The KonMari method

The KonMari method has taken the world by storm people are proudly organizing drawers, living rooms and bedrooms. There is a reason why this method has catched on and that is simply: the author Maria Kondo has a very valid point and some great perspectives and ideas which will really help you get organized.

This webpage is meant as a critique on the book, which might be useful for those that are thinking of reading it, have started working with the method (and those that haven’t heard of it at all).

I get regularly asked do you like the KonMari method, is that what you do? Well yes and no –I normally quote one of my favourite lectures at University; “It depends”.

The KonMari method

Marie Kondo advocates getting rid of stuff and a lot of it in her KonMari method. This is one of the main premises on getting more organized and needs to happen in almost all situations when we declutter and organize our homes or lives in general. She expands her ideas clearly, is relatively harsh and unapologetic about her methods to dispose items and appears like she can whip most spaces into shape.

On the other side of this, she introduces a spiritual aspect to her practise by suggesting you thank the spaces you frequent prior to starting work or even thanking the items you own and used that day. I have not come across an organizing book which has gone in such a depth of the human dimension relating to organizing prior to reading her book. Most books are nice, entertaining and inspirational but basically give you a list of things to do. The KonMari method gives you a way to think about your items.

The verdict on the KonMari method

Pro’s

To be perfectly honest I really like the book, it has a number of very valid points, good ideas and when followed, it will help you declutter and organize your life and living spaces. 

It is a good read (she even gives you permission to declutter her book when you don’t need it anymore -which I did, I passed it onto another entrepreneur – making me feel warm and fussy, I declutter, gave a present to someone else (and had Marie Kondo’s blessing to boot) - good deeds all around.

Con’s

I blame my longstanding link to academia for giving me a mind that critiques everything and therefor would also like to point out of few things which might not work so well if you are hoping that the KonMari method will change your life.

One of the main premises in academia and something I strongly prescribe to is that when dealing with people and situations there is rarely, if ever, one best way of doing something. This argument is not only against the KonMari method, but any book which states they have “the system” to organize. Humans are very different so are their situations and needs, therefor I am sad to say there is no one method which will do it for all situations and all people. There are clearly guiding principles of organizing (think about the name of this website declutter and organize) which Marie Kondo also describes, but to state this is the best or only way to declutter and organize is in my mind (and work experience as a Professional Organiser) incorrect.

The spiritual dimension – I personally love this part of the book, but it might not be something most of us will do in practice. After reading the book I thought it would be great to get my kids to thank their backpack for its hard work that day – on day three my son said “oohhh fine, thank you backpack with a grudge” I took this as a sign to stop that level of spirituality in our house.

Context bound

Marie Kondo is as far as I am aware, a single women living in Japan. This in itself gives a certain context and perspective which people living in a family environment in the USA or Australia might not share. We have a different way culturally, spiritually and family wise in which we need to operate with our stuff and our daily lives.  

Note: I clearly stand corrected on this with the hugely popular TV show Tidying Up and with Marie's move to the US ;-) 

Sparking Joy – again the concept is lovely - only keep what sparks joy. In practise, I have in my own house many items that really don’t spark any joy. Tax papers, legal contracts, to-do lists and let’s not get me started on the kids’ stuff which I have in my house. I have kids items in my house because it is important to my children and I love them, but definitely not because barbie gives me a spark of joy.

I find this is the same with clients, as soon as you live with other people in the same house the ideas become more difficult to implement. On top of this in most cases there are some psychological processes at work which could induce; guild a trip down memory lane or the I am keeping it “just in case attitude” which need to be worked through.

The KonMari Method overall

Image obtained: www.myjoyfulhome.com - 21/12/2018

If you are serious about organizing it is important to learn more about the subject. I encourage you to read Marie Kondo’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up”. As part of your research, try the KonMari method, see how it works and feels for you. If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that anything you do to help you declutter and organize is beneficial.

External inspiration, getting rid of items that are of no use to you, as well as having a good think about your perceptions of your belongings is a great move forward on the journey to getting more organized each day. 

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