My friend had recommended this book over the Christmas holidays. Coincidentally, I was in the midst of doing my semi-annual purge, so I thought, what the heck – I’ll check it out. I had never heard of Marie Kondo or her book before my friend mentioned it, but upon a quick Google search, I discovered that Ms. Kondo’s KonMari Method had become all the rage. This woman is an organizing consultant in Japan, with apparently a wait list of clients. She has become quite famous across the UK and Germany as well, and her popularity has caught on in the US.
I was unable to find a PDF version, so I ordered the book off Amazon and it arrived in no time. It’s a short book, so a quick read. What made it even faster to get through is that I skipped through many pages. It felt like she did not have enough material, and thus had to become repetitive to fill the pages.
I did take away some interesting ideas and points for decluttering; however, I found her method very extreme, and possibly impossible or expensive for some. She takes minimalism to a whole new level. She claims that you should only have to do this (purging) once, and you will become a konvert and never go back to your messy ways. Her method of tidying disregards the more popular methods of doing a little bit at a time to prevent feeling overwhelmed and quitting. The KonMari Method requires to you purge everything first and only be left with the things that bring you joy, and then you start organizing and putting things away.
Ok, I can see how purging first could work for me. In fact, I do follow that to some extent because it does mean I have less to put away later. I will agree with her on that step, though depending on the size of your house, this could take days or weeks because if you have a good size home, and a full time job, you cannot devote entire consecutive days (other than an entire weekend) to this task. Her method of deciding what gets tossed in the bin is where I disagree. She preaches that you should handle each item and as it is in your hand, determine if it brings you joy. If it does not, throw it out. Yikes!! One word for that – ludicrous. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:
Joy, noun | \ˈjȯi\, the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
Not everything that I own brings me joy. I have a small promotional calendar that came in the mail from my MPP with his picture on the front. It is by no means a good looking calendar, but it the size that I need because the boxes are just big enough for me to mark down information. This calendar elicits no joy, but it’s functional. There are numerous cords for charging phones and tablets in my home. On their own, they don’t bring great joy (their function does), but Ms. Kondo would suggest we only keep the minimum and throw out the others because it will easier to buy a new cord should we need one in the future. Not only is that extremely wasteful, but it is environmentally unfriendly and irresponsible. One other point Ms. Kondo makes made me laugh. Her views on keeping things out of the sink.
I dry not only my sponges but also my cutting boards, colanders, and dishes on my veranda. Sunlight is a good disinfectant, and my kitchen always looks very tidy because I don’t need a dish rack.
At least she does state that this method is good for single people, or people that don’t use many dishes, but this is not realistic. How does this work with dinner dishes? This was an example of extremism. A single dish rack is the least of most clutter problems.
On the positive side, I did enjoy parts of the the section of her book on how to store clothing, and I have taken her advice and started folding clothes and placing the items as she describes in her book. I cannot do this with every piece of clothing as we have more hanging space than drawer space, and I am not interested in purchasing more dressers. The KonMari Folding Method does allow better visuals of everything you own. Most people will fold and stack, but sometimes you do forget about the things at the bottom of the stack, especially if it’s at the back of the drawer.
I employed this method for both my clothing and for hub’s clothing.
I enjoyed the reaction from hubs when he opened the drawer as we were getting ready to go out. He stood there staring into the drawer, while I asked him what the problem was? I assumed it would be so easy for him to pick something out, but he laughed and said that there were too many options and that before, he would simply choose either the item on top, or the one below. Clearly, this method is better. It’s been 2-3 weeks since I have organized our drawers this way, and we have both kept everything the same. In that respect, I agree with Ms. Kondo that I won’t go back to my old ways of clothing storage. I like this better. My socks and underwear storage method has not changed, simply because neither hubs nor I haven’t had difficulties in that area.
I also agree with Ms. Kondo that you should not share your discards with your family, unless you know with certainty that the item is exactly what they have been looking for. Letting family go through your discards can make the discarding process much harder, especially if they gave you one of the items you are not getting rid of. Also, by “forcing” discards on your family members, you are essentially cluttering up their home. My sister loves to give my mother discards, but I have learned to simply discard most of my unnecessary items. Many of my discards are in great shape, so about 80% ends up at Goodwill. Really worn clothing, and very old electrical items end up curbside.
I feel as though I may be the only person not singing full praises about this book. Am I missing something?