3 key takeaways from "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" and the life-changing magic of home organization

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Are you experiencing the “magic” of organizing your home? A few years ago Japanese author Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her book about finding joy in our possessions. She’s at it again with a Netflix series called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

Three key takeaways to tidying up

References to Kondo's work are all over social and mainstream media since the show debuted January 1. Everywhere I go people want to know what I think about the show and the KonMarie method. There is a lot I love about Marie’s approach — she is warm, spunky and entertaining — and the show is fun. The three best takeaways from both the book and the television series are:

  1. Our homes should be a sanctuary of peace: if they are filled with items that we don’t truly love or that don't serve a useful purpose for us, they become a source of stress instead of comfort.

  2. It may seem a bit like over-kill, but it’s vitally important to really look at every single item you own and determine its current value to your life. Sometimes things have been in our homes for so long we don’t even “see” them anymore; when we take a close look we realize it’s time to let some of them go.

  3. When you have only what you truly need and love in your home, you are better able to establish systems to manage what you have, to find what you need when you need it, and to fully enjoy your space.

But what about those books?

Marie sparked a lot of controversy in one episode when she discussed the homeowners’ book collection. Book lovers around the world revolted as if she’d suggested donating all clothing and living naked for the rest of life (actually, I think some people would sooner do that than give away books!). But remember, the point is to keep what you LOVE—this article tries to set the record straight—and if your books bring you joy, then both Marie and I want you to keep them!

Caution: things may not be as they seem on television

My main concern with the Netflix series is viewers get an unrealistic picture of the time and energy involved in creating a home that supports you where you are now in life. Each episode takes place over a month or so, with Marie visiting the home weekly to check-in on the progress made since her last session. But I don’t think the clients can possibly be working full time, or doing much of anything in life, other than focusing on de-cluttering their homes. In my experience this isn’t reality for most people. Regular life must go on while in the tidying process.

As you watch the series and begin implementing the suggestions in your own home, remember to go at your own pace. It probably took a long time for clutter to accumulate and it won’t disappear overnight. When you need a little break from your efforts, check out these good natured Marie Kondo memes circulating in cyberspace:

My approach to joy

I was surprised to see Marie takes a very hands-off approach with families. She is friendly and offers instruction and motivation, but does not spend a lot of time assisting with the tasks. One of my favorite things is working side-by-side with clients, teaching them techniques and cheering them on as we transform chaos into calm. But that’s okay. After all, Marie and I are each doing our jobs in the way that sparks joy for us; and nothing about joy is one-size-fits-all.

If you're ready to to take the next step in creating change in your home, drop me a note and let's talk about we can spark joy together.

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