What Marie Kondo Didn’t Tell Me

Are you familiar with the KonMari Method organizing revolution? I watched a couple of episodes on Netflix and soon became skeptical of what Marie Kondo didn’t tell me.

I first time I heard Marie Kondo’s name mentioned was in an awe-inspiring way by my daughter, Courtney, and my son’s girlfriend, Leksy. Since I’m a packrat of the sparkly object variety, I didn’t jump on the KonMari bandwagon, filled with heaps of discards for donation, right away. Then I observed her method of organization in their bedrooms. Whoa!

Apparently, her books on tidying and sparking joy have sold over eleven million copies. I had to watch the show.

Petite and exuding lots of positive energy, Marie descended on a house quite literally, by prostrating herself on the floor and thanking it for providing shelter for its residents. Then she showed her clients how to organize shelves, drawers, and closets, and taught the origami clothes folding technique.

Every time the client held something in their hands that didn’t spark joy, they were instructed to thank it and then toss it into a pile of rejects.

Then she moved onto other disaster areas in the home; books, papers, and miscellaneous clutter including photos, *gulp* junk drawers, kitchen, bathrooms, you get my drift.

Like I suspected, this technique would take tons of time. Who has extra time? I wondered if it would be worth it. There had to be a hiccup, a drawback, or a few landmines in this masterful theory of tidying up. There was only one way to find out. I dismissed my negativity and got started.

With visions of the girls’ perfect drawers in mind, I rifled through my clothes then reloaded my closet like a Gap employee after shotgunning six Red Bulls.

KonMari drawer example. What Marie Kondo didn't tell me! Click for a funny look at a serious new lifestyle.

Needless to say, my drawers are lookin’ good. My closet is somewhat pared down and my shelves are glorious, BUT I did have some lingering thoughts and questions:

One of the prevailing customs in the Marie Kondo lifestyle is to thank the item for its joy before adding it to the pile of castoffs ready for donation.

1. What if your clothes don’t deserve a thank you?

Yeah, I have a few items I bought deserve a sarcastic, “Thanks a whole hell of a lot.”

  • The shirt I bought in a huge hurry that never fit me well and is way too long.
  • The jacket that was super expensive so I kept it around because, well it was expensive. Think of the guilt I experienced every time I looked at it. It didn’t bring me joy, at all.
  • The jeans that shrunk after I washed them. Once every few months I would cram my body into them just to see if they would miraculously fit. Unfortunately, as a human, I occasionally need to breathe. Those nasty jeans body-shamed me every time I saw the flab that rolled above the waistline. Nope. No joy from them either.

2. Where did everything go?

The Marie Kondo organization saves time if I can remember where I put everything. My drawers look great, but I switched everything around. Where are my sweat pants again? It’s been two weeks and I still have to open a few drawers to find what I’m looking for.

3. What about my empty closet and drawers?

Yeah, so I got rid of my clothes that didn’t give me joy, but now I have to buy new clothes. That will take time and money. Yikes.

4. How do I stop feeling guilty?

I stopped at my closet. Understanding the KonMari method is making me feel guilty about other disorganized areas of my house. Guilt is not joyful.

5. Who has time?

It took over a month for clients to organize their homes. I realize you save time knowing where everything is, (see #2) but it might take years to even out the cost benefit of going through the process. You would cry if you saw my unfinished basement. 

6. Where are the followup episodes?

Are clients still folding everything into neat little rectangles? Have couples disagreed about what brings them joy? Has the strict KonMari method resulted in some unjoyful conversations with family members? “Get your homework done, kids. Then you have six loads of wash to fold and put away or there will be no sleepovers this weekend.”

7. She didn’t talk about the ongoing commitment.

It’s not like KonMari can be done once and you’re finished. Sorry. It has to be adopted for a lifetime. Every load of wash, every book, and piece of paper must be put back with the same care and technique. Sometimes life happens. Piles are created. We’re human, not machines. After going through weeks of reorganization, would slipping back into old patterns become depressing?

Like my clean laundry basket, I still haven’t put away!

Marie Kondo laundry unfolded and waiting.

What we should ask ourselves:

I’ve worn some clothes for a long time. Instead of asking the question, “Does it bring me joy?” Of course it still brings me joy or I wouldn’t have worn it for so long.

