – easy to put away, nice to have at hand. That part of the book really resonated with me. Also, clothing decluttering – I have always struggled with this – as a teacher on a very tight budget, and also as someone who is trying to lose weight – I have trouble with getting rid of very nice clothing I like that are (currently, but hopefully not for long!) too small. That seems wasteful, and like I’m abandoning hope of reaching my goal weight.
This book did motivate me to do more – I tend to hold on a lot of stuff, and then when it gets overwhelming, I get analysis paralysis (which is a problem with ADHD folks like myself). After reading this book, I did tackle some parts of my apartment which desperately needed attention. But I’m living proof that “one and done” doesn’t work for everyone…those areas are already untidy again.
I think tidying/organizing is a process and there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. You have to find (with help, whether books, a relative, pinterest or other websites, or all) what works for you, and then once you do, you have to work like crazy to maintain it – both with time management, motivation, and checklists (at least that’s what I do)…in my experience, if you try to do it all at once, you just crash and burn when you’re done…and the mess creeps back in.
I know a lot of people just love this book, and I liked it, too…if I could swap brains with someone, I might even try it the “Kondori Way”. But ultimately, it isn’t for me. But for those who love it – I say, go for it!
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, I also have a hard with the tidy once concept. It sounds like you’re using the parts that work for you.
This really resonates with me (ADD too) I know how you feel, especially the “analysis paralysis” part. I’ve just read the first 4 chapters. It’s got a lot of good insights, but it sounds too good to be true. It might work if: 1. Life wasn’t full of different seasons (singledom, dating/courtship, newlywed, young motherhood, mother of school-age kids, mother of teens, empty-nesters, etc to mention a few!)
2. You ultimately had plenty of money to replace some of the things you got rid of in your supplies/wardrobe with more relevant/useful things. Maybe she was always quite affluent? I have a lot of trouble “trashing” stuff because so many things can be recycled and used as craft materials. We are in a co-op preschools for my son, and I see possibilities in EVERYTHING! But, again…the analysis paralysis) And I definitely agree with that mother of 5 about Kondo not yet being a mom when she wrote this.
Also, I am a Christian, that is I try to follow Jesus’ instructions and example as best I can (but fail daily and need forgiveness and grace every minute :-D) and I think we can translate the positivity of the “thanking objects” to thanking God for providing for our needs. The Japanese culture does have a beautiful respect for balance and rest, and pausing and thoughtfulness, I think this “thanking objects” helps you pause. Remembering to be thankful for everything you use is awesome. (We just know who is the Giver to really thank, and not idolize the gift) In the same light, we should not be too attached to our things (moth and rust Matthew 6:19-20)
Anyway. I enjoyed your article and Kelly’s comment, a lot. Now I just need to find a good way to sort all my son’s Legos!
One of the silent message I got after reading her book and practicing her method is the question of what is a clutter and how did it get cluttered. We feel cluttered when the space we are in (either at home or at work) is inundated with stuff. Other than the time factor (mainly, the lack of time) when the children arrive is a that your living space is being shared by more people. The inundation becomes more intense. That is why decluttering (therefore the space becoming tidy) starts by removing stuff from your space as suggested by Marie Kondo. So, I’ve become very conscious of my acquisition process. I use the word acquisition and not purchases because some of the stuff we acquire are free – how many free pens do you have at home? If you ensure a place for every object you bring home will be place in a location that does not increase your clutter, you will have a chance to maintain tidiness. Otherwise, no method can really help you if you are a pack rat. The next message is forming tidying habits. A place for everything and everything in its place. Having a tidy space motivates one to keep it tidy!
I bought this book yesterday. I had seen similar reviews such as yours. While I agree that thanking objects might not be what I would do either and will be instead thanking God, the rest of the book makes perfect sense to me. Maybe I just “get it” or something. Not meaning that in a nasty way but a lot of the people giving similar reviews claim to make a living in “organizing”. Nothing wrong with that but I really like the book!
LauraJane SaysPost author
So glad you liked it and got a lot from it.
I agree with you Shana….I happen to love the book and despite my initial dpubts, I can say in all honesty that is has changed my life. I’ve struggled for all of years to keep an organized space, and though Marie Kondo uses methods that initially seemed odd (empty your purse, for example) I was quickly reminded by my logical self, that if I knew all the answers…and if the way I do things was working, I wouldn’t be reading books on solving clutter, etc. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So trying her technique and having measurable success has been so freeing. And, as a Christian, thanking items, in my opinion, is not heresy. It’s gratitude. Expressed with mindfulness toward each and every possession
This is the first I’m hearing of this book but I wonder if this woman has a husband or kids. Now I am probably the most unorganized and forgetful human being on the planet. My bookshelf alone is enough to make you cringe but there is one area I keep absolutely and immaculately organized and that is my fridge. However, no matter how many times I organize it, the next time I open it, items are not in the right places because my daughter or husband has been in it. To even try to keep my entire house tidy and organized is just a laughable idea.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Having other family members definitely adds another element to keeping the house tidy. (I don’t think the author of the book has kids – she didn’t talk about that in the book.)
Meredith Culberson Says
She does have a husband and a baby! Not when the first book was written though.
I have not read the book yet cannot afford to buy it at this time but I would like to read it one of these days so I can form my own option on it.
Save you money… Evidently you can listen to it on youtube. It REALLY is that weird… There are many, many better options available. I REALLY like “Sidetracked Home Executives” from the 1970’s… It’s available used. Hilariously funny! I understand this is where Flylady came up with her system. There is a newer version by the same folks ten years later “Get Your Act Together”–another enjoyable read available used…
LauraJane SaysPost author
I’ve heard of Sidetracked Home Executives, but haven’t read it yet. I’ll add it to my list.
I disagree. It’s not “really” that weird at all. My sister is a Member of NAPO and has been a professional organizer for decades and she put me onto this. She said “It will change your life” and she’s right. It’s got a lot of missing pieces that the other systems don’t. I’ve done SHE and FlyLady and of course Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E., but this one works for me. Putting my hands on every piece of clothing I own got boxes cleared from my attic, the clothes I love being used and the ones I felt guilty about being donated or chucked as needed. I don’t think anyone should say “don’t bother” because there’s “something better”–just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it has no value. This may be exactly the right thing for someone else.
LauraJane SaysPost author
So glad it’s working so well for you!
LauraJane SaysPost author
You might be able to get it at the library. Also I think people can lend to you from Kindle as well.
Brigitte - Clutter T.O.S.S. Says
Yes the libraries have this book. That is where I got my copy last fall when it was released. There are pros and cons of the book but overall I was not impressed with it.
I see this is an old post but if you have a library card you don’t have to but it. Check it out online on overdrive! Saved me tons of money, regret, and CLUTTER lol.
You can choose a online version to read or audio book. It’s free.
I definitely agree with the hanger method of purging! I also use an app called stylicious to organize my closet. I take photos of my clothes (I have a sewing mannequin which makes this easier) and upload them to the app, where I can organize them by season or whatever, and create looks. There’s even a calendar, where you can assign looks to different days. It helps keep track of what I wear and how often, so I can purge what I’m not using. Plus I got rid of, like 90% of my wardrobe, which was hard because I LOVE fashion. Also, most of my stuff fits in the closet now, so I traded my big dresser for a lingerie chest, which takes up less room!
