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? 

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What Marie Kondo Didn't Tell Me

 

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

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  1. I haven’t watched her programme but since January I’ve been decluttering our home in preparation for the baby’s arrival. I just tackled it room by room. My hubby and I set aside a couple of hours each week and got stuck in. Particularly easier in the winter when it’s miserable outside! We’ve got rid of a lot of stuff and it’s just a case of keeping on top of things.

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    1. First of all, congrats on the upcoming arrival! That’s great incentive for getting organized. We had to replace a massive deck and rented a dumpster the year before last and got rid of a lot of unrecyclable things. I still have along way to go!
      Thanks, Rachel!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. For us in the UK a tip is a recycling and rubbish centre. Basically it’s included in your council tax so free to use. You take along whatever you can’t get in your rubbish bins – there’s an area for garden waste, recycling (broken down into further sections, plastics, wood, paper etc) an electricals section and so on. Really handy but not so much if you don’t have a car!

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  2. What I’m impressed with is how she’s building such an empire on this whole organization thing. You can pay to be a certified KonMari consultant – and then go out into your world and get paid for fixing others’ homes. It’s been interesting to watch her over the years – great marketing instincts.
    Like your own “what we should ask ourselves” list
    (Snow at Grand Canyon over the weekend?…Trail Ridge is never gonna open at this rate)

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    1. I didn’t realize she had consultants! I love her stacking idea and getting rid of stuff you don’t love, but love waaaaay too many things. LOL!

      I didn’t hear that about the Grand Canyon! Our creeks are still low since the runoff hasn’t started. Rafting companies think they’ll be working into September! We skied last weekend and couldn’t believe how much snow is on the mountain. No bare spots! There’s a good chance snow will still lay in areas come next ski season! We’re are 240% of normal snowpack.
      Thanks, Phil!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so true! I wonder if people have kept up with the clothes folding. The only thing I can say is that if you get rid of a ton of things that are not clothes, it should be easy not to refill it. Clothes are definitely the hard thing as you always buy more clothes whether you need them or not.

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    1. I’m an organized person but I have TWO laundry baskets to put away. 🙂
      You’re right about clothes. Now that I’ve pitched quite a few, I’ve made a list of what I need! I haven’t gone through my dresses. It’s a great time of year for garage sales, so I may box up a lot of extra stuff and sell it!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I would deem that laundry basket origami 🙂 as for closets and drawers that hold clothes I never knew that I still had, like blue jeans and trousers from 1983 when I was a size 30. It all went to the goodwill industries. I don’t know if I could reside in a Condo, unless it had a lot of living space, and an attached car garage. Now the Garage is where I need the Marie Kondo Magic and Advice.

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    1. We attacked our garage and a few rooms when we rented a dumpster a couple of years ago while replacing a huge deck. I couldn’t believe we had hung onto so much junk. Hopefully, I’ll get motivated to keep going. I think it comes down to sentimental value and not wanting to let things go you might need some day. Almost everything in my house is in that category and I still should pare down. 🙂
      Thanks, Brock!

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  5. I tend to get new clothes as my old ones wear out or no longer fit, getting rid of what no longer works about once a year or so. As for stuff, I tend to be able to go through clutter more easily after I’ve been away, spending time in rooms that are neat and uncluttered. But I live with 2 guys who have ADHD, dyslexia, and anxiety, who can’t let anything go, and couldn’t organize a space and keep it that way if their life depended on it. It’s beyond frustrating.

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    1. It must be hard to have to pick up after everyone. I’m the organizer of the family, but used to garage sale on the weekends. I should have my own sale this summer. I place too much sentimental value in so much of what I own or feel like I’ll need it some day. Luckily, I’m not a huge consumer and don’t spend a lot of time shopping. I stopped garage saling a few years ago, thank God!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe she talks about guilt in her book? (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up)

    Or maybe she doesn’t, because talking about guilt doesn’t “spark joy”. 😂

    Before Marie, the common advice was, “If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it.” I’m sure that policy can be applied to the rest of your house, too. (*Not responsible for “but what if I need it next year?!” related guilt.)

    Also be sure that you don’t get rid of essentials, or you’ll be trotting off to the store on a Sunday afternoon just for a plunger. 🤦

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    1. Hahaha! You’re right. I haven’t used a plunger for over a year.
      I haven’t read her book, but imagine it’s pretty joyful since it was on the NYT bestseller list forever and sold over 6 million copies! Too much guilt, too little time. LOL!
      Thanks for weighing in, Daya!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Susie! I really needed to read this post. I’ve had all those feelings about hanging onto clothes I hate but can’t throw out because I paid a lot for them or those pants that hang for years waiting for me to get slimmer. Not going to happen! I’m more encouraged now to deal with the clutter.

