THE QUEEN OF CLUTTER

I am the Queen of Clutter and let me make it perfectly clear at the beginning of this post, I did not meet Marie Kondo in person. In fact, I just learned of her existence about a week ago when a friend suggested I watch her show on Netflix.

Now that I’ve watched I know why my friend suggested I should view her show, but I’m still trying to figure out what to do with what I learned. Just in case you are as clueless as I was not long ago, let me explain.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is a Netflix reality television series that reminds me of a show that was on a few years ago called Supernanny. On that program a family with children who were out of control would get a visit from Jo Frost (aka Supernanny) and she would teach them parenting skills that would help them be better parents. By the time she left the home the wild children you saw at the beginning of the show were tamed, trained and well-behaved.

What The Nanny did for parents, Marie Kondo does for your house.

ABOUT HER TELEVISION PROGRAM

Marie is this beautiful, petite Japanese woman who looks like she just stepped off the cover of Glamour magazine. She comes into your house, examines your clutter and instead of being disgusted because you are a slob, she acts like it’s the first time she’s ever seen stacks of papers and piled up clothes. She’s excited and happy every time she finds a mess!

The families, however, are not happy. They are work weary and unhappy and miserable because of their clutter. By the time Marie works her “tidying up” magic and the show is over the once messy house is organized and the people who live there are much happier people who are now at peace with the world.

Sounds a little hokey, doesn’t it? Let’s face it friends, all reality television is a little hokey. The families in the shows are handpicked. The scenes are supposed to be natural but they have to be staged to some extent to get the lighting and camera angles they need. News flash…reality television isn’t exactly real.

Like I said before, Marie is beautiful and she’s also very smart. She became famous in 2014 when her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, was translated into English and published in the United States. It became a New York Times best seller and sold more than 1.5 million copies. Since then she’s written more books about organizing and they have all been translated into nine different languages.

Not bad for a little girl who preferred to stay in tidy up the bookshelves instead of playing with her classmates were playing in physical education class.

The episode of her show that I watched was about a family with two small children, ages 2 and 4. The wife and husband are overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” they have crammed into their small to medium sized suburban home. “I want to appreciate what I have instead of needing more stuff,” the wife says with tears streaming down her face.

Okay, I can definitely relate to that.

I also relate to the laundry situation. As the mom of 5 now grown adults I remember what it was like to have a constant mountain of laundry in front of the washer and dryer. Our laundry area was in the hallway, next to the bedrooms. There were times the kids had to wear mountain boots and use ropes to climb over Mount Laundry in order to get to bed.

Marie’s way of “tidying up” is called the KonMari method. Basically what this means is you gather every thing up by categories and keep only the things that spark joy. Then you put everything in a specific place. That’s it in a nutshell but there’s a whole lot more.

I watched as Marie showed the frazzled mom how to start with the category of clothes. She told her to take every piece of clothing she and her husband owned and put it on their bed. Then they were to pick up one item at a time and if it “sparked joy” they kept it. If not they thanked it and put it in a separate pile. Read that last sentence again. They had to verbally say “thank you” to their clothes as they discarded them.

I don’t know about you but that’s a little far out there for me. I do talk to my clothes but it goes more like this, “I can’t believe my pants shrank again and won’t zip!” or “How can my husband manage to get whatever he had to eat all over his shirt….every…..single….meal?” or “Why do men have to peel their socks off into stinking balls of sweat?”

I do understand the “spark joy” concept. There are things I like in my closet, things I tolerate and things I love. According to Marie I should only keep the things I love, which makes sense until I try to it. I can spend hours debating with myself over whether I love it now as much as I loved it when I bought it ten years ago.

A large part of my problem is I inherited some of my Grandma’s hoarding genes. Grandma grew up during The Great Depression and kept everything in case she needed it someday. She took wrapping paper off presents at Christmas, folded it and placed it neatly inside a chest of drawers. Her refrigerator had fifty little butter tubs containing mysterious tablespoons of substances from past meals that often stayed their so long they sprouted green fungus. You get the picture. Because of Grandma it isn’t easy for me to throw things away.

Anyway, by the end of the show the tired and stressed mom was happy and her house looked amazing. The laundry was all folded the way Marie taught her, into neat little teepee looking things. Everything from the kids toys to the husband’s stuff in the garage was organized perfectly. The show ended and I got up and peeked in my closet.

If Marie ever looked in there she would faint dead away and face plant on my sticky hardwood floors.

My Grandma had a reason to be a hoarder. The Great Depression was no joke and when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you save food. When you don’t know if you will ever have new clothes, you keep the ones you have.

I do NOT have an excuse to be The Queen of Clutter.

Marie Kondo, you have caused me to take a walk of shame through my house. My drawers are full of junk that the grandchildren pilfer through at least two or three times a week. My pots and pans are shoved in the cabinets and spill out onto the floor if you don’t shut the doors just right. We can’t park the cars in the garage because it’s filled with junk.

You win. You make me want to “tidy up.” I’m not sure I’ll tell my clothes “thank you” or ever learn to fold shirts into teepees, but you make me want to try.

And that’s a start. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

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