The Kondo Conundrum

Cindy JobsUncategorized

Episode #1: Rachel and Kevin

Kevin before:

“I hope this will get out of the way the things that are keeping us from enjoying each other.”

Kevin after:

“We are happier. More at ease. Less tension.”

It would be hard to miss the Marie Kondo explosion over the last few years.

Starting with her first book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2014),” followed a couple years later by “Spark Joy (2016),” her third book “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story (2017),” and now an 8-episode  Netflix series of “inspiring home makeovers” where Marie Kondo “helps clients clear out the clutter – and choose joy.”  Marie Kondo is everywhere!

I have to admit, I was skeptical about this Netflix series.  I’d read Kondo’s first book and was concerned.  Although most of the advice she gave resonated with me, I had some reservations about the rigidity of her approach and the lack of what I considered empathy and understanding of nuances that may stand in the way of a client’s ability to manifest change in the manner Kondo presented.

Almost all of my clients struggle with ADHD and almost all of them purchased Kondo’s first book and felt guilt and shame when they could not implement her processes in a perfect way.  I was concerned the series would leave people with that same feeling.

I was also concerned that the series would set unrealistic expectations like some other series’ have done ….. that all it takes is a little effort and a weekend and your home and life will be transformed.

So, I had a conundrum:

On one hand, I didn’t want to recommend the show to my clients as I didn’t want them to feel bad if they couldn’t execute her process.

On the other hand, I really wanted them to see that they are not alone and that other families struggle with how too much stuff has impacted their lives.

I wanted this series to be entertaining, educational and set realistic expectations.  I have to say, I think it’s delivered.

As with most demonstrations of organizing processes, the Netflix series doesn’t bring a lot of new information to the table (with the exception of her folding techniques which I’ve never quite been able to master).  But there are some things about this series that I really, really like.

  1. There needs to be a “why” behind the process. Not “I want a cleaner house,” more along the lines of “I don’t want stuff to create distance between me, my wife, and my kids.”  Being able to anchor back to the bigger picture helps with motivation.
  2. It takes time. The series illustrates progress over a long period of time.  That’s how it works.  We didn’t collect all the stuff over a weekend, it’s going to take time to sort, purge and donate.
  3. It’s hard. If it were easy, we would have done it long ago.  Coming face-to-face with too much stuff, the money invested in things we don’t use, the memories attached to objects, etc. is challenging.
  4. Have a plan: Kondo suggests going through things in a specific order: clothes, books, documents, miscellaneous, leaving sentimental items for last.  I like this plan, but whatever order you choose, start in one room or with one category, don’t try to do the whole house at once.
  5. It takes a village. Unless you live by yourself, everyone in the house needs to be on board with the process.

There are lots and lots of ways to de-clutter and get organized, but my opinion is that this series provides a good representation of an option.  I hope it encourages people to create the life they want to live through embracing less.

And, I just have to say, from a Professional Organizer’s perspective, what Marie Kondo has done to highlight the far-reaching positive effects that being organized provides truly sparks joy for me!

If you’re looking for more information . . .

How much does it cost to have Marie Kondo tidy up your life?

If you are looking for an official KonMari Consultant:

The New Yorker’s take on how binge-watching the series is almost impossible.


Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

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