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    1. That is most excellent, Anneli! I officially relieve you of having to thank them before you pitch them out. 🙂
      Marie is right though. It does feel better to pare down my closet. Who knows? Maybe I’ll put away my laundry today. I have two baskets now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s inspiring to read that others have the same problems, and even more inspiring to get some pointers on what to do about it. This morning I found myself asking some of my clothes if they’ve made me happy. (Imagine! Talking to my clothes! And it’s all your fault.) 😉

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        1. Hahahaha! Sorry about that. I ran across another blog post today addressing the same guilt issue. We are not alone! I have a long way to go but at least I finally folded my laundry last night. 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Good luck with this, Susie! I never throw anything out, even after I’ve bought something to supposedly replace it. It does get a little embarrasing when we’re looking through photo ablums and I’m wearing the same shirt that’s in a photo from 20+ years ago. Oh well.

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  9. We moved. I got rid of stuff before we moved, and then I wondered, “Why the hell did I bring this?” This being something I would never need. I have more boxes to get rid of. And, I can’t find things I need. We tried to downsize and instead bought a bigger house. Ha! Jokes on me. But, I’ve gotten rid of a ton and mostly feel good about it. I claim not to be OCD. I toss my panties in a drawer without folding them – EVER! But, I do have and always have had, a color-coded closet. WInky wink!

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    1. So great to “see” you, Sheri! (((hugs)))
      I used to work retail so my closet is color coded too. Saves a lot of time.
      You have a growing family! You’ll like the extra rooms to host the whole family for holidays.

      I’ve always been pretty organized since I hate misplacing things. That said, you would laugh if you looked at my storage spaces, pantry, and closets. This post has reignited my desire to continue to go through my stuff and “tidy up.”
      I think my whole problem is thinking the item in question will be of use some day like the giant aquarium in the basement I use when finding a snake in the house. LOL! It’s wild out here in Niwot!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t checked out her Netflix series yet, but I’ve been meaning to. Thanks for lending a different perspective to things- I never would’ve given thought to these points!

    I uprooted and moved in September from New York to Seattle, and I didn’t take anything that wouldn’t fit in my car. That was my version of the KonMarie method. 😂However I have bought quite a bit more things since I’ve moved. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Lol

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    1. As long is it sparks joy! 🙂 I love that you were forced into paring down. I need to let things gooooooooo!
      I think we try to make our homes comfortable and welcoming and that is different for everyone. Some people prefer minimalism while others pack houses full of souvenirs! I’m somewhere in between but have a long way to go before emptying all the stuff I’ll never use.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe one day we’ll both be able to look back and see all the progress we made! I remember unloading tons of boxes and bags of stuff from my old home into donation bins before I left. It was rather stressful! And I don’t remember any of what I got rid of, so I suppose I don’t miss it! 😄

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  11. Never hear of Marie Kondo….MK? (Spidernan) Mary K.? lol
    I am currently working on organizing my house. I have a house cleaner. She and I are good friends. I hire her an extra 2 hours a month to work on a project in the house. Last time it was the kitchen shelves and counter and kitchen table. You they look nice, at least, much nicer. But to tackle the entire house for a whole month? nope…
    I do think it sounds nice.
    I believe that they don’t show the later folks when things don’t work out long term. Sure MK may still do it. She is making a lot of money at it and needs to keep the appearance up. Let her get some more years on her and a few physical problems…she will not be sooooo neat.

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    1. LOL! You might be right, Scott!
      I love the idea of tackling a project once a month for two hours. That seems like a reasonable amount of time. Any progress is progress! Clothes are a constant battle, but a kitchen could be organized once and done!
      Have a fabulous clutter-free Tuesday. Always great to “see” you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s tough! I have some collections I enjoy seeing and wouldn’t part with. It’s the stuff that’s put away in armoirs or closets that should be pitched. You can tell I’m getting right on it. LOL! Good luck with yours, Emily! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is NOT one of her “things” – it’s a gross misunderstanding of something she said, which was basically to keep the books that are meaningful to you, and in her case, it’s worked out to less than 30 books for her personally. She’s all about keeping whatever adds value to your life, and pitching what doesn’t. You can keep it all, if it makes sense for you.

        I like that sentiment. I am NOT down with folding all my clothes in little rectangles and stacking them in a drawer. I keep all my clothes hanging in the closet as it’s easier for me. Only underwear goes in drawers.

