Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The KonMari Method: Why It's Awesome and Why It Could Be Even Better

So if you're like me from last week, you don't know what the KonMari Method is.  You've never heard of this bestselling book that seriously is changing people's lives.


Isn't the author, Marie Kondo so beautiful?  Doesn't her living room look so peaceful and uncluttered behind her?  The tidying method she explains in her book is called the KonMari method, which is a play on her own name.  Get it?

We are beginning the process of seriously trying to sell our house.  We have a realtor coming over at the end of the month, and we have been saying that we need to get the house ready but have lacked the major motivation needed to do any work.  Six kids and sick kids can do that to the best laid plans, looking at you, Cari.  So there I was, in the middle of Lent, feeling overwhelmed at the thought of getting my house ready to sell and keeping it ready to show.  

Rachel and me in 2011.  I have since started wearing makeup...geesh.

And then beautiful Rachel, who seems so perfect in a non-annoying way (which is tough to pull off!), who is raising six kids of her own, organizing laundry systems, and keeping a gorgeous house to boot decided to review The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


The book came, and I devoured it in two days.  I started cleaning this weekend.  It's been amazing.  We have given away 19 huge bags of clothes, towels, sheets, shoes and coats and two crates of books.  And we're just starting!  



The secrets to the KonMari Method are:

1) 
Treat this de-cluttering and purging stage as a big time event.  She promises that if you do it right, you will never have to do it again because you will live in a constantly uncluttered home with a place for everything and everything in its place.

2) 
Clean/de-clutter/organize by category.  In the past I would clean a room or a specific area of the house (my bedroom, the bathroom, the hallway closet) and not categories (books, shoes, papers).  Cleaning by category means collecting everything you have in one category (let's say tops), putting them all in a big pile, and then choosing what to discard.  This is easy to do once you can see all your tops in one place.
  
3) 
When choosing what to discard, you must touch each object and decide if it "sparks joy".  If it doesn't, let it go.

4) 
Her method says that if you discard all items that don't "spark joy", you will be left with exactly the amount of stuff you need, and you will have exactly the amount of space for everything.  She does not promote buying any organizational tools or getting extra storage space.  I love that the book is not trying to sell anything but motivation.


5)
When putting away clothes, she folds everything so it "stands up" and you can see it, instead of in piles.  Her socks are rolled and stood on their side, like sushi.  Her closet is hung by size/material/color.

source


These were the tips I hardwired into my brain so that I could start my decluttering marathon while being so inspired.  However, there were a couple of things in the book that left me feeling a little unsettled, and not just the emptying out of her purse each night - who has time for that?  You see, Marie Kondo has had a lifelong obsession with "stuff".  She has spent her whole life researching the art of tidying, discarding, storing things, so much that these inanimate objects have become more than just things to her.  She often gives her "stuff" human feelings and concerns herself with how they are treated.  I think her method could use a little tweaking in order to sit better with my Christian values, such as:

1)
When discarding an item, she suggests you thank the item, let's say pants, before passing them on.  While I understand that the sentiment is to completely let go of the pants, to free yourself of them, I think you should thank God instead.  So rather than saying "Thank you pants for keeping me warm" you could say "Thank you God for providing me with warm clothing", or "Thank you for my mom who gave these to me" or "Thank you for the job that allowed me to buy these."  But God is the source of all our gratitude.

2)
When folding your socks, she makes a big deal about how rolling them into balls in a terrible way to store them because then they can't rest and relax.  She goes on to explain that balling socks pulls on the fibers and loosens the elasticity and therefor ruins the socks.  I think you should treat all the items you are keeping as best you can, but not worry about their state of relaxation.  In my research, I believe this is a facet of the Japanese culture, so I am not trying to be an ignorant American, but for me, it was a little much.

3)
She writes about how when you get rid of excess items, you feel lighter, the air is cleaner and you begin to enjoy your home again.  She tells of people that lost weight or got their dream job after tidying up their house, all because they are living in a peaceful environment.  I agree that de-cluttering can be life-changing, but it's also because of what it does to your soul.  The added benefits are that you are learning not to be materialistic, helping out others through your donations, and receiving the grace to focus on other areas of your life.  Like a good confession, a weight is lifted and life feels fresh and new once again.  There's a reason why so many religious brothers and sisters take vows of poverty - it is freeing!

4)
She greets her house and any house she enters as if it's a temple.  She literally kneels down when she enters a client's home and talks to the house.  If only we took the time to talk to Jesus as much!  I'll keep my adoring to Him and Him alone, thank you very much.

For me, God and clutter are very intertwined.  You see, for the first ten years of my marriage, we always needed things - furnishings for our home, clothes for the kids, beds and toys and shoes...you get it.  We weren't in a position to say "no" to any form of hand-me-down, because we were poor and in need.  So we said "yes" to everything even if it was ugly or ragged or not timely.  We accumulated a lot of stuff, and thanked God for providing it.  Just in the past few years, we have started getting rid of it.  We realized that we can now be picky about what we keep, and we can put a limit on the amount of toys/sports equipment/shoes that the kids have because they actually don't need that much!  We can afford to buy a pair of sneakers for Xander and don't need to save him the three ratty pairs that his older brothers have worn out.  We are blessed, and as God has proven over and over again, He will provide the things we need when we need them and we shouldn't worry about being greedy hoarders for the "just in case" times.  Trusting in God's providence (and working hard on our end) has been so freeing in letting us de-clutter our house.

So that's it.  Buy the book.  Change your home and your life, but if you're a Christian, don't forget who is the only true source of happiness and worthy of our praise.




