My KonMari Fail
Ever since "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" came out on Netflix earlier this year, it seems that everyone is talking about KonMari again. While I would like to, I haven't seen the Netflix series. We don't have Netflix or cable TV. In fact, we are probably the last family in America with a tube television, housed in a wood corner cabinet. I know, it's like a time warp.
In 2015 and 2016 respectively, I read library copies of Ms. Kondo's books "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Spark Joy". I felt inspired and really enjoyed these books, while aware that some of Ms. Kondo's practices are extreme and downright weird. However, I was, and still am, curious what it might feel like to fully tidy my home using this method. When the KonMari app (no longer available) came out, I tried it. It didn't spark joy, so I deleted it from my phone a couple of months later. That's when I realized the whole hog KonMari method might not work for me.
If you aren't familiar with KonMari approach to decluttering, here's a brief summary: Marie Kondo's method focuses on going through EVERYTHING you own, by category. She has folks start out with clothing and work their way down to more difficult categories, like papers and mementos. And when she means everything, Ms. Kondo wants you to pull it all out and dump it in a pile. This makes me cringe, if not have a full-out panic attack. Maybe this should have been a sign for me to find another guru. Nonetheless, I cheerily downloaded the app.
The app had me start with my tops and give myself a deadline for going through all of my clothing. It gave me an annoying message when I set a deadline for myself that it deemed too far out. Again, another sign ignored. I didn't follow the rules exactly; rather, I just went through my tops hanging in the closet and 99% of them sparked joy. This futile exercise was repeated for a couple of other clothing categories before I gave up and deleted the app on my phone. In retrospect, perhaps I should have just skipped the clothing category, because I really do not own that many clothes and it's not a problem area.
Like most of us, I have clutter in my home. However, it's not much and it doesn't negatively impact my day to day life. My curiosity about KonMari tidying is more about self improvement. I always want to improve, just a little, every day. Which leads us to another Japanese term, kaizen. Literally translated, kaizen means good (kai) change (zen). You may have heard "kaizen" as a manufacturing term back in the 1990s. Kaizen, or incremental improvement in manufacturing has its roots in World War II America, when there wasn't time to stop Rosie from riveting to make massive change on the factory floor.
Some of us are just like Rosie the Riveter. Our daily lives are so full that there is little margin to stop. Tidying the KonMari way in one fell swoop seems too overwhelming and disruptive to our daily life. Others of us, thrive on big changes, all at once, cold turkey. The latter seems so exciting and bold. And yet, for me, slow and steady wins the race every time. What about you? Have you been able to completely KonMari your home? What was it like? How long did it take? And, is your life now sparkly joyful?