I have been in purge-mode even before I heard the name Marie Kondo – author, professional organizer, and star of the Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.’ Her self-titled method of organization -KonMari – seems to be the new buzzword of 2019 since the first season of her show debuted on January 1.
After slowly working around the house to find room for the influx of Christmas toys, and after shuttling the kids off to school as winter break commenced, I sat down to some peace, quiet and Netflix. Marie’s new show was the first to pop up and I was ready to get motivated to get this house in order!
Instead, I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes. I did not expect to have an emotional reaction to the show. The show uncovers the chaos and messiness of motherhood. It unearths the marital challenges that come from disorganization and clutter. It exposes the never-ending to-do list of moms that the rest of the family doesn’t notice. It brings to light that untidiness can lead to stress and anxiety. I can relate.
I watched the first 3 episodes and I immediately planned a TV night with the family. I started the kids on episode 3 (a family with two preteens) and my husband on episode 1 (so we could practice folding).
Here are the 5 things I learned from Marie Kondo in just the first 3 episodes:
1. Greet your home. Have you ever felt immediate stress upon walking into your home? I have. Have you ever taken the long route home or added an additional stop just to avoid coming home to the disaster that awaits? I have. Have you ever been brought to tears by the mess in your home? I have. Marie tells each of her clients that she would like to spend a minute greeting their home. She spends a minute or two on her knees doing just that.
So let us take a minute each day to appreciate our homes. Just try it! After the first episode, I got down on my knees and I thanked God for my home. I took the time to point out everything – even the mess – and found a way to be grateful for it. I immediately felt a new appreciation for the place that really is a blessing to our family.
2. Putting all of your material possessions in front of you puts things into perspective. In order to begin the tidying process, Marie starts by bringing all of the same item into one space (i.e. all clothes onto the bed). We recently took out all of the games and blankets in our multipurpose coat closet. It immediately made me think, “Whoa. We have a problem.” You don’t realize how much stuff you really have until it is all out in plain sight before you, occupying horizontal square footage in the middle of your living room floor.
3. Thank each item for what it has done to serve you. I’ve seen so many comments (and even heard one from my husband) that say, “There is NO WAY I’m talking to my clothes.” But y’all, just think about it. What are some of the reasons we hold on to things? 1. They cost us money. 2. We might need it one day. 3. We have had it so long that it’s just kind of … there. Thanking each item that you are giving away helps you to release the item, recognizing that it once served a purpose in your life and now it needs to go elsewhere. It justifies the money you spent on it, the care you took of it, and the space that it occupied in your home for so long. Call me weird, but I kind of like the idea.
4. Respect what each other treasures. In each of the episodes, Marie demonstrates a nonjudgmental approach to tidying (which automatically makes her welcome in my home). She teaches each family to keep what sparks joy and to get rid of what doesn’t. In the first episode, the wife laughs at her husband’s t-shirt choice and Marie kindly tells her not to comment on his pile of clothes as he sorts through them. Marie also encourages one woman to contemplate downsizing her nutcracker collection instead of judging the fact that she has eight thousand of them to display at Christmas. And as one wife complained about her husband wanting to keep memorabilia that served no purpose, Marie offered to find a special place for it. She commented that it is important for each of us to respect what brings others joy. (I need to go apologize to my husband over some comments I recently made regarding some things in his “keep” pile).
5. It’s not just a lifestyle change, but a complete mind reset for the whole family. There are 5 people, 3 cats and 2 dogs in our 1500 square foot home. In 12 years of marriage and 11 years of parenthood, we have acquired a lot of stuff. We aren’t dirty people, but we are tired by the end of the day, our kids drag everything they own across the house, and without much storage space, not everything in our home has a place. And if it does have a place, it’s likely that I’m the one that created a place for it and didn’t effectively communicate that to my family.
But there’s more to it than learning to pick up after ourselves. Marie helps families change how they feel about doing monotonous tasks around the house. She enjoys folding clothes and putting things away which takes conditioning of the mind. Think of the impact that greeting your home daily, respecting your space and possessions and thanking the things that have once served a purpose in your life will have on a complete mind reset and perspective shift on life inside your home.
And I’ll tell you now, your whole family needs to be on board working together toward this change. I know that if I’m the only one that makes an effort to change, it’ll lead to exhaustion and frustration. So first, I’m going to push over that pile of laundry so the family can squeeze on the sofa and we’ll let Marie teach us how folding a t-shirt is the key to tranquility and joy ::cue the snores from the other 4 members of my house::.