Ask yourself, “Do you want to wear this for the next two decades?” If I answer, “No, or hell no,” I toss the old thing.

All I know is my drawers look fantastic. Will I start on other areas in my house? No way. Folding clothes is my limit.

It might be easier to sell the house with everything inside it and start over.

Did you know about the KonMari method or Marie Kondo? Are you a packrat or an organizer or someone in between? 

Click for more adventures on the Wild Ride.

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What Marie Kondo Didn't Tell Me


91 thoughts on “What Marie Kondo Didn’t Tell Me

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  1. She’s a spitfire…but very strict in her guidelines from what I saw. I did try her method as we were moving to our new house anyway. But as a knitter, tatter and crocheter…it would never work full time for me.

    Loved your post!

    I’m starting a consumer reporting blog, similar things to what I read here. I would love some feedback from another person who has done this longer-term!! Advice please…be cruel if need be. Lol


    1. Nice to meet you, Erin!!
      Any lifestyle change that requires strict habits is hard to keep up. We humans aren’t perfect! We get tired, rushed, and speaking for myself, lazy. LOL!

      Here are two posts I wrote with blogging tips. One was #3 for WordPress’s top ten in 2017 – https://susielindau.com/2017/08/16/18-blog-tips-new-ways-promote-blog-increase-traffic/ and one for 2018 focuses on sharing for views – https://susielindau.com/2019/03/28/blogging-tips-for-beginners-and-veterans/


  2. Happy summer…we get more time in summer, don’t we?

    Susie, I am a PACKRAT! and I am married to a packrat. So, I suppose you could say (or write) we are packrat squared. I haven’t watched the shows but we’ve talked about them. We have BIG plans to undo a lot of the packrattedness of our home this summer… so I will keep you posted. Hope all is well in your world – summer begins in a week… 4 more days of students, a workday to pack, clean, and finish – then summer. Have a great day.


    1. Woohoo! Great to see you, Clay!

      The notion of unloading half of my house is so appealing. We filled two huge dumpsters when we replaced an enormous deck and got rid of stuff no one could use, and yet there is still so much to go through! Good luck to you in your summer purge. Let me know how it goes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post, Susie. Nice extrapolation.

    I don’t like bandwagons nor fads, and though there are merits to Marie Kondo’s work, this feels like both to moi.

    What bothers me about this is that hasn’t one’s parents forever told their kids to CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM and THROW or GIVE AWAY THAT WHICH YOU NO LONGER USE?

    Organize your stuff and stop living like unmanaged children ( I hate to say “pigs,” because we used to raise pigs and I never considered them messy–they live in a pen of dirt [or wherever], the mud keeps them cool, and they’re SMART…nowhere does “messy” come into my idea of pigs…).

    And let’s not forget: be GRATEFUL.

    Had your parents never schooled any of these people in this? To be grateful for all you have…for you place in life?

    Granted, for those who didn’t have such positive and nurtured upbringing, yes, I see this…but are there really that many out there not so raised? Perhaps THAT is more scary than all of this….

    So…someone with an non-English accent from a far-away land writes an entire book on this and suddenly it’s a NEW THING?

    There must be some weird innate mechanism where a bunch of individuals want to be a part of some larger apparatus that drives people to fads and bandwagons. It maddens me.

    Why the heck didn’t people do this ON THEIR OWN?

    I will, however, concede to one very salient point that got my attention that I did not see mentioned anywhere and had refined my own actions in this…”theater”…and I’m not sure if it came from the book or show:

    Think about all the work you will leave your heirs when you die.

    Yes, that got my attention.

    I do not want to saddle my family with any such Herculean tasks of going through stuff I have that they wouldn’t want or to simply put them through the the weeks, months, or even years of effort they might have to put in to deal with, with my passing.

    And my stuff largely consists of books.

    Sure there were other things, and I don’t consider that it was a lot, per se (don’t ask my wife…), but still it was stuff I thought I’d use in one way or another as I got older, or had used, but which had gone by the wayside for one reason or the other. So, yes, I did go through all this stuff (at my wife’s insistence)…but it became less of a keep-the-peace chore when I really looked at it from the above POV: think about all the effort you will impose upon those who remain after you’re gone.

