UNPOPULAR OPINION: Marie Kondo isn't a Professional Organizer! 5 Reasons why the Magic doesn't work!
Updated: Jun 19
Contrary to popular belief, Marie Kondo is not truly a professional organizer. I would actually label her as an organizing consultant or someone that just tells you what to do in order to organize your home.
However, if it were that easy, everybody would just google what to do, look at the hundreds of pinterest articles for advice and it would be done.
A professional organizer is an individual who is skilled in the task of organizing physical and even digital spaces to provide comfort, convenience, and to encourage efficiency. A professional organizer works through a space.
While the KonMari Method does hold some truth in the beginning stages of every organizing project, it doesn’t fit American culture.
A commonly held belief celebrated in Japan, called Shinto animism, is centered around the belief that each object has a "kami" or spirit. This is what the entire foundation of the KonMarie Method is based upon. That's why she starts the project by thanking the home and thanking each item as it is discarded.
The question “does this object bring you joy” is a good place to start when you’re organizing, but there is so much more to consider!
Many of my clients don't understand how to organize -- that's why they hire us!
Clients also don't want to do it on their own. Organizing can be extremely overwhelming.
We organize in a ton of homes like this that are piled high with items that are no longer wanted, been missing for months or even have some value!
The thing about organizing is that it's never going to stay perfect (even in an organizers home), but it's important to build the right habits and use the best systems to set yourself up for success.
And the thing about Marie Kondo, is that yes, you can teach someone how to be more organized, but if you teach an unorganized person a method that works for an organized person, it will never stick.
1. The first thing that Marie talks about in the book is taking every item from a specifc category (clothes are the most common example), and pile them all in one area.
This doesn't work on a few levels. My clients are reaching out to me because they're already overwhelmed. Making the space even more of a mess isn't going to make them feel at ease.
Yes, I do agree that it's important to categorize things in order to see how many of those things you have, purge the items you don't need and put them back in the space needed for each category, however, it's best to go room by room.
If you don't have an organizer helping you, this kind of tactic can create more clutter, cause more panic and the mess will continue to grow!
2. Not so much "spark joy" as much as "Do I use this item? Is it practical? Has it gone unused for X amount of time?"
I get this question all the time: "Do you know that famous organizer -- the one who talks about how your items should spark joy?"
Yes! I do! Her method is a great foundation to start on, but there are so many more questions you need to ask yourself about an item than if it makes makes you joyful.
There are plenty of things in life that don't bring joy that are necessary (Example: the DMV).
3. She talks about the clothes and item clutter, but she doesn't really talk about paperwork management
That's because paperwork is one of the hardest things to organize. Not because it's complicated, but because it's hard for someone to give up information they think they may need to reference someday for something.
I don't even stick to the 3 file system that she talks about.
When it comes to paperwork, my system is make a hanging folder for a category (medical, taxes, insurance information), and then making folders inside each category to make it easier to file things away and reference them!
If we all stuck with the 3 file rule, our "needs attention" box would start to become a room, the "most used" papers would be a hot mess (how would you find anything with everything in ONE file??) and the "saved" file would also probably turn into a room. it's just not a viable option.
I am PRO getting rid of paper, but it has to at least be in some sort of system or else why did you purge and organize in the first place?
4. Marie suggests that folding is the best way to store clothes
A lot of my clients would disagree. For most of my male clients, I find that they keep up the organization if they hang everything they can, and fold only the "essential" folding items (underwear, socks, swim trunks and shorts and maybe jeans).
For my female clients I usually use the same system, but cater it to each person:
- All tops and dresses are hung. Depending on the sweater (and closet design), I hang lighter ones and fold thicker ones.
- All leggings, t-shirts, long sleeve T's, and athletic wear are folded in a drawer
**I fold things similarly to Marie, but in a way that's easy to do and quick. Her folding style is too perfect for a disorganized person to keep up!
Your systems should be practical.
- All lingerie, underwear, bras and socks are in drawers (I like to line up the bras like I'm shopping at Victorias' Secret - getting dressed should be a fun experience!)
There will always be different opinions about which is better, but leave it up to the individual!
5. Marie talks about the perfect system being attainable.
As much of a perfectionist I am, and as much as it pleases me to make a space look "perfect", it will never stay that way. It's impossible with everything there is to do in life!
Sometimes you're too busy, sometimes you're not in the mood, and sometimes there are far more important things on your mind.
Organizing IS important, but it's something that you can build and maintain so that there is time for the really important things in life: family, friends, petting cute dogs...
I'm far from perfect, like everyone else.
My clients tell me all the time they wish they had the natural inclination to be organized, but we all have different talents, mine just happens to be organizing.
This seems a little more American.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, embarrassed, tired of living with clutter -- reach out to someone who can help you!
Organizing should bring relief and joy! It helps relationships, it helps you financially, it helps your sanity!
If you don't know where to start, reach out, and we will help you take the first steps to creating your dream home and taking some of the burden off YOU.
You deserve it.
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