Before I get yelled at for speaking negatively about Marie Kondo, let me start by saying that I love her. I don’t quite remember when I first heard about the queen of organization and minimalism. It was after she published her first book in 2011 but before her show came out on Netflix. Despite, or maybe due to having so much stuff in my home, I became a tad obsessed with her methods. However, diving deeper into her books, show and website, I began to see a few hypocrisies.
What I LOVE About Marie Kondo
I have had a few well-meaning friends unintentionally hurt my feelings by saying things like, “If you like the KonMari method, why do you still have a thousand books?” Questions like this make me wonder how many people truly watched the show or read her books in detail. Marie recommends a minimalist lifestyle and even has suggestions for the number of things to keep. However, she always goes back to her main piece of advice: take an object, hold it and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If it does, keep it. Marie Kondo doesn’t force people to throw away anything they love.
The TV show focused SO MUCH on throwing things away. It even caused a huge backlash against the poor woman who simply wants to share advice that helped her. Marie Kondo does a lot more than tell people to throw things away that don’t bring joy. Let me share her tips on life, organization and happiness before I get to the hypocrisy.
Marie Kondo’s Productivity Tips
I wish I had reread this when the lockdown started back in March. Even though I had been working from home since May 2019, the lockdown still hit me hard. Her tips could have come in handy then, luckily it is never too late to apply them.
1. Start Your Morning With Good Energy
“I usually wake up around 6am with my daughters. When I get up, I open all the windows to let fresh air in and then burn incense. I strive to keep my home comfortable and filled with clear energy throughout the day, so starting my morning with these rituals keeps me on track.
Next, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for my family and team members’ health, and I renew my resolve to do as much as I can that day.
I always get dressed, even if I am working from home. Getting into work clothes sets me up to be productive. Wear something that makes you feel good and confident.”KonMari
2. Make a Daily To-Do List
Marie recommends putting EVERYTHING on a to-do list. From brushing teeth to folding laundry. Add a checkmark once you complete a task and look back at it at the end of the day. Sometimes the mundane things will take longer than expected and you won’t get to the more exciting tasks. So having everything on the list is a great way to avoid feeling defeated if you don’t get to every single activity. Instead of thinking, ‘wow, I failed at doing this today’ you’ll be thinking ‘ wow, I did a LOT today.’
3. Coordinate With Your Partner
I am happily married but my husband and I are often out of sync. We have different habits, expectations and just work in different ways. Marie recommends sharing and discussing to-do lists among couples, roommates and families. She also suggests having a shared list of chores and remembering to thank each one another for checking them off the list.
This really resonates with me because my husband does a majority of the chores while I work longer hours and earn more money. Even though he is happy to do most of it, he has made comments on how I take it for granted. He is right that I am so used to it and sometimes don’t even notice how much he is doing. If I saw a list of things he’s checked off in front of my face, I would be more aware and would remember to thank him for his hard work. At the same time, it may remind me to help where I can.
4. Clear Your Mind
Marie Kondo recommends journaling to get all your thoughts and emotions on paper. It helps organize them and figure out what frustrations we can and can’t control. She also recommends doing busywork such as mopping the floor if you can’t get out of your own head.
“Keeping my hands busy helps my mind find stillness.”
5. Create a Nighttime Routine
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I happen to have a nighttime routine that I really hate but seem to be stuck in. My goal is to adjust it to make it more productive and happy. At the end of a long day, it always seems like a good idea to lay on the sofa or in bed watching TV, but it never makes me happy. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So I’m hoping to be less insane and more mindful, creating a routine that will spark joy.
Here is a great article on how to build a new healthy routine!
Marie Kondo’s Hypocrisy
I have a lot more nice stuff to say about Marie Kondo, but first, let’s cut to the chase. Let’s start with the book debacle that made many people angry-react to all things KonMari. I was one of many people who gasped out loud at her advice to keep up to 30 books max. This caused a huge backlash, especially since she has written two books that have been published in over 42 regions and sold over 10 million copies. The show didn’t elaborate much on her book advice, so what many of us heard was “get rid of all your books and make room for my two awesome books.”
