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4 Reasons Why I Found the KonMari Method Ridiculous

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good decluttering session! However, as a busy, working mom I much prefer to tackle clutter with strategies that are practical, quick and easy. Unfortunately, the KonMari method meets none of these criteria. Keep reading to learn why her techniques won’t work for everyone…including her!

Pros and Cons of KonMari Folding

First, let me say that I am a fan of Marie Kondo.

She is absolutely precious!

I am pretty sure that if we ever met that she and I would hit it off straight away.

I love her sweet demeanor, soft voice and the general positivity with which she seems to approach every situation (no matter how disgusted she might be inside).

However, I have read her book and I have attempted her methods and there are a few warnings that you need to be aware of if you are thinking about giving it a try.

STOP! Please go back to the top of this post and read all of that again!

You see, I have received a lot of backlash for what I am about to say in the rest of this post.

In fact, I have gotten emails, messages and comments about this post that state that I am culturally insensitive and that if the KonMari Method didn’t work for me – then there is something wrong with me!

This is simply not true!

In fact, I wrote this post after being contacted by others who had the same experience that I did: They attempted the KonMari method and experienced overwhelm and stalled progress.

I think it is important for to know that just because the KonMari Method doesn’t work for everyone – doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful with decluttering.

You just need to find what works for you.

Marie Kondo Admits To What I Knew All Along

I have to admit that a little part of me felt vindicated when Marie Kondo spoke out about the challenges of her own method this week.

My long standing contention with the KonMari method is that it is challenging for busy families, especially those with young children. And even more so when both parents work outside the home.

Now, Marie Kondo is sharing she has found this to be true herself:

“To be honest, my situation has changed since I was single,” she said through a translator. “I’ve let go of needing to maintain a perfect home all the time.”

Marie Kondo

This statement comes on the heels of the accusation that Marie Kondo stole her famous “folding method” from Linda Koopersmith who debuted the method on the show Clean House in 2003.

All this being said, I know that the KonMari method can change lives. There are so many people who love her strategies and are devoted followers.

I just want you to know, that isn’t always the case. And that it’s OK! You can still declutter and simplify without following her rules.

You can read about my experience and suggestions below.

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Why the KonMari Method Doesn’t Work for Everyone

In all honesty, if you watch Tidying Up on Netflix you will see exactly what I am talking about.

However, you have to get through a few episodes to see the pitfalls that the various participants begin to face.

After binge watching the entire season I was able to see the same challenges that I experienced, play out on television.

  • The husband that leaves his clothes in the hallway for weeks
  • The widow who does things out of order because she feels ready (this is a no-no in the book)
  • The couple who probably wouldn’t have finished if they weren’t on TV

Ultimately, I strongly believe in the power or minimalism, decluttering and simple living.

In fact, these are the same tools that I used to find my health and happiness after a bout with post-partum anxiety.

I am certainly not here to discount the benefits of purging our homes of items that are non-essential.

Instead, I caution you to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the process of letting go and realize that the KonMari method is not the cure-all that it is hyped up to be.

Especially if you are a mother with young children and you work outside the home (actually even if you are a stay-at-home mom with young kids I think you will find it challenging)

Here’s why….

It’s Overwhelming

When you watch the show, you will see that one of the hallmarks of her process is to “take everything out”.

This makes for great tv.

The impact of a mountain of clothes stacked on top of a bed is downright shocking.

It’s the hoarders equivalent of hitting rock bottom.

And of course there is the pressure of having to sleep on the couch if you don’t get that crap put away!

But here’s the deal: If you aren’t good at keeping a tidy home in the first place, how in the heck are you going to feel after making a huge mess?

My guess is that you are going to feel completely overwhelmed (like I did) and want to close the door and walk away – never to enter again.

Did most of the people on the show finish their homework? Yes, most of them did.

But not all of them!

And that was with the pressure of being on television and having Marie Kondo standing in their home!

Just imagine how easy it is to give up and just shove everything back in when you are all alone in the privacy of your own home with no one watching!

Ultimately, this was the downfall of the method for me.

With young kids and a busy family we just don’t have the free-time to turn our entire house upside down one category at at time.

When we tried to do this our house was messy, the kids kept finding things they wanted to keep and I was so stressed out by the volume of what we were facing I felt like giving up right away.

When I get home in the evenings I want to spend that time re-connecting with my family, eating dinner and relaxing.