Another thing I’ve found helpful is a site called (clutch your pearls and hide your children, ladies) unf%& your habitat (censored for your reading pleasure). It’s really motivating and totally breaks down what you need to do to keep the house clean. They are NOT in favor of doing everything at once, which speaks to me because I’m way too ADD to do anything I don’t enjoy for more than 10 minutes. At least not at home where the TV is. Plus, the daily/weeky/monthly chore lists sync seamlessly with the planners here! 😉
Just a random passerby who wanted to say THANK YOU for both suggestions! I agreed with this article that there was a lot of KonMari that was not for me and I’ve been looking for a better guide. That website sounds fantastic, as does the clothing app! In fact the clothing app sounds like something I’ve been looking for/needing my whole life! Checking that out right away. Thank you!!!
My Review copied from Facebook:
Horrible! I talked to all my stuff and it NEVER responded just once! I felt so ignored… I even stuffed my daily carry bag with a soft warm blankie all weekend and my bag didn’t say thank you or acknowledge my kindness in any way… and now my soft warm blankie is ignoring me–I think it’s mad because I stuffed it in my bag all weekend. And the basket whines every time I take the stuff out of my purse to give my purse a rrst! Horrible just horrible!
And the floor doesn’t want me to walk on it barefoot, but my shoes want a break and my lazyboy says I’m too heavy! AND NOW I HAVE TO PEE! *whispers* but I’m afraid of what the toilet might say or do!
AND THE DUST BUNNIES ARE CALLING ME A MURDERER! I think they are starting a revolt with the newly homeless spiders because of the cobweb thing!
When asked if I read the book:
“Yeah, I did… actually not the entire thing… It was too weird… Talking to lifeless objects and all… I say “Why thank creation when you can thank the Creator, Provider, and Sustainer of all created things and life?” Seemed downright silly hence my silly review. Hehehe!”
I agree with you, why buy the book when one step of letting go of things includes getting rid of books! Hubby and I are big book lovers – so what if we won’t read a certain book again, if we have a spot for it then I say keep it!
I got a sample of the book via my Kindle and don’t think I even finished it. I think I gave up when I read about thanking your socks. I am thankful that I have money to buy the socks 🙂
As for folding clothes instead of of hanging, I believe, where the author is from, they lack closet space. If I had a larger closet, more of my clothes would be hung up. I did however fold hubby’s t-shirts in thirds and put them in the drawer that way and was able to get more in – I know the idea was to get rid of some but when he goes through at least two t-shirts a day during the summer (more if he comes home and does yard work in the heat and humidity), not going to happen (and he really likes it this way). He gets a new shirt every 8 weeks when he donates blood, so yes, there are lots!
I don’t need to clean out my purse every night, it just has keys, wallet, and when out and about, my phone. Even when I did carry a larger purse, where I am suppose to put all the stuff? Certainly not sitting on my counter all night – junky!
I don’t work and no, my house isn’t always tidy (and guess what, I don’t care).
LauraJane SaysPost author
I definitely thinking folding vs hanging does depend a lot on what kind of closet space and drawer space you have.
I’m so glad to finally hear that someone else isn’t totally singing the praises of this book! I agree – she makes some good points, and if this book helps people get their lives in order than that is great. I think that whatever system works for you, and that you can maintain, is the best system to go by. I also thought that it was somewhat ironic that this book had what I consider to be a lot of “verbal clutter”. She was somewhat repetitive,and I found myself wondering why this book has so many people totally mesmerized. However, I have taken the parts that work for me (I now look at some of the items I have saved for years and feel ready to let them go), and I am not following the parts that I find ridiculous (rolling my socks may not be good for the elastic, but it does not make them feel bad!). Looking forward to your next post.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, I’m all about whatever system works for you. I agree, I’m pretty sure I can’t hurt my socks’ feelings!
I haven’t read the book–although I’ve seen a few comments on it. I have to agree with you that I have interest in thanking or blessing the items I own. I thank the Lord for His generosity in providing for me and believe as you do. I’m currently involved in major decluttering as I pack up to move–probably for the last time. I must reduce my possessions by approximately 2/3 because my new space is only 950 sq. ft. I welcome the “new start” and sincerely hope I can accomplish a “permanently tidy space,” but fear without establishing daily tidy habits, I may be doomed to repeat my past. Looking forward to hearing more of your take on this book, because I don’t intend to buy it.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Sounds like we think alike. Sounds like your very busy decluttering! I hope you do accomplish your permanently tidy space. I do think the daily habits are key.
I’m mixed on the ones you disagree with, personally….
1: of course, no arguments here. No system alone can guarantee you won’t rebound.
2: To each his or her own… I’m not personifing every single tool or appliance I have, but maybe it’s more on the idea of showing gratitude that it’s even available to you to use, and acknowledging that it *is* there for you to use…. again, to each their own, but it sounds like an open mind without critical judgment is needed for that advice.
3: as a guy, particularly one that has a bit of a hoarding streak, the premise of emptying your “bag of stuff” daily appeals to me, personally. Instead of letting things build up in your purse or bookbag (or pockets….), just empty them out and address whatever recently added to it on the same day. Easier said than done for my way of doing things, but still.
4.I think it depends on the house structure/closet space/drawer space for each person. Plus, if you have alot of throwaway/cheap, non special shirts and pants you’d benefit more from doing this. I’m not an expert on clothes, let alone organization, but it was helpful to fold less important t-shirts when I had limited space in a college dorm room… even if I did suck magnificently at folding them.
5: hopefully she didn’t mean LITERALLY every single item, (that would never work for me since my criteria for every single individual item is just… much too convoluted to bother.) But even if she did not, I still get what you mean. Prudence over passion for me; Some things serve a practical purpose to be there whether I enjoy them or not. I use the former on purpose because not everything I own should invoke passion, some are just necessities for survival. (I don’t find joy in knowing my identity boils down to a social security number and if I graduated hs/college/etc or not, but I’m keeping all those required papers just like everyone else because of the importance society places on them… I’m getting overly philosophical about it, but hopefully u get my point slightly).
There are alot of items (and even contacts/people) I do hold onto long past their usefulness or relevancy though, partly because of the above reason (I believe there is some practical use to still get out of keeping it, or them, around, from memories of a period of time that’s long passed… and honestly, is unlikely to ever present itself as an actual opportunity again. Frenimies and changing opinions. Or outdated items, goals, ideas, tech, etc.)
Just flushing out my thoughts of what she meant and how we can apply it to our own perspectives about stuff.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love hearing what others think.
I wasn’t aware she does indeed mean literally and her fan base are on that same wavelength… but still, it’s just a perspective to ponder to me… I’d just translate it all to overly optimistic thinking about adopting her routine, practicing gratitude for the things you overlook and take for granted, resetting yourself daily/not carrying it all from day to day with you, folded clothes look pretty, and don’t hold onto things that just never seem to bring about progress or thoughts/feels of moving forward in your life… in a nutshell.
Also, I totally get you’re just stating the flaws just to talk about them, but I just wanted to flush out/simplify the lesson behind the concepts for myself by posting at this point lol. I have horrible habits that 2, 3 and 5 remind me to try looking at in a different way sometimes. It’s actually refreshing to contemplate it like that 😛
I checked this book out from the library and while I thought it had some good ideas I really don’t get all the hype. The sparking joy and talking to your socks was way too much for me to take it seriously. I joined a couple of FB groups to try to understand it a little more and they all seemed very cult like. I recommend reading it for yourself but take everything with a grain of salt and try not to jump into all of the hype.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Always a good idea to take books with a grain of salt.
