‘the life-changing magic of tidying up!’
by marie kondo

a vision of the konmari-method

japanese marie kondo conquers the world with her book ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up!”. considering the tremendous success she is clearly fulfilling a need. simultaneously she is publicizing the profession of professional organizer. where today’s scarcity is ‘time’ rather than ‘belongings’ one should surely be organized to keep all balls in the air. next to the regained physical space kondo mentions a change in behavior as well as new opportunities as the main side effects of her clean-up.

the book counts 200 pages and is packed with practical advice on how to proceed. besides the familiar guidelines she has a unique approach which she called the ‘konmari’-method. as an example she will teach you how to fold your laundry to stand upright in your drawer. and, with the practice comes a philosophy. it is all about the question if something sparks joy or not?

who is marie kondo, what is her approach and what do we think of it?

marie kondo source: youtube

as in the case of many organizers the ‘organizing’ is in marie’s blood. as a middle child of three, she tried to get the attention and approval of her parents by indulging them. her own refuge was in things that were dear to her, not in quantity but in quality. her belongings gave her the unconditional love she was longing for. they also gave her self-confidence which eventually enabled her to open up. today that is her mission: to help people who feel as she once did.

the core of her method comes from this emotional background, i.e. to ask yourself with every single item ‘does it spark joy?’. after reading her book, or even articles like this, this question endures and helps in the decision making of throwing something away or not. as a matter of fact, the question goes beyond belongings! moreover, kondo mentions reciprocity: you should also bring joy to your belongings. she tells you to greet your house when coming home and to thank your clothes after wearing them. sometimes that philosophical side does not seem entirely practical. therefor it is more about the cherishing. after all, it is not likely that a mother of young children will prioritize the daily emptying of her purse to give it a rest.

it is that practical side that hides the hazard. marie kondo’s starting point is very much that of her own situation and being. other situations or personalities benefit less from her method. what may be chaos for one, might be inspiring for another. what may be convenient for one, may not be the same for another. as far as one could expect the book is missing this nuance.

the same for her approach. marie kondo organizes items by category. she starts by collecting all items from one category. if something from that same category is found at a later point in time it may not be added, but is doomed to the garbage pile just like that. she actually admits: “I can be quite ruthless”. as far as kondo concerns many things can be thrown away, from manuals to paychecks. in her opinion all can be retrieved or bought again if it is really needed. wether this is useful and fits in the scope of sustainability is questionable.

summarized marie kondo is giving plenty of useful advice. her philosophy in particular holds a large element of truth. both, advice and philosophy, will help you to make choices and to cherish your belongings (and relationships!). at the same time you will need to filter, keeping sight of daily practice. with a bit of marie and a bit of yourself best results will be achieved. and if you cannot or do not want to do it on your own many professional organizers can help to get the job done.

sophie timmermans
owner   h o m e   w o r k   t i m e

april 2015

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