Knowing that the KonMari Method takes an extravagant amount of time to implement this left the weekend as our only option.

It was very dis-heartening when we worked the entire weekend and still didn’t have everything put back together when the work-week started up again.

The drawn out process was a buzz-kill that deflated my motivation right away.

What to do instead:
In order to remove some of the overwhelm that many people have experienced with the KonMari Method, I suggest avoiding the “take it all out” method.

Many spaces, including your closet, can be decluttered by just removing the items you no longer need.

If you do feel like the strategy will work for you, I suggest you work in very small areas. For example, do one drawer, one cupboard, or one shelf at a time.

Working on small spaces will help to reduce some of the pressure and stress, and avoids making a humongous mess.

Related Decluttering Posts:

Related Post: Clutter Free Home; Minimalist Tips for Families

Tidiness Doesn’t Last Forever

In the book it is stated, “You’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.”

Ummm….really?

Here’s the deal – we live as a minimalist family and it has completely saved my sanity and changed the way we view the objects that we decide to bring in our house.

That being said, it still gets messy!

We have kids – and a dog. We work long days and have activities that we participate in outside of our home.

Sometimes, even with having very few items in our home it all falls apart. It’s ok though because it only takes a bit of time to get everything back in order.

But you know what is ridiculous?

To say that everything will be in order forever. C’mon now!

What to do instead:

Change your mindset.

Go in to the decluttering and minimizing process with the understanding that it’s not a “one and done” situation.

Once you get through the major overhaul, you will still do maintenance decluttering periodically.

I have been a “practical minimalist mom” for just over three years now and I still declutter. Except, now it only takes a few minutes to tackle any area versus the hours that I invested initially.

Folding Won’t Spark Joy For Long

KonMari method folded kitchen towels.

One of the jobs that put me through college was retail.

For years, I worked at a Tommy Hilfiger outlet and much of my time was spent folding and re-folding sweaters, t-shirts, ties and chinos in order to keep our store looking beautiful.

We even had special tables and boards that helped us fold every article of clothing perfectly.

And ya know what? It gets real old – real quick!

As a  mom I barely have time to do my laundry each week, let alone sit on the floor and fold every single item!

Ain’t no busy mama got time for that!

After watching the show I even decided to give her precise method of folding a second try.

After all, I am a seasoned minimalist with a capsule wardrobe – it should be easy right?

WRONG!

Over the years I have established a time-saving laundry routine that only takes me a few minutes to get an entire load of clothes put away.

Not so, with the precise folding method suggested my Marie. Getting my clothes put away was taking forever. This was valuable time I usually spend doing something else – something more enjoyable like relaxing or playing with my kids.

Yes, I know that Marie wants our kids to get in on “the joy of folding” – but frankly that’s been a disaster so far. As soon as one item is folded another is knocked over.

No fun!

Sure – would it be awesome to open my drawers and magically have everything inside be arranged beautifully?

But not for the time and OCD precision that it takes to make it happen.

Instead my solution is to hang the majority of my clothing and only fold items that don’t require ironing:

  • Pajamas
  • Workout clothes
  • Sweaters

I do like to use boxes within my drawers to keep items organized. It works especially well for socks, undergarments and tank tops.

What to do instead:

When it comes to clothing, I recommend the following to save time and energy:

-Create capsule wardrobes for each family member.
-Reduce the number of towels (usually 2-3 per person is plenty)
-Hang everything you can
-Use drawer organizers to keep them nice and neat.

READ THIS NEXT: 3 Decluttering Questions to Ask After “Does this spark joy?”

KOMONO Is Not A Category

If you follow the KonMari method you will notice that she suggests decluttering by categories.

I actually love this concept and suggest it often to my own readers.

One of her categories is called “Komono”. It is a Japanese term that means small items.

For many people who struggle with keeping a neat and tidy home, I don’t feel that this catch-all category is really all that helpful.

Basically she is telling you that after you declutter your clothes, books and papers that your next step is to organize all the “other stuff”?

DUH!

From my own personal experience and through helping others I can definitely say that decluttering all the random junk in your house is one of the most difficult tasks.

Grouping all those items into a category together and calling them a new name doesn’t make it any easier.

In reality, you probably need a very specific and detailed plan to tackle all the miscellaneous clutter in your home. One that goes into detail and walks you through how to tackle each specific area of your home.

In fact, you might even want to start with those items since many of them can be taken care of quickly and painlessly.