Patti B Says
I read the book, but in the true spirit of not adding more clutter to my house, I borrowed it from the library! When I finished it, back to the library it went. I agree that some of her ideas are pretty far out there, but the main point I got out of it was to surround yourself with the things that you love. I also got rid of clothes that I never wear (and never will wear) because I don’t feel my best when I wear them.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, I definitely thing it’s great to surround yourself with things you love!
We have 7 children. I would fold everyone’s clothes, and when the kids needed to get dressed instead of just taking out 1 shirt they would pull out 1 at a time and throw them on the floor because they couldn’t find the shirt they wanted to wear. So eventually I started hanging everyone’s shirts up, and since then we haven’t had problems with clean shirts ending up in the floor. Saved me tons of time because their clean and dirty clothes were mixed together and I’d end up re washing clean clothes which was frustrating. But since hanging up all the shirts we haven’t had that problem.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Sounds like hanging the shirts is working well for you.
Sarah Mueller Says
I agree with all your disagreements! The part about thanking your socks was so funny I read it out loud to my kids 🙂 But I did enjoy reading the book. Her criteria of sparking joy as the litmus test for what to keep and what to get rid of really makes it simple.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I do also love the sparking joy criteria.
There’s a huge problem with the “sparking joy” criteria for clothes.
I am very tall and thin, and not wealthy. Finding clothes I love that also fit me, off the rack, is nearly impossible. Probably 70% of my clothes are utilitarian in nature. I wear them regularly, but they do not spark joy.
They fit, they look OK, and they do the job. That’s my criteria for the clothes I keep.
I haven’t finished the video yet, and for the most part (like you) I agree with Marie K’s methods. But as far as emptying your purse daily. What happens when your baby
(my computer glitched) What happens when your baby gets hurt and you have to rush out to the emergency clinic or ER with her and OOPS! You have absolutely NOTHING you need in your purse because you followed KM advice to empty it daily.
Marie K must not be a mom.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I’m definitely a fan of having everything ready to go. I also do think it’s wise to change some things when you have kids vs. before you had kids.
Meredith Culberson Says
I love the emptying the purse suggestion. I take everything out, throw away any garbage, or put away things I don’t need in there. Then, I put it all the necessities back in neatly and ready to go.
I don’t recall the book saying to unpack the purse and leave it that way.
I am so glad I read this and listened to your video before buying this book! I have heard so much about it and was thinking about reading it but after you explained more about the book it doesn’t sound like these methods will work for me. I have ADD so I am very unorganized and her methods will just not work for me.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I still did like the book, but, you’re right, it’s probably not the ideal method for everyone.
I have found “ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life”
by Judith Kolberg, Kathleen G. Nadeau
packed with great ideas and very practical!
I realize this is a super old post, but, for those who may see this and benefit from it, I liked Marie’s book and also recommend Organizing Solutions for People With ADHD by Susan Pinsky. It’s wonderful!! It’s chock full of pictures and broken down by area of the house, so, after you read the first section on organizing in general, you can easily flip to the sections you urgently need to address. If I remember correctly, her methodology is pretty simple: get rid of things you don’t need and/or love, reduce the number of steps it takes to put something away, and sacrificing aesthetic for efficient will be more pleasing in the long run. I highly recommend it!!
I have been hearing so much about this too. Funny, I tried the t-shirt sideways storage thing too but I prefer to roll them and stack them. I think I would like to read the book now. Thanks for your perspective Laura!
I bought the book. I started the book. I stopped around the point where she said you should thank your socks. Mostly because I found the entire idea of thanking my socks to be completely nuts. I do like the idea of thanking God, though (which, when I think about it, I realize could be just as crazy to some people…)
As for emptying your purse, I’m assuming she doesn’t mean take everything you need out? I can understand daily going through your purse and emptying out receipts and random stuff that gets thrown in there. The other day I picked up a candy bar at the store and tossed it in my purse because the rest of the groceries weren’t going to my home. I totally forgot about them and 3 days later I found them squished in my purse (fortunately not outside of the package making a mess!) If I had taken the advice of going through it daily, they would have been nicely tucked in the freezer for my next chocolate fix instead.
I agree that it’s impossible to keep things organized (at least for me!) I think that was part of why I stopped too. I know things fall apart. Part of that is my habits and part of that is life/family/etc. I did a full clean/organization at the end of August and there are certain parts of my house that are still in order and some parts are crazy again. It’s a never-ending cycle for me, but as long as I know and I’m willing to keep up with the cycle, why worry about it?
Wow. Nope. I just read her advice (I own the book) She recommends removing everything everyday. Wallet, bus pass, EVERYTHING. Because it is “cruel not to give your bag a break while it is at home”
Some of her advice is great, but emptying my purse daily to avoid being cruel to it is a bit eccentric and over the top.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, some of her advice is great, and some isn’t my thing.
It depends. Are you only going to use one purse? Then don’t empty it. But I like the idea that you are able to use any purse you want, because you haven’t become tied down to one purse.
I have not read the book, I subscribe to a different idea of cleaning that sounds similar to what you describe. However, she does not have you personify objects.
She does say that if you follow her program that you house will not necessarily be “spotless” but it will be clean and as time goes by it will be easier to do (because it is a habit) and that at some times your house will not be as clean as it was last week but it will still be tidy, just not as cluttered. Have you ever heard of the “Fly Lady?” If you have you know what I am talking about, if not you really should look her up. She has a website along with various cleaning items, she has printables for you use as an aide in becoming more organized and she has a blog that you can ask her questions or make suggestions. To a degree she makes cleaning your home a game. She does have her own terms that she uses but they are easy to get use to.
I agree as does Fly Lady, life happens, don’t let it send you for a loop just pick up where you left off and it will get taken care of. I have encouraged my family to participate but I do not force it. The only enforcement I implement is everyone has to commit to 20-30 minutes each Saturday to help maintain our common living space; each of us has a different pre-determined area to maintain and we rotate each month so that no one gets stuck with the bathroom til the end of time.
I have her theories integrated into my planner along with the weekly task on my refrigerator at home for the family. The system is by no means perfect, but it works for me. And, I don’t feel strange being asked to subscribe to a method I don’t agree with.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I have heard of FlyLady, and I like a lot of things about her system. I love that she encourages forming good habits.
I’ve read and really enjoyed the book. I am not a natural tidier and organizer. And although with a 16 month old in the house tidying everything in a short space of time isn’t going to happen right now. But the things I have tidied to perfection are staying that way for me.
My major issue with the book is that all the clients she describes working seem to be single working women like herself. They live in one room of larger house or small one room apartments (Tokyo isn’t big on space). If I’ve learned one thing since being a mum it’s that babies outgrow stuff super fast and so there’s a pretty constant need to keep reorganizing and decluttering.
I personally found her method for organizing clothes in drawers helpful and it’s working really well for my family.
As for thanking things that does come from Japanese Shintoism but I think it reflects respect for all things. But I guess that when there’s a lot of clutter it’s easy to get frustrated with the things cluttering the tables and the floor. I’m not about to thank things either but our relationship to our stuff does play a bit part on our mood, and maybe that’s part of the point?
