What the KonMari Method Didn’t Tell You

KonMari Method, An honest review of The Life Changing Method of Tyding Up.

Last year, a book about decluttering took the internet by storm. Perhaps you have heard of it, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up* by Marie Kondo also known as the KonMari method.

After reading blog post after blog post about it, I finally reserved the book at my local library. I was 23rd on the list and waited several months before it was FINALLY my turn!

I was so excited as I opened the book up!

But very quickly my enthusiasm deflated. As I read, I kept thinking, “It must get better. Everyone else loves it.”

But sadly, it never got better. I finished the book quite disappointed. Now, before some of you start giving me dirty looks, let me say that there were some things that I did like.

Review of the KonMari Method

What I did like…

I really liked Marie’s advice to declutter one category at a time and to lay it all out on the floor.

Seeing all of your shirts spread across your floor instead of hanging in the closet is a great way to see just how many shirts you actually own.

I also loved her advice to use containers that you already have. It isn’t always necessary to purchase fancy, color-coordinated containers! In fact I wrote a post on how you can organize any space for free.

But that was about all that I enjoyed in her book. I believe the KonMari method is ideal for someone who has a large amount of belongings that they need to minimize in a quick amount of time.

However, this book failed to share how to deal with daily clutter, something I mentioned in depth here. It also offered almost no help for maintaining a clutter free home, another thing I discussed here.

Here are some key points that the KonMari method didn’t tell you.

Book Review of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

1. It is about more than sparking joy.

Marie insists that the only question you need to ask when decluttering is, “Does it spark joy?” If it sparks joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you toss it. She goes into a little more detail than that, but that is the basic premise of the KonMari method.

If we are truly honest, the question of whether or not we keep our things cannot be answered by simply answering that one question. Our lives are complex and a lot of the things we own reflect that.

Asking the question, “Does it spark joy?” is great for some things. But it doesn’t ask enough when you are trying to decided what to do with your children’s toys or your deceased relatives belongings.

It is okay to ask other questions as you decide whether or not to keep or discard your belongings because your life is made up of more complex and deeper issues than just sparking joy!

What Marie Kondo Didn't Tell You

2. Organization shouldn’t be inconvenient.

In the book, Marie talked about folding socks in a particular way instead of tucking them into each other. She also advised that we empty all of the contents from our purses each night, lay them out in a drawer, and then return them to the purse the next day.

Sorry, not happening here!

Organization should make our lives easier, not make life more complicated. I discovered the secret to a clutter free purse, and it doesn’t involve emptying my purse every day.

Don’t add inconvenient processes to your life by making organization too complicated. You will be more likely to stick with an organization system that is simple and easy to maintain.

3. Seasons of life change and so do our belongings.

Marie claims that once her clients followed through on the KonMari method with their entire belongings, they didn’t return to the clutter. Simple as that.

But she is forgetting something. Seasons of life change which means our belongings change too. Her clients haven’t experienced decades of life yet.

If you have ever changed careers, gotten married, had kids, or inherited a deceased relative’s belongings, you know what I’m talking about.

Life happens and sometimes certain chapters of our lives require more stuff than other chapters of our lives. Decluttering is not, nor can it ever be, a one time fix.

An organized space won’t stay that way on its own. You change. Your family dynamics change. And along with that your belongings change.

Does the KonMari Method Really Work

4. You have to learn how to stop the clutter.

If you did follow the KonMari method and decluttered your entire home, there is still something that you must learn. You see, it’s not just about taking things out of your home.

What you bring in your home is just as important.

If you declutter your belongings, but are still shopping and reloading your closets and cupboards, then you will continue to face a clutter issue.

That’s why is it so important to know what you need when you shop. I recently shared how knowing your home decor style and fashion style, can aide in keeping your home clutter free.

When you shop, use a list and stick to it. Don’t just buy something because it is cute or on sale. Decide in the store if you will really use the item or not.

Learn to say, “No, thank you.”

This is easier said than done and something I am still working on! But I have been able to do it more often lately when people offer me things that I don’t need.

If you are looking for some books that offer practical tips for organizing and decluttering, I HIGHLY recommend Unstuffed* by Ruth Soukup and Make Room for What You Love* by Melissa Michaels.

 

Other Posts You Will Enjoy:

2 Habits for Dealing with Daily Clutter

Clear Kitchen Counters in Small Spaces

Create Luxury at Home without Spending a Dime!

 

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Leave a Reply

  1. I have the same thought. I have received things from my parents as well as from my kid’s and I’m thinking wait, How in the world is this going to work. I am guilty of seeing it as a great idea until, yep, I agree with you!!