Let me reiterate that Marie Kondo does not actually want you to throw away all your books! After the backlash, journalists spoke to her about this specifically. The comment she made was based on her own personal preference. Here is what she said about it to IndieWire:
“The most important part of this process of tidying is to always think about what you have and about the discovery of your sense of value, what you value that is important,” she said through interpreter Marie Iida, who also appears on the series. “So it’s not so much what I personally think about books. The question you should be asking is what do you think about books.
If the image of someone getting rid of books or having only a few books makes you angry, that should tell you how passionate you are about books, what’s clearly so important in your life. If that riles you up, that tells you something about that. That in itself is a very important benefit of this process.”IndieWire
So we’re back to what I love about her. Marie seems to be completely judgment-free and understands that people are different. Her whole philosophy is based on keeping things that bring joy to YOU, not anyone else. When we figure out that something brings us joy, we value it more. But yes, I still find it a little hypocritical for her to sell any product when she thinks we should have fewer possessions. It would be a bigger statement on her part if she only offered her book as an e-book. That being said, I own both her books and look forward to devouring them.
You can read more about the backlash here. But I have a few more complaints about this wonderful woman.
My Experience Purging 99% of My Belongings
Right now I am in the middle of reading 10 books and have 30 in just my ‘read next’ pile. All together I have a few thousand books and about 80% of them bring me joy. I 100% plan on donating, selling or trading the 20% that I didn’t like, am not interested in or won’t reread. However, I never plan on having less than 30 books. Before you tell me how much happier I would be without all these books, let me tell you a little story. I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic.
My parents lived with me (only child) until I was about 19 and then they suddenly moved back to Ukraine where I was born. I was terrified of being alone, so I kept as many possessions that reminded me of my childhood home. Five years later, I moved abroad and I only kept 150 kilos (330 pounds.) This included a 100 kg box of stuff I sent to family for safe keeping and the two suitcases and one carry on I brought with me. Could I live without all the stuff? Yes. Did I miss all the items that brought me joy? YES 🙁
By the way… the 100 kg box of stuff I kept WAS mostly books and diaries. And if there was a fire in my home, they would be my priority to save once all humans and animals were safe.
The KonMari Store: MAJOR Hypocricy
I am obsessed with a lot of the items in Marie Kondo’s online store. But I do find it hypocritical to tell people to purge things while also selling them things. Many items in her store seem to be zero-waste and eco-friendly which I LOVE. Some of them are super affordable and they are all adorable. But then there are ridiculously expensive items that go against her own advice!
Marie Kondo (paraphrased): Ditch the fancy storage systems.
“Before you whip out your credit card to buy that fancy spice rack, Kondo recommends detoxing your home first. She argues the only reason we think we need those pricey filing systems is that we have too much stuff. Go ahead, donate what you don’t need. You and your space will feel infinitely better.”Taste of Home
KonMari Store: Buy this fancy magazine rack for $139.
Would this Metal & Leather Magazine Stand bring me joy? Yes, if it wasn’t made out of leather which I personally find unethical and unnecessary. Is it a ‘fancy storage system?’ Yes… The Very Important Papers Vault is also a bit of a mystery to me. It is cute (and expensive) AF but based on everything she has said, wouldn’t a basic binder with see-through pages be better? Plus it would save you $40+ AND it is smaller than this bulky vault!
Marie Kondo: Use Clear Containers So That You Can Easily See What Is Inside
This tip made my life SO much better. I had cute little boxes from Michael’s covered in flowers and farm animals. I even made labels using my Cricut machine to easily navigate the boxes in my craft room. It was STILL difficult to use and made me craft less which drained a lot of joy out of my life. So I ditched the $20 boxes and spent about $100 on clear Dollar Tree containers. Now it takes me 5 seconds to scan them all and find what I need. I mention this tip in my craft room organization article.
The boxees in the picture above are actually 5 for $1!
KonMari Store: Buy These Expensive Storage Containers
Not only does this container cost $40… it is also made out of cotton, which takes enormous amounts of water to grow. However, Marie doesn’t claim to be an eco-goddess so I will let that one slide. On the other hand, she goes on an on about using cheap, clear containers and these are neither cheap norclear.