Anyway, thanks for the review. Once I have my blog up running properly I plan to review this book too.
Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book.
Everyone keeps bagging on her for telling you to thank your inanimate objects. While I probably won’t thank my socks every time I put them on, I want to say that I think it’s a really good inspiring idea.
I think what she’s really trying to get at is not actually personifying your clothing, but rather that you should pay attention to it. We should be more mindful of our things, grateful for how we benefit from having them and their use.
And I don’t think thanking God for them every time quite covers that either. It might for some, but I think for others it puts the focus on God. Which, I mean, that’s a good thing too. We should definitely focus on God, not denying or disagreeing with that at all but… I just think we should all be more mindful of our surroundings and more humble.
That’s what it makes me think of when I hear the idea of thanking your socks: gratitude, mindfulness, and humbleness.
Holly Truitt Says
Thank you for this!! I bought the book and going to read it soon. Now I am already creeped out by the talking to your stuff. That will send me to the loony bin. I have heard of the standing up the clothes. I am having a hard time with that concept I watched the video on youtube on how to do it. Personally I only have 3 drawers in my closet and the rest are rods. one side has two –one on top and one on bottom the other side has one rod. I am considering adding another rod under that. So for me standing my clothes up would be counter-productive. Doesn’t it take a lot long to fold your shirts to stand them up than grabbing hangers to hang them up??
LauraJane SaysPost author
Yes, I think hanging vs folding shirts has a lot to do with how much closet/drawer space you personally have. I haven’t found the vertical folding method to work too well for me.
Love the site and your great ideas.
Thought I’d share my thoughts on your post. Let me preface this by saying I have not read the book and have no intention of doing so. DH and I are full-time RVers, so we’ve already decluttered and there’s only so much stuff you can move into a 40′ RV!
I won’t personify, or give my belongings an identity (whatever you’d like to call it), because I believe that once you do that, it’s more difficult to purge, whether that’s through donation or simply throwing items away. It could be the same thought farmers have in not naming the livestock – you don’t want to be hugging something one day and slaughtering it the next. (On that same topic, keep in mind that only 1% of Japanese are Christian. I am not a Christian, so, to me, the idea of thanking a foreign entity is just as odd as thanking my belongings.)
Years ago, I discovered Sidetracked Home Executives and they (the sisters) really changed the way I cleaned and organized. It was so simple that I was able to maintain the lifestyle while raising two boys as a single mom (bumps along the way, but I always went back to it). Fly Lady was inspired by SHEs and she thanks them in her first book (if I remember correctly).
Thanks for the review!
LauraJane SaysPost author
I’d say if you’re full time RVers, you probably have already pared down to only what you really need. I’ve heard of the SHE book, and I definitely want too look into it.
Kathleen Baumfalk Says
Thanks for sharing your ideas. I agree with the points your brought out about a toilet brush sparking joy, really…..need to have one. also talking to items or thanking them was hard to grasp.
I just found the Side-Tracked Ladies this year. They have a followup book called “Getting Your Act Together”… BOTH are HILARIOUSLY FUNNY! Last month I purchased Pam’s “The Joy of Being Disorganized” book in Kindle version, but have not read it yet…
The index cards was an instant win with me because I use the Task Order Up System for my work and have found it perfect! (Perfect while I am at my desk, but since that’s only a couple times a week–well…) Anyway. I use the cards with my timer to stay on task and keep me focused for the routine.
I agree with most of these, although you can interpret “bringing joy” in a different way when it comes to some things. A set of tools is bringing you joy when you can fix stuff by using them, not because of their aesthetic value. Living in a clean house probably brings you joy, so the tools you use to get the clean house bring you joy indirectly.
As a (Christian) mom who’s lived through a season of radically transforming my life, I will say this:
If you believe it won’t work, it won’t. If you believe a practice to be futile, it will be. If you believe a folding method won’t work for you, it won’t. If you believe you’ll relapse, you will. We create our own realities.
I think that like any other life changing method of anything out there, it will work for some, but the vast majority of those it doesn’t work for have a percent of their brain set against it anyways. You have to be all in, or else….no, nothing that is meant to transform your life will work.
There are some little nit picky things here or there that I know didn’t apply to my life, but overall the Konmari method really really opened my eyes to our attachments to things. I found it profoundly helpful.
I read her book and think she has some good ideas — like her method of folding clothes. However, I don’t have the time or the desire to talk to my socks and I don’t, for one minute, believe that once organized always organized. That is ridiculous. Now I do believe in some of the minimalist ideas of owning less — I mean, you own less it isn’t as hard to organize and I think that is a better way to look at things — not how you fold them necessarily.
Yeah, that’s my method of folding clothes that I adopted from a YouTube video. There are probably hundreds of that method many going back several years. That is a genius way to fit more in less space. When I converted my dressers each one had an empty drawer because of more efficient use of space. Eventually, I purged a bit and ended up with my chest of drawers completely empty and use that space for other non clothes storage.
Have you actually read the book?
Many of my friends said the same things as you, buy they’ve only read reviews or scanned it at the bookstore.
I agree that emptying the purse daily it a bit much, but she did mentioned in the book that it isn’t for everyone, it just works for her. If you’ve read the book, you’d also know “spark joy” isn’t the only criteria.
The book is about the philosophy of surrounding yourself with only things that are useful and beautiful. How you go about doing it is your own thing.
I’d suggest looking up videos of her helping clients on YouTube. They’re in Japanese but you’d get what’s going on. It’s really no different from any organizing shows.
The biggest difference is that you organize by category rather than rooms. I find it very helpful. It prevents some clutter migrating from one room to another never getting purged.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I did read the whole book. It was worth the read. So glad you found it helpful.
To my regret, I own both the audio and physical book. I was so excited because of the reviews and I really liked it in the beginning, so I bought the physical book so I could do high lighting and dog-earing. It got weirder and weirder the furth
er I went along that I in the end couldn’t finish it. I made it further than I actually found beneficial first because I was overlooking things and thought it was just a rough spot or two and it would get better, and secondly, because it was like watching Jerry Springer…. You don’t wanna watch, but you can’t believe “the pimp is mad at the prostitute because she’s given the ‘goods’ away to her boyfriend for free” (Yes, it was really on Springer. I know because I saw it myself. )
Perhaps if you had to wash your toilet bowl by hand then your toilet bowl scrubber would spark some joy 😉
LauraJane SaysPost author
Hmm, I haven’t read the book but by affiliate posts I have come across the folding methods and I love them. They save on space so much and my daughter has an easier time picking her own clothes. I don’t follow the folding method too strictly and I let my daughter ‘fold’ her own clothes too and yes it gets messy at some point but not like before getting that method. The other aspects you have highlighted are making me eager to read the whole book. You should try the folding method and don’t be too worried about making the clothes stand just enjoy yourself and personify the method to suite you. Can’t wait to see your results 🙂 I’ll post mine if you post yours :):)
I thought the book was somewhat helpful but I don’t understand all of the hype and excitement. I agree with your points.
I also found it a bit odd to be thanking “things” and giving my purse a “rest” after working for me all day. Seriously! As I read the book, I thought, “This lady has no kids, no husband, and waaaaay to much time on her hands!” I’ll use a few of her ideas, like the folding system. It has provided me with so much more from already!
