Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

By Kay Gardiner
January 13, 2019

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  • I’ve been enjoying the series this past week and am several episodes into it. Had read her books in the past and used some of her techniques and philosophies. The show is sweet, but totally only skims the surface of the work involved. What I do appreciate is the mental approach to so much of the process… and seeing others sort through their own issues (no pun intended) has been resonating with me. Another reason I’m enjoying it is that it’s timely, as we’re downsizing again in a few months. I’ll take all the motivation I can get!

  • My place is beyond disaster thanks to insane circumstances, so I was thrilled to see the video depict places worse than mine & beyond even my nightmares. Tho I if I could bear the embarrassment, I’d love for Marie to come over and do it for me! I bet they get paid too….. Talk about incentive!

  • I watched a few episodes yesterday, and I am wondering what went on behind the scenes for some of these people. On the Hoarder type shows, they talk about why the person does what they do and show the emotional struggle that goes with getting rid of their stuff. You don’t see any of that on the Marie Kondo show. It does show the person living in clutter in a kinder light, but I think that if getting rid of one’s stuff was so easy, everyone would do it. I am inspired to sort through my own mountain of clothes after watching—I’m going to start Monday morning, so wish me luck!

  • Last weekend Hubbo and I went to Goodwill to drop off some books, and we found ten cars ahead of us, and the donation trailers closed up, with drifts of donations around the trailers. Turns out we were witnessing a phenomenon happening all over the place: KonMari Fever. Here’s the Washington Post article about it: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/lifestyle/home/the-tidying-tide-marie-kondo-effect-hits-sock-drawers-and-consignment-stores/2019/01/10/234e0b62-1378-11e9-803c-4ef28312c8b9_story.html

    • Though they are trying to blame Konmari for this, it is also Week 2 of the January Cure…

  • My method for my closet is
    1. Shove everything in the closet.
    2.Close the door, or as close as you can.
    3. Sit down and knit while watching other people explain their lifelong desire to clean and straighten.
    Now what did I do with my size 6 dpns ????

    • Thumbs up!

    • This could follow the same trend as cooking shows, where people spend more time watching the shows than cooking. I have roughly seven hot zones in my house that need some Kondo-izing. Maybe the show could keep me company while I declutter?

    • Are we twins??? 😀

  • That’s all very nice, but if you don’t deal with the psychological issues that sparked the hoarding (& that’s what this level of clutter is) in the first place, all you’ve done is rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The acquisitions & the clutter will be back before the next episode drops.

  • I’ve watched three episodes and after each one, I’ve cleaned out either a drawer or a cupboard.. It’s kind of addicting and will accomplish my clutter one drawer and closest st a time.

  • Our family has been going through a “general gradual downsizing.” Some things are easier for me to tackle – I recently got rid of ALL of my knitting magazine hoard, and I don’t even miss it. I think I kept the first magazine I bought and maybe a few more. For some reason the yarn and needles are harder to deal with.
    I like Kondo’s mindset and approach to downsizing – it makes you think about your stuff and what it’s doing (or not doing) for you.

  • Please do not belittle the mental illness that is hoarding by calling the level of clutter in these homes by that name. These people were overwhelmed, but rational about their situation and their abilities to get out of it (with some assistance). No one was having panic attacks or crying or damaging their relationship with family and friends because of the state of their home. No one was endangering their health. Their homes weren’t magazine pretty, or efficient, but they were functioning residences.

    I think the strength of the Marie Kondo show (and approach overall) is that she is completely non judgmental about the fact that people have let the amount of things that they own get out of control. She honors the love that people have for their things, and uses that emotion to encourage them to have a mindful relationship with their possessions, which will necessarily involve not having so many that it causes stress.

    That said, I have been amused by the moaning and wailing of booklovers at the idea that anyone could believe they have too many books. Yes, you can have an unhealthy relationship with books. I have always like the vampire legend (Polish?) that tools which remain unused for three years can become vampires and harm you. This allows me to call decluttering vampire hunting. My life was vastly improved when I realized that some of my books were vampires.