    So I weeded out lotsa stuff that I had little chance of ever using again, or changed directions with as the years wore on. Gave it away to Goodwill so that someone else could enjoy and USE what I no longer used.

    Even books.

    Oh, the agony!

    I got rid of books I’d had since a teenager that I’d really liked over the years, and, yes, even reread or referred to in my writing or otherwise, but as I’d grown up, lost the interest in. I still have a wall of books, mind you, but not TWO walls of books. :-]

    I’m not taking issue with the concept that Marie Kondo has made famous, but with the hype and way it has come about. I have gotten rid of things as I’d gone through life, but I really made a concerted effort when my wife hit me that high-concept statement.

    And I wished’ I’d thought of that myself (face slap)!

    I have weeded things out throughout my life, but the closer I get to the end of it, the more importance something like this takes on. But it’s just the weird bandwagon mindset that bugs me. Yes, the message is good, the message is legit, but oy vey, am I bugged about the “celebrity” surrounding all this! Like it’s a totally new idea!

    I do also look at this from a metaphysical POV: how you are on the INSIDE is how you are on the OUTSIDE.

    So this speaks volumes about one’s life if you dig down deep, and I do hope if helps people to truly change their mindsets on so many other levels. Clutter truly comes from within. It affects every other aspect of life. All that we do comes from WITHIN. Period. Clutter is not foisted upon us. It is a product of who we are. So, yes, I would very much love to see followups, as you mentioned. Nice point!

    As to your dirty laundry…I should THINK that would take care of itself as a matter of course…otherwise next time we meet, I WILL be sniffing the airspace surrounding you….

    Good post, Susie, great POVs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahahaha! Love this, Frank!
    I was honestly blown away by the drawer method of organizing like a file cabinet full of t-shirts. Other than that, it was pretty elementary, although, I haven’t seen all of her shows or read her books.

    I totally agree about the herculean act of cleaning up after a loved one dies. My dad and brother died less than two years apart (2016) and my mom, who is eighty-nine, lives in a huge Victorian home filled to the brim with antiques. My dad was an amazing artist and illustrator who never sold anything so that’s another bridge to cross some day.

    My house is jam packed as well. We did get rid of straight-up junk two years ago when we replaced a deck, but I need to keep going and pitch out, donate and organize more stuff. One of my cabinets is filled with old towels for rags. How many rags am I ever going to use? And old answering machines. LOL!

    Great to “see” you, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can see this method being useful for clearing out things you no longer want/need, but it seems a little extreme. We sort of use this concept when moving, which is actually very helpful.


    1. You’re right. It’s pretty basic, really. One pile of trash, one for donation and one to reorganize and put away. I do want to go through a few drawers and random closets filled with stuff for donation. I wonder how long it will take before they are filled again. LOL!

      Thanks, Cynthia!


  6. #6 and #7 I think make a lot of sense.

    I feel like the first 5 leave accountability and control in someone else’s hands.

    Regardless this was an easy read. You’re a great writer.


  7. Ah, a Konskeptic. I like that and really enjoyed your essay. I do love decluttering in my own way, as the spirit moves. But when I skim-read the Kondo book, one thing in particular troubled me: she rarely if ever mentioned recycling or buying less. Poor planet! We westerners have already got far too much stuff and where does the old stuff go? Charity shops are stuffed to the gills with discards already. So are landfills.


    1. Hahaha! Love the Konskeptic term. Yep. That’s me!

      I made a huge pile of clothes to be donated before I wrote this, and then fished through it several times to take items out. It occurred to me that I would have to buy the same things all over again! It’s not like I need fancy new stuff when I’m not going out of the house. Old t-shirts don’t necessarily give me joy, but they keep me from gardening in a bra. LOL!

      I did hear that Goodwill takes clothes and recycles them into all kinds of things like carpet padding.


  8. Had to come revisit this after I saw you mention on Widdershins’ site. I really want, intellectually, to be neat and tidy. My sister read the book and I started Kondoing at that point, and did again when I watched the show, but I just can’t keep it up. It’s exhausting, all that piddly folding.


    1. I can relate, but I keep my drawers a lot neater than they were. Instead of folding, I stuff them side by side. Ha! 🙂 I have a ways to go. I’m good at sorting, but not great at donating my piles. I tend to fish clothes out of my pile.
      Thanks for stopping by, Jay!


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