Then there’s the memento organizer… Marie Kondo recommends that we don’t let nostalgia cloud our judgment which is a great tip. She doesn’t tell us to throw away items such as a plane ticket from a honeymoon, but she does suggest putting them in a scrapbook. So why is she selling a memento organizer? No clue. Would I like to have it? Yes. Looks like Marie isn’t the only hypocrite here.
Marie Kondo: A Businesswoman
I love Marie Kondo and you should too. Jk, you can love or hate whomever you please. If she doesn’t bring you joy, then don’t buy her books or watch her show. Personally, she brings me a lot of joy. It is important to remember that Marie is awesome but she is also a human being capable of hypocrisy. She is also a businesswoman and selling items is part of her business. Her current net worth is about $8 million and she made that money by turning her passion into a career. This, to me, is just as inspiring as her organizational advice.
Some Final Great Tips by Marie Kondo
Before I leave you to contemplate Marie Kondo’s fortune, hypocrisy and awesomeness, I’d love to remind you of some of her tips. This is a great refresher for me too as I settle into a new home and reorganize all my belongings!
1. Keep only what brings you joy.
2. Tackle categories, not rooms.
“Decluttering your home is a huge undertaking, so it’s important you have a plan before you get down to business. Organizing room by room seems efficient, but Kondo urges you focus on categories.”Taste of Home
3. Respect your belongings.
Having too many clothes may cause you to store them in ways that damage them. Why spend money on clothes and then let them lay in a pile? Deciding to keep an item is also a commitment to respect and protect it by storing it properly and safely.
4. Learn the art of folding.
5. Get rid of paperwork.
Create piles of papers to keep, papers to deal with and recycle the rest. Keep only the important documents that you need as originals, scan and digitally store the rest. So many of us keep old bills laying around and the papers accumulate. It’s 2020, you do not need a large filing cabinet in your home.
6. Explore the emotions behind materialistic attachment.
Marie Kondo explains that while saying goodbye to items isn’t always easy, some things are harder to discard than others. Marie urges us to explore why this is. She believes that most items that we have trouble parting with fall into one of three categories:
- an attachment to the past
- fear of the future
- combination of both
7. Decanting household products is completely worth it.
“The neater the home, and the more sparse its furnishings, the louder this information feels,” she writes. “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t spark joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.”
I took all this to heart and bought some inexpensive pump bottles from Muji and Target. Then I spent about 10 minutes decanting face wash, body wash, shampoo, hand soap, and dish soap into the new bottles. It was such an easy swap, and I love how clean, unified, and elegant my counters look now.Buzz Feed
8. After you fold your clothes the KonMari way, put them in your drawers standing up.
You can read more about this from the LiveRenewed article that I borrowed the following image from.
9. Instead of buying a bunch of storage bins, make use of the boxes you already have.
It’s advice like this that triggers my ‘you are a hypocrite!’ response. If her store literally had a popup before checkout saying ‘did you check if you can use the boxes you already have at home’ I’d be much more impressed. But you can’t make money by telling your customers NOT to shop, so I obviously understand why she doesn’t do this.
10. It’s really OK to get rid of gifts.
This is something that I am terrible at and my husband is great at. I’ll see him throwing postcards away and I get teary even if they have nothing to do with me. I need to learn to regularly purge gifts. Just because I throw them away, doesn’t mean I did not enjoy them and it is not a slap in the face to the gift giver. Will I learn to do this? I hope so. If not, then I’m as much of a hypocrite as Marie Kondo. But newsflash, most humans not immune to hypocrisy.
Marie Kondo is an awesome human being. Read that again, she is human. Humans make mistakes, say hypocritical things and don’t always practice what they preach. Despite continuously calling her (and myself) a hypocrite, I will continue reading her books and rewatching her show. Marie Kondo inspires me to organize my home AND make a living doing what I love. If you haven’t already checked out her work, do it now! Her attitude alone brings me a lot of joy. My favorite thing about her is her love for organizing and helping others.
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