25 comments:

  1. I'm like you and bought the book soon after Rachel's review. I'm halfway through it and had the same thoughts exactly. I didn't know my socks needed to relax.
    Honestly though, I'm a little scared to start de-cluttering. We'll see if I get up the guts to do it like she suggests.
    Great review, Colleen.

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  2. I agree with everything you posted. I also started thanking God for all the items I had, and as I donated some, I prayed for those who might recieve them. So often I am ungrateful for all the things we have (I only see the mess.) and only see our house for its faults. This book has definitely helped my attitude in that regard too.

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  3. Thank you for this excellent review! I'm really thinking of getting it but was hesitant basically for the reasons you list!

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    1. Funny story - I just went to request it from the library and there is a waitlist of 214 people for a total of 75 copies! Yikes!

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  4. The book sounds great. I'm going to buy it soon because with six people living in a 1500 square foot home, we could use some decluttering tips!

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  5. I saw Rachel's blog post and then I saw this book in your Instagram feed so I ordered it on Monday. It's supposed to be here today. I'm so excited!

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  6. Love it! I was just thinking today as I looked at our bedroom closet that some serious purging and reorganizing is in order... I wonder if Joe has any weekend plans? because he does now! ;) But seriously, I do love the feeling of giving things away! It's so freeing, and I try to remember to be generous the way so many have been with us.

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  7. My sister was telling me about this book! She described the whole talking to your things and thanking them as a kooky Asian thing. ;) It's one of my Lenten resolutions to declutter and get rid of a lot of things and I did a bit a couple of weeks ago but I slacked off. Clutter and materialism are big spiritual hurdles for me. I need to get back on it!

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  8. Obviously the best time to organize and de-clutter is when I'm a crazy nesting at 32 weeks. So ya, I'll be ordering. The only question I have is about stuff you rarely use, but don't want to get rid of because of knowing you'll need it again. ???

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  9. My friend just was telling me about this book and from her casual review I had the exact same gut reactions as you. I'm glad to see that there is still good that can come from it. We are working hard at decluttering during Lent, so I'm going to check this one out. Thanks, Colleen!

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  10. I might be the only person who didn't think it was life-changing. Maybe because I already have a minimalist mentality. We stopped buying things we didn't love right around the same time we started learning about money management/budgets. I also don't agree that you just do it once. Not with a growing kids and the different seasons of raising a family. I feel like its something you constantly have to stay on top of. Awesome re-cap and summarization. I wish I could give my kindle version away to someone who is interested in reading it.

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  11. Good stuff. I am going to reference this blog in five years, when I come up from the depths of baby land and can evaluate the amount of stuff I have. For now, its the 20 boxes of baby clothes different sizes/different seasons.... :(

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  12. I got it right after Rachel reviewed it, but haven't had a chance to sit and read it. But I'm gearing up for major purge mode. I did, however, purge my younger boys' clothing today in the semi-annual seasonal swap. I have 3 very large bins of clothes to take to Goodwill. And I am now down to 3 bins of hand-me-downs for them, because ALL my boys are now in man-sized clothing. *sniff*! But my storage room is roomy once again.

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  13. Good review. Good stuff. Thank you! It seems that this book just popped up nearly everywhere and I was intrigued. When I found that you had read it and now saw your review come up, I was pleased to find some further perspective.
    I'm cheap, so I'm waiting for the library copy. I'm like #11 on the list, so maybe it will be soon?? It will be perfect for when my nesting hits full time and I can be crazy nesting organizing decluttering wife and mom. I'm sure my hubby and the kids will thank you. ;)

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  14. Great review, thank you! I'll try to add this to my *long* list of reads this year!

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    1. Good for you, I read like two books a year ;)

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  15. Hi, Colleen! I think I'm a first time visitor here! (not sure...) Anyway, I loved your review and everything you added or "amended". I just ordered the book from the library :) Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts on it! -Theresa

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    1. Hey Theresa, nice to meet ya! You do look soooo familiar, we were definitely on campus together at some point. I graduated in 2001 (Accounting) and 2002 (MBA). I live on the 4th floor of Tommy Moore for 2.5 years, then the projects!

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  16. Great!! What about furniture? Why is that not on her big list? Also if you have a home in a different country as well as lets say a summer home, how do you go about this? I live in NYC where most people seem to operate out of storage spaces.

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    1. I think the author is focusing on tidying up the clutter in a house, not necessarily the furnishings of the house. But I assume if a certain piece of furniture doesn't "spark joy" you should think about whether you truly need it. The way I see it is that once your home is in order, you can take the time and energy to decorating, staging furniture etc.

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  17. Found you through This Ain't the Lyceum. Great post! I was wondering how a parent might respond to this advice. What about hand-me-downs that will work for the next kid? What about the books you have gotten but need to curate (and will, over time)? I'm glad we didn't chuck out everything we didn't understand (as would be my husband's first choice).

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  18. I came back to this post today because I had noticed it but not read it. I feel like it's time for me to address my clutter. Thanks so much for your review, I have ordered the book.
    And by the way, you are one of my favorite bloggers! Lots of respect for you, sister!

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  19. Someone linked to your blog at a Christian KM facebook group. I couldn't agree more with you more. I have found the KM method to be wonderful but not good in that her worldview is animistic. If you know of any other facebook groups I would love a link or name!

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  20. Love this blog post! I totally agree with thanking God for all He provides!!! Not thanking the item. That is just weird to me. I shared your blog post on my blog. I hope you don't mind. http://eweifarm.blogspot.com/

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  21. Excellent review. I am a Christian and appreciate your 'twist' on the thankfulness. : )

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