    I took a psychology course with a professor who was an ADHD researcher. He pointed out that studies have shown that the prevalence of ADHD symptoms are fairly constant around the world, but that it is only a crisis in the US because those symptoms are seen as moral failures. We tie our hands behind our backs in the fight against addiction and obesity for the same reasons.

    • Now that is truly a class that I would love to take ❤️

    • I just want to say I really liked your reply, it was so well-thought out and I agree with you on lots of it. Id never heard that ADHD/USA point though. Thanks for sharing!

  • You are always one step ahead of me. I’m beginning to learn how to use my journal and now I’m facing the clutter. Since I plan to move out of state within the next year, this is perfect but so is MDK ❤️

  • I ran across that series while browsing and later my 10 year old granddaughter saw it too. She was mesmerized but rather than use the advice to “tidy” her room I think the taste of hoarding captured her attention. I learned some cool advice that I am looking forward to putting into practice.

  • I have her books but the series is motivating me to *really* do it. Clothes and books are done, paper is next. Does the yarn stash fall under the classification of Sentimental?

  • Years ago BBC had a show called “How Clean is Your House” which is similar to this one but with more humor and attitude. You can still catch these shows on YouTube.

  • No, no and no. My house might be a bit messy and cluttered… but its my home. The items which I own and treasure all have meaning to me – some have been inherited and while they may not be worth a bean in financial terms, they mean the world to me. And she advocates only owning 30 books. I mean… REALLY???

  • My personal decluttering project for 2019 is destashing. I have put ALL my yarn out on my dining room table and chairs and I am sorting through, deciding what is worthy of some upcoming projects and what could be given to my newly-knitting neighbor (I taught him a couple months ago and he is loving it, knitting in public as much as he can – I’m so happy for this!) I haven’t decided what to do with the yarn that doesn’t make it into one of those 2 piles – suggestions?? I am considering going to one of the homeless or women’s shelters in the area to see if they may take a donation of yarn and notions though I know sometimes more *stuff* is not what shelters need.

    Anyway, it’s actually been a fun project – seeing my stash completely laid out, remembering what I had in mind when I bought certain yarns, knowing some projects still percolate for me and some are long dismissed. I am seeing how much I’ve progressed as a knitter over the last few years.

    • Hi Wanda,

      I know that some thrift shops take yarn, and that knitters love to find it in thrift shops.

      I’m lucky that in New York we have Materials for the Arts, a place in Long Island City (Queens) where teachers and artists “shop” for all kinds of donated materials, including yarn and fabric and also craft books. Here’s the link for anyone local: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/mfta/html/home/home.shtml

      It’s a little complicated as they only receive donations on certain days, but I like knowing that my yarn is going somewhere where it will be used, possibly even for educational purposes.

      It occurs to me that we should do a blog post where readers can send in links to good donation places in their area!


      • A blog post on readers’ local donation places – that would be fantastic!

  • I have to add: though I haven’t watched the series, I’ve seen comments about book collections. I consider my book collection part of my overall decorating scheme! We have bookshelves in most rooms in our house, and seeing our books there bring us much joy. Unlike, say, my overloaded closets and cupboards…
    My now-stepson was 5 yrs old when we first met (he is now 14) – he told me recently, “I remember when I first came to your house, I thought you lived in a library!” If only I could…

  • Video of the people actually tidying up those rooms would have been more entertaining.

    • Hoarders often see their issue as a “rescuing” effort. My father saved a lot of things (screws, nuts, bolts, cords, etc) for things that may be needed in the future. It comes from a Depression Era mentality where you hold onto things for a future need.

  • May I suggest an alternative? If you’re open to a slightly unconventional approach and “identifying the traps we waste our energy on, and then designing around them [to create] positive surroundings that get upward-spirals in motion.” sounds appealing (yes, it’s marketing speak, but bear with me) have a look at https://www.ceciliamacaulay.com.au

    Inspiring stuff