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Things I like about the KonMari method and watching the show:

  • I like that she focus’ on what you want to keep rather than what you should get rid of.

  • I like the way she folds. That was my biggest takeaway from her book. I fold some of my clothes like this and teach clients to (if they’d like to).

  • Her positive energy is great! She is joyful, positive, and instills confidence.

  • I agree with handling sentimental items last.

  • I like that they highlight the relief and creativity returning to clients after decluttering. I love to see that in my clients as well.

  • Spark Joy; Her main tenant. I agree that what you keep you should enjoy. For some clients EVERYTHING sparks joy (which is why they have so much) so there is a need to go deeper. I can definitely see how this applies well to clothing.

Do Your Belongings Spark Joy Or Are They Lit?

Get it? In other words, do you think your belongings are LIT?  Lit is a current word that means something is really good, intense, fun, or exciting. (Yes I have a teenager.)

With Americans everywhere asking themselves, "Does this spark joy?" so I thought I'd coin a new, trendy phrase. Do you think it will catch on? Probs Not. (Whoops, I slipped into teen jargon again!)

If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me fill you in. Since January, Marie Kondo's new Netflix show, Tidying Up has been causing quite a buzz. I have watched a few episodes and read Marie's first book a few years back. It is interesting revisiting this method years after I read her book and after I became a CPO®. I thought I’d explore where KonMari and TSO methodologies meet and diverge. No right or wrong with each, just unique. Each organizer is a unique person so we all have our own experiences and education that has formed our opinions.

In a recent article from the StarTribune, people are changing shopping habits to ask, ‘Does this spark joy?’ before they purchase. This is great awareness. One of the easiest ways to head towards less clutter is to not even let the items in the door. When my clients tell me they have a hard time resisting sales I remind them, “It’s 100% off if you don’t buy it!” You can’t beat that deal.

The sparking joy trend that Marie Kondo has inspired is needed in our post-modern society. It's sparking reflection on how we live our lives and what we value. Do we value our time? People? Rest? Peace? The amount of belongings we manage impacts all those things. Many people are digging a little deeper into their life, their habits, their environment and their STUFF to realize there is hope. We don't need to live overwhelmed by "stuff". There's hope. So kudos to you, Marie. Well done!

Where TSO diverges from the KonMari method:

  • I have on occasion sort/purged by category with clients. This can work well, particularly with clothes. She does not seem to be concerned that you review all your pants at once, whereas I find it helpful for clients to review by type with clothes. This helps them see they have 10 pair of black pants so they can pair down. Of course this is a bit more of a practical approach verses spark joy approach. What would happen if no black pants sparked joy - they'd end up with none and need to shop!

  • She thanks the possessions for their service. While I’m not ready to take up Anthropomorphism I do use similar language when talking to clients. I tell them that the item has served it purpose. It had it's season. Gifts we receive have served a purpose too, even if we never use them. Most possessions are for a point in time, not to keep forever.

Oh, The Questions!

Since I've only been exposed to some of her style and teaching, I have many questions:

  • It seems that she consults, but doesn’t coach (which I do). This might be a misconception because we’re just seeing a slice of this process on the show. If clients get stuck, how does she help them overcome?

  • Does she only work with clients on whole house “tidying”? She has a specific order so I wondered if they just want to do one room what she would say? Is this wrong for her method?

  • How does she view the organizing industry in the US? Organizing as a profession has been around for decades. NAPO started in 1983. Was this an influence at all for her?

  • How does organizing in the US differ from Japan?

  • Does she help people who hoard?

  • Does she ever work with therapists to solve the underlying issues of clutter? Does she believe her method solves the underlying issues?

  • Have her methods been proven to be sustainable over long periods? No need for maintenance sessions with some clients? (I read an article that stated ‘According to Japanese tidying consultant Marie Kondo, “everyone who completes the KonMari Method has successfully kept their house in order”’. The Sydney Morning Herald, January 31,2019)

  • Does she ever do the hands-on work with clients or is it mostly consultative like on the show and clients do most of the work on their own in between?

  • How is she getting clients to commit to SO much time for this process in the midst of the rest of life? It seems very intense.

  • How does she recommend clients discard items? Does she give them donation and disposal resources or are they on their own? Often-times what keeps clients stuck is not knowing how to “properly” get rid of an item. They are stuck in the ideal place for each unwanted item to go. Fun fact: Mottainai is an environmental regret in Japan. It is a call to “reflect on waste and take action to reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.”