Related Post: 20 Items you can Declutter in 10 Minutes or Less!

The Pros and Cons of the KonMari Method

Even though the KonMari method isn’t the perfect solution for everyone – I am not one to bash anything that helps others.

Ultimately, any program that encourages you to be free from clutter gets a thumbs up from me.

I am sure there are thousands of people who have been inspired by the Netflix special and have started their own journey to live with less.

There are many benefits to her method and I think it can work for some people.

At the same time I don’t think many working mothers have the time, space or energy to commit to such a demanding process.

As a busy mom, I don’t have hours to devote to decluttering my home. I need practical, quick and easy solutions that can be done with two kids constantly interrupting.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons I have discovered along the way:

Pros of the KonMari Method:

  • A step-by-step process to follow
  • Plenty of “before and after” images to keep you inspired
  • Her suggestion to use boxes to keep drawers organized really does work (even without crazy folding)
  • A focus on keeping items that bring joy to your life
  • A pretty non-judgmental approach that doesn’t encourage you to get rid of much if you don’t want to

Cons of the KonMari Method:

  • “Taking everything out” is very overwhelming and can reduce motivation
  • Folding is time consuming and cumbersome
  • Not practical for busy families who aren’t able to live in a disheveled house while working through each area
  • Grouping “small items” into one category that should be broken down
  • Without an emphasis on getting rid of as much clutter as possible you will be left with a ton of stuff to keep organized

A More Practical Approach to Declutter Your Home

If you are a busy mom with young kids who would like to experience the life-changing benefits of decluttering – I have a much better suggestion for you.

Start with quick and easy decluttering that allows you to see progress quickly and easily without added stress and overwhelm.

Reason why the KonMari Method doesn't work for families

Related Post: Minimalism with Kids; 5 Practical Steps to Make It Easy

What do you think? Have you tried the KonMari Method? Please comment below!

62 Comments

    1. LOL! I love the name. I actually think you bring up a valid point – decluttering and organizing is highly personal. None of us have the same circumstances in our home. I know that the KonMari method has worked for many people, but it certainly won’t work for everyone. In your situation you have a husband who is not “on board”. For that reason you need to create your own method that works well for you – and that is what is most important.

  1. I recently began the Konmari method. We just finished clothing last week. I have 3 young children so we did clothing in sections. I did my hanging clothes first, then intimates, then pajamas, then workout, then shoes, coats then swimsuits. Definitely not all on the same day. Then we did the same with my husband’s clothes, and then each child’s clothes. The folding is tedious but it’s faster to find clothes for everyone and I have my 8 and 5 year old helping with folding. It’s not Konmari perfect folds but it’s standing up in the drawers so it works for us.
    We will definitively be dividing up books and paper into manageable categories as well.
    I agree about kimono. I would have liked to be told cooking was next or basement or garage or some list of things or areas to keep me going with a plan but perhaps this is the part in it all when people need to step up and take responsibility for their organization.

    1. Hi Sarah-

      You sound a lot like me. While I can use some of the KonMari methods as an outline, they really didn’t work exactly how they were explained in the book.
      It seems like you created your own version that will work for your family – which is the same thing that I did. The fact that you realized that you needed to break down categories into bite sized pieces is something that I think will benefit almost everyone. The process that you created for your family is how I wish she would have broken it down too. Maybe then people wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed.
      Please let me know if you keep up with the folding or change to rolling or something else!

  2. I think you were joking about the name being silly ? But in any case, if t provides any insight: in Japan, they say their last names before their first names – I think as a way to honor their families.

    “In Japanese, the surname comes before the given name. Thus, a person with surname Yamamoto and given name Sanae is referred to as Yamamoto Sanae. In the name order of English, this would be “Sanae Yamamoto”.

      1. Working mom here. I did the KonMar method, as did my BFF after I did it, also a working mom. We read both of her books before starting. The second is better for understanding the categories. Netflix doesn’t really do it justice. Both of us found it great for everything except kids toys. All in all, it wasn’t “completely ridiculous” for these two working moms. In fact, it kept me sane and helped me understand how to tackle organization. I do think some people are more inclined to be organized and see patterns for how to declutter. Others of us can learn it, and MK is a great way to learn it if you read her books and realize that a person from another culture can really widen your understanding.

