Health & Home Review

Maybe Marie Kondo does know what she is talking about.

March 14, 2016

I finally got around to reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. If you have not heard of her, she is an organizing consultant in Japan who uses some unusual methods, but claims that her clients have a zero percent rebound rate. Her methods include organizing and sorting by category instead of by room, thanking your belongings for being useful to you, and releasing the items that have served their purpose and no longer bring you joy.  That’s right, one of the biggest take aways from the book are only keeping items that “spark joy” within you. My husband noted sarcastically that none of his underwear brings him joy, but you can’t go throwing out all of your underwear. While he does make a good point, I can tell you that Marie Kondo would say to throw away any underwear that you find uncomfortable or that is old with busted elastic!

Although I enjoyed the book, my first impression was that this book did not really take into account family life. It does seem to be more practically geared toward someone who lives alone. It is probably hard to fully commit to this method if it is not something that all of  your family members are interested in doing too. I also  realized that my room by room method is something that Kondo frowns upon as ineffective in the long term. This struck a chord with me, as I remembered how hard I worked on organizing each room in our home last summer, only to find things in disarray again once I returned to work. Kondo’s reasoning is that if you organize room by room, you will not realize how many belonging you actually have because they are all stored in different places around your home. Despite my skepticism, I can see Kondo’s  point there.

I decided to do a little experiment and “konmari” my beauty supplies. I love samples and trying new products, which means that I have amassed quite a stock of make up and hair products. Some have worked well for me, and others have not. As I searched my home, I found some products stored in my travel kit, some in a bin in my closet, and some on various shelves in my bathroom cabinet. I dumped everyhing out onto my bed and it hit  me how much money I’ve wasted trying new products. Because I spent money on them, I kept them because it felt like a waste to throw them away. Then I realized that I will literally never use some of these things. Ever. If a lipstick just isn’t a good color on me, it never will be, and it will continue to take up space in my house. Using this method, I ruthlessly eliminated any hair and make up supplies that did not work well for me, and only kept my favorites. Although I was tempted to put a few things aside to see if anyone wanted them, I restrained myself from doing so. If you find something that you specifically think a friend or family member might like, Kondo allows you to set it aside. However, she cautions you not to burden friends and family with things you are just trying to get rid of.  Nothing fit the category of something I knew someone could use- so away it went! I paired down my beauty supplies so that everything I actually use fits in my travel kit, which now lives in the bathroom cabinet. Hair stuff has gone from three containers to one, and I rounded up all my hair ties and bobby pins into a small bag. Everything I use now lives in one place, and I know exactly where everything is. If you’ve ever seen the tiny bedroom my husband and I share (and soon we’ll have a bassinet in there too!),  you realize how huge this accomplishment is as far as making space!

Having tried this method for one category of my belongings, I can definitely see the effectiveness of it. I  like that Marie Kondo discourages you from spending a ton of money on organizational bins and knick knacks, as she believes this will only cause you too hold on to more things that you don’t need. I’m probably not going to thank my socks and my purse for all of their hard work, but I will try to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness for what I do have, and try not to fall into the trap of buying things I don’t need. I don’t know that sorting through every category in my home is a practical choice for me right now (sorting clothes at nearly 30 weeks pregnant is probably not the best judgment call), but after having success with one category, I may try it with a few others. My husband and I own probably about 500 or more books. Perhaps we can pair this down a bit and put a few boxes aside for the church rummage sale! If you are at all interested in organizing, I recommend that you read this book. Although I am sure it is more effective if you follow it to to the letter, you can just take what advice seems practical for you. I am glad I tried this method for myself. I have definitely learned some things that I want to keep in mind for the future. I am nesting like crazy right now, so I am wondering what else I can organize next. Although its unrealistic, I want to bring baby home to a perfectly organized house. I think my lack of control over anything in this pregnancy is making me seek control of my home or something!

I hope everyone has a happy Monday and eats some pie! Did you know that its Pi Day? Were living in a construction zone with furniture and baby gear everywhere right now, so I won’t be baking. I wonder if I can tempt my husband to take me to the diner for a Pi date later? The man loves his pie, so I think I have a good chance at succeeding!

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