She does in fact have a husband and an infant.
I posted something similar on Facebook. Haven’t read the book, but don’t feel the need to since it has been talked about so much on social media. It is really very simple: get rid of crap you don’t need, put your crap away, and stop buying new crap. Bottom line is we all have too much stuff. Jettison the extra stuff, find a place for the stuff you want to/need to keep, develop the discipline to always put your stuff away, and stop buying so much stuff!
Ok, ok… it’s a wee bit more complicated than that. But honestly, that’s what all these organizational “systems” boil down to. If you don’t have a lot of stuff, it is easy to keep the house tidy. Sorry, I’m not talking to my possessions and they better not talk to me. My toilet bowl brush does not spark any joy for me either. That’s just weird.
However, I must hand it to this girl. She hit a nerve with the public. She’s laughing all the way to the bank.
Of course your toilet brush wont spark joy, but doesnt a clean toilet? Another lady complained that her carrot peeler didn’t spark joy but didn’t think beyond having unpeeled veggies. ????
I really love your blog! :0)
And I agree with you about KonMari Method.
Congrats from sunny Brazil!
Half way through the book I thought she was a bit of a whack job but by the end something clicked. I think the point of thanking your items is so you have respect for them. Everything has a purpose. Even the toilet bowl cleaner. It’s more of a philosophy.
I also don’t think I will empty my purse daily but again I think the point is that you should put everything back right away in its spot . If you start slacking on that then everything else will start to fall behind as well.
As for rebounding, i think if you continue to adapt a complete Konmari philosophy then you won’t rebound. But for most of us, it would be hard to keep that mindset. And your family has to have 100% buy in.
I saw the author recently on TV. She was helping someone in the baby’s room. She doesn’t speak English, but evidently she is multilingual with houses because she literally talked to the house and stroked it’s floor… My family would have me fitted for one of those REALLY long-sleeved white jackets that you put on backwards if I began stroking and talking to my floor–OR AT LEAST I HOPE SO! LOL
haha! Yes, I totally believe she actually thanks her purse everyday 🙂 I should have added that I will NOT be talking to my stuff 🙂 But I’m going to try treating it with more respect. Just no conversations with my sweaters….
I did read the book, and found it a method I just can’t grasp on to. I do find it interesting that given all the concepts in the book, the thanking of the socks and emptying the purse are the most foreign to us. Easterners in general have far fewer clothes, shoes, accessories and possessions than westerners due to many reasons including Shinto/Buddhism but also space, mores and beliefs about success and happiness. I think these and other factors come out in her writing. Incidentally, my son taught me an excellent method learned from his Japanese teacher whereby shirts are thinner, less wrinkled, and take up much less space. You tube has many instructional videos, this one is particularly descriptive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAxhr0j0thY Also, Raoul Pop has a series called the Elegant Gentleman showing many wardrobe tips and he is just a doll. Love your blog!
Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who recognizes the flaws with the Konmari method. Biggest flaw for me is the fact that most items that I own don’t bring me joy and yet I keep them because its FUNCTIONAL.
Wow, people really seem to be all twisted up over the fact that this here crazy lady talks to her socks. I don’t see why it is such a big deal. Part of why we struggle so with decluttering is because we have irrational, emotional attachments to things. I suspect that “thanking” your items for what “they” have done for you is just a way releasing those attachments and letting go of the guilt or whatever negative emotion is holding you back from letting go of the item (usually guilt). It doesn’t mean you expect your things to talk back to you or that the next step is abandoning God for devil worship. People talk to their dogs all the time and really, your dog probably only understand about 1% of what you say. We’re all secretly a little crazy. A bit of whimsy isn’t going to kill you!
I’m late to this party but I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents anyway. The reason she personifies her things is because she’s Shinto. Being a shrine maiden is like being a deacon at church. This is a very deep belief system for her. You can still disagree with it but that’s where it comes from. I translated that into feeling gratitude for my clothes as fun and/or practical things.
I like the idea of an item sparking joy. If it doesn’t spark joy, make your life easier, or serve a practical purpose on a consistent basis, it goes. For some people, their winter gear doesn’t ‘spark joy’ but the snow shovel, wiper fluid, and wool hat make life a lot easier.
I’ve also read the first book and just purchased her new book. Seems that most people are hung up on “Thanking” your items for their daily use, and even more, the “Spark Joy” idea seems silly to a lot of people. Thoughts that your toilet brush and other type items, don’t “spark joy”, so why would you keep them (clearly they are functional) the answer seemed simple to me. Of course my toilet brush doesn’t literally “spark joy”, but a clean toilet sure does! And since I cannot have a clean toilet without the toilet brush, you bet that handy tool, that keeps my hands out of bowl, sparks joy ! The place you call home and the people around you, should spark the most joy! if not, it might be time to do some purging.
I have refused to read this book. It sounds good in theory; especially if you live alone, but it doesn’t account for the other people living here. I know my husband and kids would have something to say if I just went around getting rid of things that didn’t bring me join. Bye bye TV and video games, bye bye Barbie dolls and ridiculous amounts of Hotwheels. Yep, Not going to happen at this house!
Susan Herring Says
I just finished her book and intend to incorporat many of her suggestions. Having tried FlyLady and many other methods I have decided to give this one a shot. As a Christian, I think that it is better to thank God for his providence. Having said this, I got my very first brand new vehicle the other day and I thank it every time I use it. This vehicle brings me great joy and I want to continue to appreciate it. That is why I personify it. However, I do thank God for it, too. I do like the idea of thanking something before getting rid of it. To me that is another step in deciding if it sparks joy; and it makes it easier to get rid of. I really just want to be mindfully thankful for all that I have.
I always laugh when I see this book because all of our Japanese family members (in Japan and U.S.) are the most cluttered packrats of anyone I’ve ever met. They won’t donate or throw away anything.
Of course there were things that didn’t suit me, but still this book has changed my messy life for the better!!!! WAY better! Will I ever be as organized and neat as the author? Probably not. But the improvement I’ve made (and kept) was so worth it!
I really liked her book, but I felt like I was set up for failure before I even started. I was pregnant when I read it, hoping to get organized before my third baby arrived. I have so much I’ve stored from my kids, because I don’t want to buy everything new for each child. I wish she would have addressed this somewhere. Even if her recommendation was get rid of everything after every baby and every pregnancy. Although I don’t know who can afford to buy all new every pregnancy. Anyway, I wish there was a moms version. Maybe I’ll try her advice when I’m done having kids.
Sarah Haworth Says
I’m sorry if this has already been mentioned in the comments, but what does she say about things like wrapping paper/gift bags, holiday decorations, stuff of the kids that we want to keep for them…things like that?
Hi! I found your article from Pinterest, and I am glad that you mentioned liking some things about the book, rather than bashing the entire thing 🙂 I really enjoyed the principles in the book and have applied many of them to my life, but certainly not all of them. I like your suggestion of thanking God for things, and think that’s a great way to not only have more pride in your things and thus treat them better, but also to help incorporate more prayer in to your daily life. So thank you for that suggestion! I agree with most of your comments regarding the “downsides” of the book, and really hoped it would give more instruction on the day to day stuff. Maybe there will be a part 2?