        1. Agree… the Netflix show did not so it justice and the 2nd book gives a better step by step guide. This method kept me insane as well, not because I have OCD. I am actually a lazy cluttery hoarder who likes quick and easy practical clean up tips. But what the KonMari method teaches us is mainly how to appreciate the things you own and giving each one a home to put back to. In her second book, she mentioned that there maybe times that you will have temporary clutter and not put the things in their homes but that’s ok. As long as you have a home for each item, then everything will just come together at some point. I hope you read the 2nd book an maybe you can appreciate the method better. I think the method not only focus on decluttering but a change of mindset on how to see the things you own in a more personal way.

  3. I’ve never tried her method but I am big on decluttering! We recently moved from a 2300 sq ft house to a 300 sq ft camper–this was also due to a bout with postpartum anxiety–I just needed simplicity! Thanks for the great post!

    1. Wow! That is a big change for sure! I hope your journey to simplify brings you peace and happiness. That is the exact reason that I created this site – to share strategies with other overwhelmed moms. Minimalism, decluttering and simplifying have had a profound impact on my health and happiness as a mother and I want to spread the word!

  4. In watching the episodes, in most homes this was a long process, it’s not like it was expected of them to be done in one day. If you don’t like it, don’t use it? It’s not like there aren’t other methods.

    1. Yes, there are definitely other methods. That is why I shared this post – because everyone is different and what works for one family may not work for another. It seems like everyone is going crazy over this one method and I just want to make sure that if people feel unsuccessful they realize that it may just mean that this wasn’t the correct method for them. I have found methods that work for my family through trial and error and that is what I love to share with my readers.

  5. Lauren, I see lots of good in the KonMari method, but I don’t like having folded clothes in a dresser as well as hanging clothes in a closet. I prefer to hang everything. That way nothing is “forgotten” in my dresser. I hang my sweaters, jeans and workout clothes as well. Why not? If a sweater is one that does better folded than placed on a hanger in the usual way, I just fold it lengthwise and hang it over the horizontal part of the hanger. I even hang my scarves on hangers, one scarf per hanger. This is so much more convenient for me, and things I’d forgotten about for years are now getting worn (and complimented!). And, no, I don’t have a huge closet, so I have set a limit of 90 hangers and might reduce that further.

  6. I usually declutter clothes and accessories twice a year when seasons change. Also I store the clothes that are not in season so getting out all my stuff is not doable. The other thing is that I don’t own so many clothes so I easily see them and know which ones have to go.
    Also the folding works only for underwear for me as these are the things that go in drawers. Having drawers isn’t big in Greece. We have hanging areas in our closets and shelves where we stack clothes (and yes I can see them all this way).

  7. I love the idea of the KonMari method but have to agree it isn’t really do able for most families, oh it might be okay for a single person in an apartment. I am clearing out some at the moment after retiring I see where we need to take better care of the home. My business name would be: JacDian, not nearly as catchy as MorRhon or KonMari!

  8. I have! My husband and i are in the kimono stage – and it is working extremely well for us! I’m pregnant in the 3rd trimester and we carve out every weekend to knock out one of the sections – granted, we are already minimalistic and don’t believe in hoarding tons of crap so I feel that contributes to why this method is so practical and doesn’t take that long to accomplish. & while i see how it’s overwhelming- I think I do understand the idea behind just knocking it out. You are right though – everyone is in a different situation and if your current lifestyle is so grossly different – it would be super hard to accomplish without someone helping. I for one – am a major convert ? and have seen and used the benefits in the books. I’ve read all three and constantly use them to have self discipline in my own place. It has helped me learn to discard, put things back and enjoy folding which i used to hate! I love it so much… my life is changed.

    1. Hi Marissa,

      I am so glad her method is working for you. As you can tell from reading my post there are aspects of her method that work for me too. From what you have written I am also thinking that you are pregnant with your first child. I actually think Marie Kondo’s method is perfect for single people or couples without kids. Once your child has arrived you will discover that your life changes quite a bit. For me, that meant a serious bout of post-partum anxiety that was debilitating. It was a “flexible” method of decluttering that helped me to overcome the stress and overwhelm I felt. Again, speaking only of my own experience I think the method’s that she suggests can be a challenge for families with young children. Between nursing, diaper changes, working full-time and all the other tasks of running a household I did not have time to fold every item or wake up my books.

      Does her method work for some people? Absolutely! I just don’t want people to feel like failures if the method doesn’t work for them. Hopefully they can see that there are other methods that will be a better fit for their lifestyle.

