It’s January, and with Netflix’s new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo hitting the streaming scene, chances are you’ve taken a stab at the KonMari Method. Did you start out, excited and hopeful, ready to see all your things land magically into place in your home like a scene from Fantasia? Queue the music montage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to raise my hand and gush about how Marie Kondo inspired me. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up and felt empowered to conquer the clutter in my home.

When I started, I thought Marie Kondo’s approach was the only way to declutter once and for all. In my mind, once you KonMari’d your home (yes, it’s a verb now), you’d be set for life. You’d never have to pare down again. Free at last! The KonMari Method provides the panacea alternative to our less-enlightened Western status quo of procrastination piles, jammed closets and disorganized Goodwill runs. With KonMari, one tidies up methodically rather than sporadically. What a novel concept! In this regime, you tidy by specific categories in a specific order, and keep only items that spark joy.

The KonMari method requires home organizers to gather up and pare down items by specific categories, rather than simply organizing by room or location. You’re encouraged to keep only items that spark joy. While I agree that her message inspires and motivates many to organize, my experience is that this method isn’t always practical in many of the homes that I work in. So if you’ve tried KonMari and haven’t felt the zen, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are some common reasons why people drop out of the KonMari Method:

  1. Life happens! Even the most organized people have days when the house is a mess or the inbox feels out of control. Whether it’s work, family, friends, or travel, we have so many competing priorities and things that are ever-changing in our space.
  2. You need space to stage everything when you’re organizing by category.
  3. People often feel goofy when they curate which items “spark joy,” because we require all kinds of practical things that don’t fit this experience. Has your toothbrush ever sparked joy? No? (Please keep it around.)
  4. Everyone has different “categories” of stuff. The “komono,” or miscellaneous category, can be pretty broad, covering anything from gardening tools to electronics or toys.
  5. That shocking realization of what items actually spark joy in your life. It’s okay, we’ve all removed a Significant Other at some point.

So don’t feel bad if you didn’t jump on the KonMari bandwagon! You can adapt this method to your organizational needs by identifying what your categories of items are and and use a more practical checklist:

  1. When did I last use this?
  2. Is it functional? If I got rid of it, could I borrow or rent if it?
  3. What do I want to make room for in my home?
  4. Are seasonal items taking up too much room?

How did switching decluttering approaches work for you? Let us know what tips were the most helpful!


About the Author

Rachel Corwin is a professional organizer in the Seattle area. Rachel works with her clients to understand their organizing goals and figure out a realistic solution that works with their lifestyle and needs.

She was first introduced to the concept of home decluttering and organizing when an ad for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up popped-up on her feed and she couldn’t help but click on it. Once she started reading she couldn’t put the book down or stop taking notes of her favorite tips and quotes. She also started thinking about how hard it is for her to go through all of her things and how she wanted to help other people that feel the same way.