Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Thoughts on The KonMari Method

Have you heard of the KonMari method of "tidying"? I consider it to be more decluttering than tidying, but that's the term Marie Kondo likes to use in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up . I read this book in January, right when I was searching for some direction in getting rid of "stuff", and it's left me with a lot to say!

I lightly reviewed this book in my recap of January reads, but I have more to say about the method than the book, today. If you're curious about the book itself, I do highly recommend it. She has a very sweet but firm tone of voice, and reading along is very motivating.

Konmari Book

The method itself is very smart, and it works - but there are a few gaping holes.

Here are the main points I thought as I read through the book (both pros and cons):

1. Decluttering by category vs by room makes a lot of sense.
One of the main points of her method is to pool all of one type of item in one common space and weed through it that way rather than tackling our house room by room. The idea is that you get a clearer idea of how much of any one thing you have, and you don't burn out by decluttering the same time of item repeatedly (as we tend to store one type of item in more than one place). The first thing I did in following her method was declutter my shirts. When I had them all gathered together, I discovered that I had 215 tops. I NEVER would have guessed I had that many, and realizing that, as well as seeing the less thrilling tops next to the ones I truly loved, made it much easier to give things up.

2. Starting with clothes is definitely the way to go.
I picked up this book because I was already feeling the urge to purge (ha!), and whenever the mood would strike me, I'd find myself wandering to my closet to try and pull things out of it. I'd stall out, because I realized I needed to work backwards by taking everything out and only letting the best things back in. So when she said that the first category to purge is clothes, that made a lot of sense to me. It also made a huge impact, and I've found that storing and finding my clothes is much easier now, and I'm almost always comfortable. Previously, I would wear things I didn't totally love because I had them. Now I only have what I love! And yes, this clothing system has worked well, and stayed as well organized as the day I did it. So this WORKS!

3. Finishing with mementos is also really smart.
I tend to be a sentimental pack-rat with a penchant for documenting everything. I know I have too many things without a purpose that are around out of sentimental reasons only, but I struggle to let them go. Gaining steam by purging less important items and working towards a cleaner house as quickly as possible is much smarter than trying to sit down and weed through photos and kids' drawings and baby clothes.

4. There is next to no mention of how to handle the stuff that comes with kids and hobbies.
I'm pretty positive that Marie Kondo doesn't have kids, and that her only hobby is tidying, so naturally - she wouldn't put a lot of thought into these things. But kids require A LOT of stuff - clothes, toys, baby gear, outerwear, sports equipment, stuffed animals, their own bedding, and on and on it goes. Every Christmas and Birthday makes their collection of stuff explode exponentially. And most hobbies require you to have supplies - at least the crafty ones. I scrapbook, crochet, embroider, sew, paint, and paper craft weekly. What am I supposed to do with all the stuff those things require? I can figure it out....but she should have mentioned these things and worked them into the order of decluttering she plotted out in her book. Most people have these things in their lives!

5. Nor is there enough freedom to follow her coming home routine when you have kids.
So, Ms. Kondo has this crazy-town routine she does when she gets home every day. She says hello to her home, starts some tea, unpacks her entire purse and puts all of its contents away (thanking each thing for their service as she does). She says that this only takes her 5 minutes, and her life is well organized and neat for doing this, but...when I walk in the door? I have three kids in tow. I have three hats and three jackets and 6 mittens to wrangle off them and store. I have eight shoes to take off while also trying not to step in snow piles and get wet socks, while one is crying to nurse, one is asking for a snack, and one is asking which video game he can play. Walking in the house after being out is chaotic. Probably one of the most chaotic things in my life at the moment. There is NO WAY I can take the time to empty and refill my purse every single day. Not only is there no time for it, I would never be able to fill and grab my purse when we need to leave the house for school pickups. I would forget everything!

6. She's a little bit cray.
I mean, you read #5, right? She talks to her house. She talks to all of the items in it. When she gets rid of something or gifts it away, she thanks it first. She told a story about sending a text message to her old phone when she replaced it, thanking it for all it did, and then it immediately shut down and died like it was pardoned. When she works with clients, she kneels inside their home and listens to it to hear what it wants done. And the way she stores and organize her items is, quite honestly, a bit OCD. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but I'm also not saying she doesn't have an undiagnosed personality disorder.

7. I wish I had the time and freedom in my life to follow her practices, but I don't.
The truth is, between the obligations of my daily life, I don't have enough time to go through her method. The day I went through my shirts and pants took ALL. DAY. LONG. I have three kids to tend to between projects, many MANY trips outside of the house, meals to cook, bums to wipe, and daily chores like dishes and laundry to keep up with. Even if I totally eliminated all of my hobbies until it was done, there's no way I could get it done in as little time as she suggests it should take. I have kids! Three of them! She really doesn't consider that. And even after all the work is done? Maintaining it is also difficult. I'm sure it would be easier than the way my life is currently set up, but I could never be as flawlessly organized as she would like her clients to be.

All that said, it's a great method, and I'm still applying the main principals to my house here and there. The clothes organization is huge, and working, and I really love it!

Have you tried this method? What are your thoughts?

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