Monday, February 18, 2019

Marie Kondo: The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up - But Is It Life Changing?

Five years ago, Marie Kondo published a book called, The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. It seemed as if all of my friends were picking it up and reading it, so naturally, I followed suit. And then, I was really excited to learn that Netflix had picked up her series and it seems like Marie is making a second go around. In fact, Baby Girl and I were at Books-a-Million Saturday and the what should smack us in the face as soon as we walked in but a display of Kondo's book. (She actually has two, but for the purpose of this post, I will refer to her first.)

So, is it really all that it's cracked up to be? You don't have to search very far to see bloggers talking about it. Vloggers and YouTube stars are talking about it. (Word on the street, now is the choice time to do some thrift shopping at GW's or Savlos - Good Will and Salvation Army, respectively). 

In a word, it has completely changed how I think about my belongings. Is my house tidy and kept up? No. As I look around, I see some throws on my living furniture that needs to be folded and put on the back of my couch, love seat, and recliner. (Yes, I really have that many throws in one room.) While my bedroom isn't terrible my bed isn't made and I have a few items that are thrown on my dresser.

So, no. I'm not perfect. But, I would like to share five ways that her MariKondo method has helped me.

1. I am constantly thinking about joy. One of Kondo's premise of her tiding up method talks about having items in your possession that spark joy. In fact, her first lesson is to tidying clothing. In order to do that, she says, you must hold each item in your hand and think if it sparks joy. Now, the term "spark joy" sounds rather vague, doesn't it. Really, what does it mean? When an item sparks joy, it makes you feel good. That favorite hoodie sweatshirt from your college days that bring back fond memories? That item sparks joy. That old prom dress that doesn't fit and reminds you of the horrible time you had with Derrick? Toss it.

I just went through a clothing purge not too long ago. I pulled out every article of clothing I had and placed it on my bed. I then held each item in my hand and thought about it. Did it spark joy? Did I like it? Did it fit right? No? To the donation box it goes. Yes? It is folded to be placed in my dresser or hung up, neatly, in my closet. It really didn't take that long to do, either. I didn't think about it too much. I just haphazardly flung my frocks to and fro and was done with it.

The result: I have less to wash, less to fold, and less to think about it. Research shows that we suffer from something called Decision Fatigue. There are multiple case studies on the subject, but basically decision fatigue is the fatigue you feel after making several decision in a day. This phenomenon is so serious that studies have found that decision fatigue has been known to affect court cases and parole decisions based on when each case was heard. As a teacher, I made approximately 1,500 decisions a day! This is why in the morning, I'm raring to go and will tackle All The Things, but by the time I get home at 4 o'clock, all I can think about is crashing on the couch with a cup of coffee and enjoy peace and quiet.

It's real, y'all. And the MariKondo method of tiding brings it down a couple of notches. Bliss.

2. I'm less likely to bring stuff into the house. This one is a pretty big deal for me and it's also a place where I might lose some of my readers - especially my bibliophiles. 

I got rid of books. A lot of books. If I look behind me, I see in my 5-shelf bookcase two shelves dedicated to books. That's it. One shelf is for Bible study materials (I got rid of a quite of few of those, too!) and fiction/non-fiction books are on the other shelf. The rest of my shelves have notebooks and journals. (I probably should go through those shortly, too.)

I haven't bought any books for awhile. I've gone to the library to borrow some. When Baby Girl and I went to BAM, we browsed the used books. (Did you know BAM had used books? I didn't!). I found three I was interested in reading. I will update book reviews as I finish reading them. But if you're curious, the books I bought were:

After I read these three books, I will decide if they will reside on my shelf or if I will gift them to someone else. 

3. The folding method works! Whether you read her book or watch her show, one of the first things that everyone notices is how she folds clothes a little differently than most of us do. And to be honest, it takes some time to get it, but once I did, it really changed how I organized my drawers. I still have two drawers of t-shirts (teacher shirts, Autism shirts, Special Olympic shirts, and lounge shirts - they take up a lot of room!), but they are organized by type and I even went so far as to organize them by color (something Kondo talks about in her book, but I didn't notice her talking about in her show). 

4. Baskets and boxes are life-changing! Did you know everyone has a clutter type?  I never knew. But thanks to Cass at ClutterBug, I know I'm a Ladybug. A Ladybug likes things organized, out of sight, and simple. It's gotta be simple or I'm not using it! Baskets to the rescue. And guess what? KonMari method works well for us Ladybugs. 

5. A tidy home really does bring peace. I've discovered something about me: I like a tidy house. A cluttered house stresses me out. But the more cluttered a house gets, the more likely I am to shut down and not do anything about it. (Anyone else? No? Just me, then...) But I've found that embracing some of Marie Kondo's ideas of possessions and the home environment, I'm more likely to keep things kept up. (Not spotless, mind you - I must get to those ceiling fans! - but kept up.) And a kept up home is easier to keep kept up than a cluttered one. It takes a lot less time to do something, once you get into the habit of doing it. 

So, while I haven't embraced all of her methods (I'm not sure I can get down on my knees and connect with my house), a lot of what she teaches in her book (and in her Netflix series) really are useful and applicable to the non-housekeeper.

Please let me know in the comments section below if you've read her book or watched the Netflix show. Are you a total KonMari fan or an avid avoider? Looking forward to hearing from you!

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