I also LOVE the vertical storage of my clothes, and also ‘filing’ them by light to dark. I do hang my sweaters (too bulky in a drawer), cardigans and silky shirts (won’t stay up). It takes a bit more time to fold them that way, but I usually do it while watching TV 🙂 I do notice that I have to iron a bit more, especially my husband’s t-shirts since he used to hang them all. I wanted to pass on what I did to help keep them up – use a cardboard box as drawer dividers. Cut pieces of cardboard from a packing box the width of your drawer from front to back, and place them in your drawers next to the row of clothing. Start with the piece a little bit longer and cut it down little by little until it fits snugly in the drawer and stands up. I try and find boxes long enough so I can cut part of the flap, and then fold that part against the back of the drawer (to make an L shape), which helps keep it up. It will help support your clothes, and is inexpensive. I also use beanie babies to act like bookends when I don’t have enough clothes to make a full row, but any type of beanbag or paperweight can do the trick. Plus, who doesn’t like to see colorful stuffed animals in the morning? 😉
Finally, in regards to the toilet brush – for that sort of stuff I kind of do a “six degrees of separation of JOY” with myself. Clean toilets spark joy, and I need the brush to get clean toilets. Cake sparks joy, and I need my mixing bowls to make cake. Etc., etc., You can apply that principal to most cleaning supplies. I also started buying nicer cleaning products like Meyers and Target’s Method brand because the smells bring me joy!
I started the book this week and am on the section about storing clothes which u referred to. I loved your last comment. I hadn’t thought about those things and whether or not they would ‘spark joy’ that made me lol
Kelly Zollo Says
I liked a lot of her book as far as grouping and folding and this helped a ton with my husband who is a pack rat. I purged my closet if I haven’t wore it in like a year I toss it and the whole if you love it keep it worked super well for me. The one thing I didn’t agree with was the entire vertical storage thing in the drawers, we don’t have a dresser in our room just small individual closets. I have a metal basket thing in there from Ikea. I’ll fold thing sin thirds and put them in there the way I want non vertically as well until we redo our closet this year. I also really hate the idea of folding my super nice sweaters I don’t have a ton of clothes anyway but for now they fit hung in my closet.
I plan to move onto the books/paper later this week after we just got done with our clothes. I have a ton of paperbacks so that should be interesting.
I just saw this on Pinterest so clicked on it even though you wrote this post a while back. I haven’t read her book, but I found your post quite interesting. I had a thought – she may not address how to keep the house neat and tidy on a daily basis because with fewer things, that is more likely to happen automatically. I ruthlessly decluttered my place months ago and it stays pretty tidy because we simply don’t have that much stuff to clutter it up with. Yes, dishes in the sink are another story and do need good habits to maintain. I tend to personify objects so I totally get why she thanks her stuff lol. Probably a bad thing for me, though, since it makes things harder to get rid of. I’ve learned to be ruthless, though, so this only happens for some things. I like your idea of what Christians can do instead. I disagree with the purse thing too… like unless you keep perishable food in there or something, it’s not necessary to clean it out *that* often. But hey, to each their own. I would expect that she would qualify what “sparking joy” means. Like with your toilet brush example, it may not spark joy, but it is useful. I would think that the “sparking joy” criteria would be more useful to apply to sentimental items or things like clothing vs. practical items that you use daily.
No one is “born” organized. Being organized is a discipline – that’s why you cannot, in the long haul, organize anyone but yourself. For some people they are unable to stand visual cacophony and therefore find ways to deal with it. For others it is unendingly irritating to have to look far and wide for a pair of scissors. For some they simply have more things than they need or can even store. For others they are addicted to drawer inserts and labeled plastic boxes. Marie’s book is like any other – take what’s of value and leave the rest. It’s a helluva lot cheaper than buying every single, special edition magazine that comes out telling you how to store more and more things. If you are paying for storage away from your home check this book out from the library and see where it takes you.
So much for personifying inanimate objects. I was getting ready to have a garage sale and my daughter caught me stroking a few stuffed animals and telling them “It’s ok, tomorrow you will have a new home”. It took a lot of convincing before she threw away the commitment petition.
I feel you’ve missed her point in many areas. Firstly I interpreted her reason for saying thank you to each item thrown away is to make us discard the items consciously instead of throwing away items without acknowledging all the items we consume. If you discard something without thought, perhaps your not acknowledging the cost? It’s a bit of fun anyway, and it makes me smile doing it.
Again I think only keeping things that spark joy is about consuming with thought and consciousness and not just buying any old thing. If it doesn’t spark joy, then don’t buy it in the first place. Even toilet brushes come in a variety of styles and colours!
The best thing I learnt from the book was the emptying your handbag each day. At first the idea horrified me, but then I tried it. First of all it makes me pack my bag consciously before I leave the house, thus not forgetting things I often forget, I.e. Phone. And also I now swap my handbag each day to match my outfit – they are all empty anyway, I may as well choose another style, colour or function.
Overall I think one of her aims is to make us become better consumers by consuming less and only on those things that really make us happy.
K Patrick Says
I read the book and really loved it. I was in the middle of trying to do a major overhaul of my home and this book was the inspiration to complete it. I know the sparking joy thing seems silly, especially for things like the toilet bowl brush, but I must say, I do appreciate the purpose it serves.
I shared the concept of joy with my boyfriend who hadn’t cleared out all of the decor of his ex wife from his house. I suggested to him that he should ask himself if what he is surroundeded by makes him happy. He realized he was hanging on to stuff because he didn’t know what else to do with the space not because he liked any if it. The transformation has been amazing. He has cleared out so much stuff he was keeping out of habit not because he enjoyed it. He spends so much less time dusting and cleaning now. His mood has improved too because he isn’t surrounded by things that didn’t spark joy.
I was already what most would consider a minimalist from a decor perspective. Most of what I had to clear out was the clothing (a small, medium and large wardrobe) and now that it is done I really find maintaining daily tidying routine is so much more doable.
I absolutely don’t empty my purse daily, but I do clean it out more frequently. And I’m still struggling with the folding, I like the concept but perhaps lack the skill. I guess I would say there are many pros in the book, enough that I would recommend it, but like anything else, you have to use what works in your life or it won’t work at all.
I was glad to find an article that didn’t spend the entire thing complaining about it not working with children, as Marie clearly states this a personal thing and not something to force on other people (even toddlers). The points you made were very fair and general to most people’s situations and inevitable actions. That said the title is a little close to “click bait” and I feel it would be more accurate as “Reasons the Kon Mari Didn’t Work for Me” it’s just less catchy (but more honest).
I’m so happy I came across your post! I recently finished reading Marie Kondo’s book and I decided to implement her suggestions to organize my own space. I tend to be a clutterer, simply because I tend to think “I may use that item someday”. I am very much a product of grandparents who grew up during the Great Depression. Ms (Mrs?) Kondo’s suggestion of only keeping items that spark joy seemed simple enough until I actually began the process. Like you I was stuck on a few things mentioned in the book. Not everything I own sparks joy but rather has a practical or functional value (dishes, Tupperware, work scrubs etc). Those are things that I keep because they serve a specific purpose. Also the idea of thanking inanimate objects for their service seemed a bit much. Instead I thanked God for blessing me with such abundance and chose to pass on the items I no longer needed to charity groups to help others. The thought of taking perfectly good items and throwing them away seemed wasteful to me. Instead I found groups that accept donations of everything from clothing, books, small appliances and even furniture. One thing I really did like about the book was the exploration of why we keep the items that we do. Being able to look at an object and ask questions to discern my level of attachment to it has been beneficial. Sorry for the long comment but I appreciate your commentary on this subject
I have to say, the “I’m a Christian so I won’t thank my objects” thing is quite silly and missing the point entirely. The purpose of doing that is to psychologically trigger the memories that object has given you, savor them briefly, and then mentally detach from it.
