Thursday, October 1, 2015

Is The KonMari Method Really Life-Changing?

I did it.

I read it.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing">

When I read about it on several blogs my first thought was "oh boy, another book written for those weird organizing people."

But it kind of stuck in my mind.

I had been feeling a little overwhelmed by my stuff, and after one entire night of waking up and thinking "what am I going to do about all my stuff?" I decided to buy it.

I bought it in July, but I knew I would be going out of town and didn't want to read it before I was able to actually do any tidying.

Then I started reading it and found out the author was 28 years old. ]

And I thought "why do people who haven't lived very long think they have all the answers?"

But I kept reading.

Turns out that Miss Marie Kondo does have a few answers.

Or at least she was able to capture my skeptical heart when she was able to tell me why while I was in grad school that whenever I needed desperately to study, I was overcome with the desire to clean my baseboards or any of the other areas of my home that had looked just fine in the days prior.

I put this book in my gym bag and pulled it out each time I went to work out.

This gave me little bits of information and inspiration per day.

I guess I'll stop here and tell you what the book is about - just in case you have been on Mars lately.

Marie Kondo - the author - is a tidying obsessive from the age of 8 - who has turned her obsession into a career.

She visits people in their offices or homes and helps them "tidy" up.

I feel I must mention that in her mind (or culture) tidying isn't what you do when you've received short notice that someone is dropping by your home.

Tidying is gathering every piece of clothing, then every book, then every kitchen item, then every "thing"  from your home and evaluating one by one if the item brings you joy. If it brings joy you keep it. If it does not bring joy you get rid of it.

You don't put anything away until you have finished purging the category. Only then do you begin to organize/store anything.

There is a method to every madness in the book.

Like why it is best to store things vertically

Why you should start your purge with clothing

Why you don't have to feel guilty for getting rid of gifts,

Why you shouldn't let your family see what you are getting rid of

Why you shouldn't tidy for your family

Why if you do it her way you won't ever rebound - or revert to clutter - ever again.

And even why you might get a little diarrhea when you're done.

Every day while I was reading I was inspired to work on a particular area or type of item in my home. I would come home and begin working on whatever I had mentally committed to earlier.

If you have read the book, you can already tell that I did NOT follow many of her instructions.

I just didn't have the time or inclination to remove all of my clothing from every location in the home and sort through it. I don't have a problem with clothing storage. I cleaned, painted, and organized my closets years ago and they've been fine ever since. I did do a quick purge of my cedar closet which had gotten a little out of control - because, as you learn in the book, I stack the clothes on the shelf in there, and that is just WRONG.  If you want to know what I SHOULD be doing, and what I will eventually do, you'll just have to read the book.

And, interestingly enough, I've been following her vertical clothing storage rules (for drawers) for a long time. Who knew?

I purged all of our books years ago and knew the one remaining area I should re-attack and did that in an hour or so one day. Then I removed EVERY SINGLE magazine that was more than three months old.

I won't bore you to death with everything else I did so I'll stop here.

The most important thing to understand from this book is that there are NO RULES for how much stuff you can have or have to get rid of. You purge until it feels good to you. You get to keep anything and everything that brings you joy. If that means you have 300 pairs of shoes then so be it.

Marie Kondo was raised in Japan and works primarily with people who live in Japanese homes. Tidying up is pretty dang important when you raise a family in 4 rooms. I would say my home is now 70%  KonMaried.

That doesn't include the basement or the garage. I have worked in the basement, but that's a story for another day.

And that's when the life changing will take place...

So do I recommend this book for you?


I do.

I also recommend that you take it with a grain of salt.  Some of the more cultural practices just won't appeal to you.

To me Kondo makes the most compelling case of any cleaning/organizing instructions that I have read.  It all just made sense to me. It hit all of my intellectual buttons. And just as important, it didn't include a bunch of the worthless information that I've come across in most organizing diatribes I've read in the past.

I think there are two types of people who will really like this book -
people who are already "tidy" and like to pat themselves on the back,
and people who feel in their gut that things may be just a little out of control or feel like their home isn't reflecting who they are.

If one of these categories fits you, click here for more information.

If you have read this book I would love to know what you thought about it.

If you've just heard about it and think it's a bunch of hooey, well, tell me that too!

Hey, and have a good weekend!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase this item I will be paid a small percentage. It will not alter the amount the item costs you.



Anita said...

I recently bought this book. I'm one who is overwhelmed with my stuff. I'm going to read the entire book and begin my purge when I get back from vacation. What I've read so far makes sense to me.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Well, I must've either been on Mars or in my basement tidying up, because I'd not heard of this book. Having said that, I do like the idea of vertical drawer storage. I am still feeling good about my basement, and will feel even better if it would quit raining on Saturdays so we could get the community yard sale over with (I have a big pile, and the sale's been canceled 2 weeks in a row, and the 10th's not looking so good right now).
I most definitely need to do this with clothes. Again. All my clothes still fit me from forever ago, and I keep purging, but there are still so many to go.

Unknown said...

I feel about this organizing book like I feel about the others - take what works for you and leave the rest. The same thing isn't going to work for everyone.

One of my favorite organizing books (Julie Morgenstern) had an observation that really struck home for me - look at what you naturally keep organized and try to figure out why you keep that organized and then apply the concept to other areas.

Marian said...

I love this book! I have found it more helpful than any other organizing book. It's not about fancy storage ideas or big expensive "systems"(in fact she suggests using things you already have, like shoe boxes). Mostly though she helped me deal with the emotional aspects of purging. I did her way my own way as well and it has been working great. It's still ongoing but we are talking 40 years of stuff that has to be gone through. Many people laugh about the idea of holding your item and asking if it brings you joy to determine if you should keep it but it has definitely worked for me. Even with things like a printer. I was asked by a family member jokingly if I got "joy" from it. I answered yes, it helps make my life easier, it works well, fits my desk and so for me it does bring me joy. Simple as that. The printer I had out in my garage that is bulky but works and that I kept because it was expensive and I "might need it someday" did not and so it's gone. The whole process has been incredibly freeing and uplifting and for me, I can say it has changed my life.

Bliss said...

I do fit into one of those categories but I'm worried about getting diarrhea.

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

I know about the book, but haven't bought it. I'd really like Magoo to read it but that's not going to happen. My closet is on the short list for a clean out and paint job this winter and that will be good enough!

DownTheLaneWithDaisy said...

I bought the book, love her and her great ideas and quirky ways of expressing herself, showing respect for your belongings is simple, but profound. I use one pocketbook, so I won't be emptying it every night, but I guess I should appreciate it for being perfect for me,


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