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        1. Hey Gina! I think a few people had that impression about the books so thanks for your input.

          The greatest gift from Marie Kondo is making us aware of clutter. I’m super organized, but still have a few of my kids favorite clothes hanging in closets. Why? Their kids aren’t going to wear them. It’s sentimentality that is my curse. I have way too many feels when it comes to stuff. I am good at getting rid of things that make me feel bad but I have a long way to go!

          Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I read the book and watched the show and enjoyed. I had a hard time holding a few items and wishing well. Or even does it bring me joy or just do the job that needs to be done? Even before the book I constantly had (still have) a bag in my bedroom for goodwill. You’re right will be interesting to see how this goes down long term.

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    1. Right? I have always been bad about getting rid of clothes, but since this is my year of change, I’m making a solid attempt! I finally folded and put away my laundry. A baby step in the right direction.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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  13. Like you, I am half-hearted about Marie Kondo’s system/method/whatever the heck it is. She insists that you only have to do her clean out “does it bring me joy?” thing to the house once and that you will never ever have to do this again (it’s one of the things that had me grinding my teeth as I read her book), but you definitely have to maintain things and that is not small feat. I’ve also had lots of thoughts pop up watching her show. As a writer, I need books and papers, and these are things she clearly doesn’t value At All. I am trying to incorporate the ideas she shares that I can and not worry about the rest. She is clearly a minimalist while many of us need abundance to feel comfortable and happy. Not that I don’t have things I need to get rid of to make my life easier, but I’m not sure I can do it the way she suggests.

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    1. I totally agree, Kit! It’s too extreme for me. I can’t imagine living under those strict rules of joyful living. LOL!

      I’ve always hung my clothes by color and am pretty organized, but I need to get rid of stuff I’m not using. Like you, I have tons of books and paper. There are definitely some books that don’t bring joy that could find their way into the used book sale this summer, but I won’t limit myself.
      Thanks for the input, Kit!

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  14. Organizing makes me want to do three things; cringe, laugh uncontrollably or curl in a ball and cry. I packed up and moved cross country in 2015. I did downsize before moving. However, I have not completely unpacked. I did the temporary housing with a storage unit. Then moved into a house in 2016 that is still under renovation. I have established my main go to’s in regards to having a functioning house during a renovation. Everything else is either a surprise of wow I have this or what the heck why do I have this. I try to keep perspective and remember to live life as fully as possible. This includes evaluating time savers and time wasters. I have resolved to cleaning up and clearing out at least 2 if not 3 times a year. This includes donating or recycling as much as I can too. Here’s to a Healthy and Happy Life!!!

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    1. Oooh! That’s great to hear, Renee! I remember when you moved. Better to have things still in boxes then helter skelter throughout your house like mine! LOL!

      I love this – “Wow I have this or what the heck why do I have this.” I can relate!
      I also love your idea of tackling it in stages. For me, it’s one closet at a time…

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  15. It’s amazing how there is such cultural yearning for something like Marie Kondo’s system. I have been frustrated by my tidying/purging efforts over the years because I get used to where things are and when I rearrange them I CAN NEVER FIND ANYTHING! Plus I ALWAYS have the experience of needing something (even an unusual, little-used) something) as soon as I throw it away.

    That said, I am trying to unburden myself of unneeded physical objects because I really don’t want anyone to have to deal with my crap after I die. I had to do that for my parents and it was NOT fun.

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  16. It sounds like a nice idea with a good theory but like you say ‘who has the time’ and it sounds like an ongoing project that never ends. If you’ve got space for stuff then it’s perfectly okay to have things that you don’t use constantly. It’s when you don’t have the space that you need to do something. We emptied our whole house of everything acquired over 30 years before we starting travelling and got rid of 99% of stuff. Not easy but very therapeutic.

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    1. I bet it was a good feeling to let things go. I would love to pare down, clean out closets, and storage spaces. With less junk, it’s easier to find what I’m looking for! Do you ever miss living in your own home?

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      1. No not at all. We’ve never been into material things so love just having what we can carry. Wherever we are together is home these days. Mire if a feeling than a location.

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  17. I never was into viewing shoe collections, however twice I was abducted by blondes and led into their walk – in wardrobe closets by the hand for mysterious Expeditions. After that I made it a point to ask then first if they by any chance happened to have one.

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  18. I’ve never seen the program itself but I watched a few YouTube videos about it a while back. A couple years ago I started folding my clothes in this method and I could honestly say that I like this a lot better than I how I was doing it before!

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