But leave it to religion/Christianity to keep people close-minded and terrified of new perspectives.
It sounds like you completely missed the entire point of the book. It’s to create lifestyle of simplicity and mindfulness. Did you just organize your home, or did you actually go through and discard things? From your post, it doesn’t sound like you did.
In the beginning of the book, she mentions creating a home that is tidy, so that all you have to do daily is clean as you go (dishes, laundry, etc).
If you aren’t creating a lifestyle of mindfulness, along with the discarding, your home will become untidy again. It’s about becoming intentional. With your home, your organization, and your consumerism.
Kathleen Baumfalk Says
I have not read the book or do I plan to buy it. I have used some ideas from the book that were shared on you tube. Why pay when you can get ideas for free. I just donated 5 trash bags of clothes. Maybe this means I can buy more. LOL. With living in a 875 sq. foot house I don’t really have a choice. My motto is if you don’t use it lose it! That has helped me over the years. Although I don’t plan to get rid of my ugly Christmas sweaters anytime soon. 🙂
Evelyn Wermer Frey Says
I’m interested in how many people object to saying “thank you” to their socks! Shouldn’t we all be grateful for items we use every day? so why not take a moment to be actively grateful. Saying the words just reminds us how lucky we are to HAVE socks (and all the other things we need and use daily).
It may feel silly – but laughing is a healthy thing to do, too!
I haven’t seen much comment on the second half of the Kon-Mari method, which is: give each item a “home” AND THEN PUT THE ITEM BACK IN ITS HOME. Every time! That’s what most of us don’t do –
reading a book or magazine and not returning it to its bookshelf or basket… not refolding or rehanging that shirt … I have files for papers but don’t fine on a daily basis so things pile up.
I’m better in the kitchen – it’s small, so the items are limited and do have their “homes” and this does make it easier to find things to use and then to put them back home again. I love the things I’ve chosen,
so it’s easy to say “thank you” to them!
I like the method, but it’s not perfect. So, I’ve incorporated some of her ideas into my home, while leaving out others or modifying them. Her method of folding is especially inspiring and I’m using it for many of my clothing items, but some I prefer to hang. I hate her folder based filing method is reckless, tedious, and doesn’t work with legal size documents. However, I still happy that I brought her book.
I actually really liked the emptying of the purse. It actually help me reduce the amount of trash i would put it in the first place. And to be honest if you use her tip of giving everything a place it takes less then 2 minutes to do. Putting away my sunglasses, keys, book, water bottle wallet etc helped me leave the house faster the next time I went out. It started feeling like taking off your shoes like a mandatory removal of necessities. If you don’t need the necessity why bring it and the amount of things in your purse is reduced.
I read her book because I need all the help I can get with my house, life, etc…but instead it made me really mad & sad. It reminded me how narrow minded, or not thinking at all, people can be when it comes to other people having to deal with great loss in their life. My late husband was killed in an accident when he was 32. We had just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary & had 2 small children (4 yrs old & 21 months at the time). I was utterly devastated. My soulmate was gone & all I had left was our children & his things. I still can not imagine giving up his precious possession but they will NEVER “spark joy” within me. Could you imagine me letting go of his wedding ring? My wedding ring? Our wedding album even though I can’t bare to look at the pictures. If I can bare to look at his things, a picture of us as a family, etc…the “joy” is instantly shattered by a pain that can take my breath away & if I’m not careful send me into depression. I wanted to call her and explain why “joy” can be replaced with endless pain but the items forever bond you & help my husband be here even though he can’t physically be with us. Would she really expect me to “thank his things” and then give or throw them away??? No, I didn’t keep his underware or other everyday items he didn’t even care about but giving up even a small piece of paper with his handwriting because it doesn’t “spark joy” is out of the question. His children will never know him or his handwriting or what a great man he was without those things that do not & will never “sparks joy” for me. How selfish I would be if I took her advice and “got rid of the things that do not spark joy in my life.” Our children would be robbed of his things because of my pain and joylessness. There is a far greater meaning behind “things” sometimes. His favorite book. His favorite CD of his favorite band. The tie I gave him for our wedding rehearsal or the watch I gave him for our 10th wedding anniversary. All gone because they don’t “spark joy” within me. I don’t think so. Joy doesn’t always come from what we let go of now. Sometimes joy comes from holding onto them knowing on day they will serve a greater purpose to honor & remember those who would otherwise be only a ghost of the past.
I just want to clarify some definitions. Organizing is creating a functional and efficient use of space. Tidying is maintaining an existing organized (or disorganized, but seems counterproductive … blah blah blah) space. Cleaning is washing, disinfecting, wiping, etc. When I organized my bathroom, I bought baskets, bins, glass jars, hooks, etc. I contained and organized my wanted and useful bathroom items and decluttered the rest. Thus creating an organized space. When I tidy my bathroom, I put away my toothpaste, my hair brush, my hair accessories, my straighter and hair dryer. After I tidy, which took me very little time because everything had a home, I had a clear space to clean. I cleaned my mirror, sink, counter, toilet and tub. Feel free to quote any of this when you make your post educating others about the difference between organizing, tidying and cleaning. I look forward to your post about this subject.
You know what, you have completely missed the point of the book. Of course you will still need to do the dishes and doing the daily ”pick-up”, the point of the book is to make sure everything has its place when you do.
Did people really expect not having to clean up ever again? Please.
I think some of the comments are missing the difference between tidying and cleaning. I think (maybe because it’s translated from Japanese) that the word ‘tidying’ is probably a bit misleading. She means getting your belongings in order and making sure you actually need/use/like and can access everything you own. Of course you still have to do everyday tidying and cleaning, but it’s a whole lot easier after Kondo if you follow her method properly.
I lived in total chaos for 40 years – piles of stuff everywhere, boxes never opened from one house move to the next, buying things I already had because I couldn’t find anything, papers in piles everywhere. I’ve been following the Kondo method for about 8 months now & slowly working through everything in the house. It has worked wonders for me. The things I’ve done have stayed done, and I can’t tell you how astonishing that is to me and everyone who knows me. I think the key is in tidying by category and doing the ‘spark joy’ test on everything. Anyone who hasn’t done this and says they are living proof that Kondo’s once and for all tidy doesn’t work…well, you just aren’t living proof of this because you weren’t following her method. I have done dozens of huge house tidies which have all failed. This one (not finished yet) has actually worked for me, so far. 8 months and my clothes are still folded, I can see everything I have, I only buy new clothes that suit and are actually what I need; 4 months and my paperwork is still in order. Believe me that is ‘life-changing magic’ as far as I am concerned.
