Judith's Jottings » Blog Home Page
The Marie Kondo Effect - 23rd January 2017
Have you heard of Marie Kondo?
Marie Kondo is Japan's expert declutterer and has her own approach, the KonMari Method. She's sold millions of books worldwide on the subject of organising, most recently 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying' published in the UK in 2014.
Lots of people have recommended it, so I bought my own copy in order to draw my own conclusions.
The Japanese tradition of minimalism
Think of Japanese gardens, Bonsai trees and Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging); even sushi. All these art forms rely on simplicity and a large measure of control. Nothing out of place - not even a leaf.
Zen Buddhism is at the heart of Japanese culture. My brief research tells me Zen meditation is the experience of living moment to moment, in the here and now.
This aspiration seems to go against the habit of hoarding, whilst being completely in tune with minimalism.
I don't think it's any accident that this modern decluttering guru is a Japanese woman.
Can Marie Kondo's book help you declutter and get organised?
Potentially, yes. Only you know if you're the kind of person to carry it through as a project. This is a book - not a magic wand!
Simply reading a 'how-to' manual is not going to change your life. Are you even the kind of person who enjoys reading instructional books? I'm sure there are many copies of this book languishing under piles of clutter. That's not because there's anything wrong with the method, or the way the book is written, far from it.
If a person is overwhelmed and cluttered, it would take strong resolve to find time to read this book, or any other book for that matter. Overwhelm removes the ability to think in a rational way and there is always a feeling that whatever you're doing - you should be doing something else! I've been there. Having bought this book with all good intention, there are many perfectly good reasons why it may not get read.
If it does get read, that's the first hurdle. Simply reading it is not sufficient, clearly. Action must be taken in line with the text. Can you remember what you read? Or do you need to go back to the book? What if it doesn't work for you? Do you have the willpower to work alone?
Maybe a well meaning friend or relative has bought the book for you as a gift? You now have a layer of judgement sitting between you and the book. A feeling that you're not acceptable as you are. I suspect that in such cases the cover may not even get opened.
What I love most about Marie's method
Marie urges her readers to rely on their intuition as to whether or not something is to be kept and I wholeheartedly agree with this.
In deciding what to keep, she suggests you "choose those things that spark joy when you touch them." This is also a useful practice. I could go on, I love so much of the content of this book. Having said that, I've not adopted her principles for blitzing our home.
Letting go - my own slant
In an ideal world we would all be ultra organised and tidy - or would we? My specialism is in helping clients find a level that works for them. Taking them from overwhelm to a degree of calm and yes, some order too. This does not have to be obsessive - you choose. I also encourage clients to let their intuition speak. Your inner most self knows what is important and I can help you access that wisdom.
Consider the irony that at one level decluttering is about a surrender of control. It is a state of freedom - no longer being chained down by unpleasant associations and perceived commitment. It is the organisation of all our stuff that is about control, not the decluttering. Unless you are in a postion of complete surrender and therefore absolute minimalism, then you also need some control. Otherwise you have chaos.
If you would like to take this conversation further, please do message me. I'm happy to chat.
Keywords: Marie Kondo, KonMari Method