  2. Looooove this post – I was so dissapointed in the Kon Marie book, and I don’t even know if I can give it as much credit as you did (lol). I actually get frustrated when I see posts on all it’s many merits and I feel like the bloggers are just trying to promote something they know sells. (I don’t do that, and I get the feeling you don’t either!) Thanks for your honest opinions 🙂

    • Thank you, Carly! Yes, I know not everyone agrees with me, but I did not get much practical information from this book. I promise to only share my honest opinion on this blog. 🙂

  3. Read her second book where she addresses some of the things you just pointed out. I don’t share the same disappointment. While life is complicated & sometimes you will have more things in other times in your life, I can take pride in that the extra clutter. It has a purpose & I keep it with conviction & in turn sparks joy. Also, she talks about doing this process once a year in the first book. So how is that not a continuous effort? She also, brings up the point of shopping & how many of us purchased things we didn’t care for initially. I now always ask myself if it sparks joy or is it a necessity before I buy it which is a continued effort that was an idea I gained from the book.

  4. Hi there- it sounds to me like maybe you read the book “Spark Joy” (her second book) and skipped the first book. She addresses just about every one of these issues between the two books. She says multiple times that the work of tidying up is never a finished job and that she herself does it once per year or so (addressing the changes of life’s seasons). She is saying she has never had a student fail because once they have the basic knowledge of how to tidy up and have a set place for everything in their home, then even if it gets unorganized- their is a place for everything to return to making the process of tidying up simpler and less time consuming. Also, she absolutely talks about the idea of once your home is narrowed down to only that’s that spark joy or are useful, that it makes it easier to not bring useless things into your home and helps you to think about things before buying them.

    I would consider physically trying her process before writing a negative review about it. Then if it doesn’t work for you, review away, but it seems a little unfair to me to write a review saying it won’t work before you actually try the process- yes even with sentimental items from a loved one who passed away (the whole point is that all of the stuff, no matter how sentimental is still just “stuff” and it should not define our life.

    • Hi Chelsie. I indeed have only read her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I will make a point to read her second book Spark Joy and see if she discusses some of these issues. It sounds like you enjoyed both books, and I know there are plenty of others who enjoyed her book as well. However, I didn’t. I felt like there was little help for dealing with common clutter issues that many families have. Marie offered VERY little help for paperwork and kid’s things. She didn’t talk about discovering the “why” behind clutter which I believe is important in stopping the clutter. As I said in my fair review of this book, the KonMari method will work for some people. And for that, I am truly happy!

      However, we are all unique, and her method is not a one size fits all way of decluttering. I was simply writing this article for others who may have walked away from this book a little dissapointed like I was. I want them to know that despite all of the hype online over this book, it is okay to disagree and there are other great alternatives. The books Unstuffed and Make Room for What You Love offer practical ideas and deal with the heart issue of clutter that Marie didn’t offer in her book.

      I offered an honest and fair review of this book. Believe me, it could have been much more negative! I’m not going to follow a process I don’t believe in. And it is okay to have an opinion about something without trying it. I choose not to drink alcohol, but that doesn’t mean I can’t form a negative opinion about it based on what I have read and seen in other people’s lives. It’s not for everyone and neither is this book.

      Did you go through the entire process? How did it go for you? I truly hope you have found much peace in your home because isn’t that what we all want.

  5. Have you read the book “It’s Hard to Make a Difference When you Can’t Find your Keys”? It touches on some of the causes of clutter. I read the Kon Marie book and I like some of the info But I really think there is no one answer for the challenge of clutter. I always try to remember that clutter is a very first world problem. I’m grateful for a life where I have to fight clutter =).

    • Carolyn, great perspective! There are so many people that go without, and here we are holding on to more than we need. It really is something to be thankful for. Thank you for the book recommendation. I will put that on my reading list!

  6. I too think you might have been a little harsh in what you several times pointed out as a “fair review”. Like anything else I believe her book is meant to inspire. I am almost done reading ” the life-changing magic of tidying up”. I must say it has inspired me. While I will never be a minimalist I feel it is time to purge. Yes our lives change. As it changes I think after reading her book we hopefully can make the personal choices as to what we really need or don’t … it is a process. We all need to decide just how much we are willing to do. Maybe it is a little over the top for some. But if it inspires a person towards a more positive surrounding it has been helpful.

  7. I think the biggest thing I walked away with from the Marie Kondo book was that I was looking at decluttering backward. It was always about removing items I no longer wanted/ needed. My takeaway was that it’s not about choosing what to remove, but more about choosing what to keep. Am I going to talk to my clothing? Probably not. But I will be gathering things by category and deciding what I want out of that pile and letting the rest go.

    As for what you bring in, once you’ve gone through EVERYTHING, you don’t want to do that to yourself ever again. And you learn to evaluate better as to what you want to surround yourself with. That makes choices at the store much more simple and it is easier (and automatic) to do a quick check in your head as to how you will incorporate that item into your home. Now, if I don’t have a place for it or a plan to make a place when I get home, it is easy to say “no thank you”.

    That said, I found it ludicrous that Marie gave away her tools and used a flipping SHOE to hammer in a nail. Having the right tool for the job gives me JOY. lol

    I haven’t read either of the resources that you posted, but just thought I’d add another perspective.