Sorry for the long comment, just also wanted to mention the personification and ‘spark joy’ issues that have been raised. I personally just saw the personification as a cultural difference because it’s part of the Shinto religion which Marie follows. I don’t believe all objects have souls, but I translated this as being about looking after your belongings and storing them in a way that will keep them in good condition, also being respectful of the fact that I can afford these things – none of which I was doing when my clothes were heaped on the floor. Thanking things might seem silly (or maybe wrong if it conflicts with your own religious beliefs), but I think Kondo uses it as a way to acknowledge the reasons that you bought something and marking a point of moving on from that. I like that she is quite gentle about this. A typical example for me when I was doing books was I often found 2 or 3 copies of the same book because I’d forgotten I’d bought it or had lost the first copy. This makes me feel angry, frustrated with myself for being so stupid, wasting money, etc. Kondo would say something like to thank the extra copies for helping me learn that I need to store my books more effectively. She is really non-judgemental which I love! So I don’t exactly thank the books, but I do spend a moment thinking about how I got to the point of doing this multiple buying so often, and mentally trying to draw a line to acknowledge that I am doing Kondo as a positive thing, not to beat myself up, but to try and find a better way to manage my chaos.
Regarding things sparking joy, this isn’t just about loving your toilet brush and the boring black jacket you have to keep in case of funerals, it’s about feeling a kind of joy in being organised and prepared, so you have the right tools for a job, or if, sadly, you need to attend a funeral, the stress might be lessened by knowing you have the right clothes and you know exactly where they are and that they fit ok.
Apologies again for the long reply! I know this book isn’t for everyone, but it has helped me tremendously, so I hate to think others might be put off by too much focus on the weird bits!
PS I did think emptying my bag every day was a step too far, but am now so Kondo’d that I am starting to think this might be an answer to the mini chaos I encounter every time I open my bag to look for a pen/credit card/car key, etc!
Terrel Shumway Says
1. Simplicity. 2 decisions for each item. That’s it.
2. Accountability- you make every decision. You are responsible for taking care of your stuff. No one else.
3. The tidying process creates the habit that maintains your home.
4. Gratitude. Whether you address God or address your things, taking the time to think about them makes all of the difference. I love how much more aware I am of the care my clothes need since I started folding them. I get the sewing machine out more often and make small simple repairs instead of big ugly ones.
I have listened to the audiobooks perhaps a dozen times.
I am father to four and I believe if works even better for familis (once everyone is on board), because you can support each other in developing the tidy habit. My younger kids get excited when I involve them. It’s fun.
I have to agree with you on the “spark joy” thing and thanking your house and physical belongings.. As a Christian, bringing her religious spirituality into the organizing process doesn’t work for me. Things are just that…THINGS! I use to organize my drawers like she does many years ago, so that is not new. What is new is the spiritual aspect and I don’t like it. Also, this way of folding your clothes is quite labor intensive. When I began having children and working both inside and outside of the home full time, I had no time for folding everything into neat little squares or rectangles and placing them gently into the drawer. Everything was just tossed into drawers and forgotten about until the next time I needed them. I have spent a few days folding again to get my dresser organized, but I can see that this will be a continuous process to “keep up appearances.” I will try for as long as I can stand it…;)
Old crank Says
Own it, read it. While Kondo’s approach seems a bit excessive, in thanking literally every object before we conclude the ritual of disposing, the idea of making a ceremony out of the entire process has a psychological benefit. No matter how corny or contrived, the act of repeating an act deepens our commitment to its “truth.” In fact, the paradox of cognitive dissonance tells us that we actually may deepen our belief when we follow some behavior we don’t have a deep initial connection with. The shinto belief in everything having a spirit is not intrinsically Japanese, nor Buddhist, nor Zen, but there is some cultural overlap and infusion. Regardless of one’s religious faith, repeating her process, over and over, for hundreds of items, may gradually deepen our sense of appreciating the tangible qualities of the things we take for granted. Most here are self-described Christians, yet with our cultural malaise of over-consumption and accumulation of junk that provides the opposite of joy, I’d feel more comfortable thanking the items, than cursing my God for tempting me to gather all my worldly garbage in the first place.
However, using the exact same procedure for everything, whether a Walmart trinket, receipt, toilet brush, or antique family curio is rather overdone. Weeding out the several thousand redundant xerox pages at my late father’s home would still be ongoing a decade on, had we followed her rule. Keep it real.
The weakest area deals with paperwork and reference documents; in most jurisdictions, digital copies of Wills, Titles, contracts, Bills of Sale for major items, and everything regarding taxes, are not acceptable or legally binding. Simply “throw it all away” will likely cost many untold thousands of dollars in inconvenience, legal anguish, litigation, etc.
Another overall positive is, nevertheless, the idea that tidying (or decluttering as most practically desire) is not synonymous with “Organizing.” We spend millions on Organizing boxes, shelves, containers, dividers, storage bins and lockers and warehouses, storing our clutter indefinitely, while failing to recognize the problem is the acquisition of all that we don’t need to make us happy. Her process, of holding each item to sense it for its joy, would be far more valuable if done in the store, before it is even purchased. Asking “Do I really need this?” “Do I already have one, or something that does the same job already?” “Why would I need another?” “Can’t I just wait until mine breaks or wears out first?” gives me the space and moment of detachment in which I can separate my desire, from the object in hand, take a breath, and answer the question dispassionately – usually, by just saying “No.”
Dominic Beaudoin Says
I haven’t read the book but have watched a few episodes of the show on Netflix. I think as a whole it’s a great way to declutter your house once a year or so (or however often you have the time to do it). I am almost done going through my clothes and cleared out a lot of stuff which is great!
I feel the same way as you regarding thanking your clothes (or when Marie “greets” the house), I find that a bit silly and superfluous (decluttering applies to ideas and things you do as well!).
Also regarding the use of the term “tidying”, to me when I hear the word I think of day-to-day keeping your house under control and neat, or a quick clean up before your guests arrive, whereas decluttering seems more involved, like a big task you do once or twice a year like spring cleaning.
I think the “Does this item spark joy?” question works great for a lot of things, but for items like the toilet brush, in case of answering “no” to the first question, there should be a follow-up question: “Do I need this item?”. There is always the possibility that the item could be upgraded to a better one in the future, which might “spark more joy” 😉
There are some great things to learn from this method. The sorting things out by size rather than use thing is great, especially for my kitchen stuff. The folding method is remarkable! I have two toddler boys and have managed to free up so much space by doing this. I also sorted all of their toys by size first (small figurines, big figurines, transport etc) and category second. There are a lot of people that get attached to material items, so I guess the whole sparking joy and thanking thing stems from this. I for one am not attached at all to my material objects, and like you love getting rid of stuff I haven’t used within the last 12 months. At the same time though, there isn’t much information about sentimental items and storage. There are times where you should just get rid of stuff that has no use to you at all regardless of joy. I have held on to a few items from when my boys were babies (clothing and first shoes). I just cannot get rid of them. I am the same with cards: if someone gives me a card that could potentially die soon (grandparents etc) and it has some really nice inscription, then i feel compelled to keep it. Thus, I have several birthday cards that I just cannot throw away yet and these cause me a great deal of stress because I cannot organise them well. I thought once about a scrap book, but I barely have time for that. I do like what she says about photos though and am in the process of picking out digital pictures that spark joy and printing them out, then deleting those that are average. Our digital storage space can be handled in much the same way as our physical storage space. Overall, I think this method plus the minimalisation method (keep only a few items for each clothing category that you actually need to use) work well together and remove heaps of clutter and garbage.