  9. I don’t think her method is perfect but to say In your title and pictures that it is “completely ridiculous” comes off a little spiteful. especially because one of your reasons is that you just don’t like the name. Last names are said first in Japan.

    1. Hi Brooke – I think if you re-read my intro you will see that I am not spiteful at all. I just experience my life from my own perspective and when I tried to apply her strategies in my home it felt ridiculous to me.

      Many people have commented on the fact that in Japan the names are said in reverse. I knew and understood that when I wrote the post. I also understand that in Japan they do not cut out letters of their name and combine them into one word. That is what I found to be silly.

      I appreciate you reaching out to me so that I could explain myself a little better.

      1. I found your article well organized and I am a great read. Just to share a cultural fact, interestingly, it is actually very common in Japanese culture and language to combine last and first names together to create nicknames by shortening both. My famous actors and actress has names like that created by fans. For example, the popular actor Kimura Takuya is affectionately called “Kimu-Taku” in Japan. It is something friends can call each other as well. It is just like in English how we combine couple names by shorten them. https://japanese-names.info/column/the-rules-of-japanese-nicknaming/

        I stumped on your article because I have done Konmari and it worked great the first time, but I had huge trouble maintaining my house and changing my habits. I had a minimal wardrobe after getti g rid of a lot of my clothes, and found that I was lacking joy. Minimal lifestyle also is not designed for everyone. There is no one technique fits all like you said, and I don’t think we should pressure ourselves in doing so.

        1. Thank you for sharing that. I love that we can all learn from each other. I think it is so important for us all to be flexible and realize that we are each on our own journey and our experiences as individuals cannot and will not be the same. I am happy to connect with other people here who struggled with the method, like I did, but can still be successful with decluttering using a variety of other methods.

  10. So, you’re basically raging because you and your family didn’t commit to yourself. No method will work if you consider it too overwhelming (that probably means you have too much stuff to get rid of anyway!) and then give up, or don’t really want to follow it. Not even starting on the ridiculous things you pointed out, really; her method calls for you to take everything out at once EXACTLY so you can be shocked by the amount of it. If it’s too much and you don’t have enough time, do it by parts. Take one category of clothing out – tops, bottoms, etc. That is, if you really want to.

    1. Hi Amanda – I didn’t see any part of my post that I would consider “raging” as you stated. I was just sharing my experience.

      At the end of your post you suggested that I modify her method and do it by parts. But if “taking everything out at once” is the hallmark of the KonMari Method – and I don’t do it that way. It isn’t really the KonMari Method anymore is it?

      I think that her method does a great job of inspiring everyone to get started – but I keep reading example after example of people who “changed it” to make it work for them. Ultimately – that is what matters most! However, it really isn’t what Marie Kondo is teaching that is getting them clutter free – she was just a starting point.

      1. I think most people get offended by your article because the title includes stating that the KonMari Method is ridiculous, which for most people who had been helped by this method, it seems really offensive and I felt that you intentionally put the title as such, so you can have more readers. I am a bit sad that the method didn’t work for you. But I felt a little insulted because by saying the KonMari method is ridiculous, it feels that those who follow it are also ridiculous. It would have been nicer if you just put that the KonMari method didn’t work for you as the title. But I suppose, that’s not really an eye catcher for a title.

        1. Sorry you took something that I wrote about my own experience personally. I was just sharing my own experience and I never considered that someone would read my experience and think that I am referring to them. I think we all deserve to have our opinions and share our experiences without the risk of offending others, especially when our intention is to help people see that there are other ways to be successful. My apologies for offending you, in sharing my own experience (that the method was ridiculous to me) I never meant to offend anyone. Peace to you!

  11. WinRach Method. Yikes lol.

    I did the KonMari method in my house and I am a PACKRAT. That being said, it took like two whole months (I have 2 small children) and by the end I had a melt down where I made my husband take the kids one night so I could finish what I had been working on for days. I do feel much better now, but the process was grueling. And I don’t fold my clothes like that lol. I hang almost everything. I like the method, but it isn’t practical for families with small children in my experience.

  12. PatDeni here…I read the book a couple of years ago and took a year and a month to declutter a 3400 sf house per her method. (I work full-time and we were building a second home – with our own hands! – almost three hours away, during that period. Plus the usual life activities. Yikes. We were nuts, I freely admit…).

    Anyway, I have maintained it for over a year now, and I can attest to its efficacy for me. My house has STAYED decluttered, unlike all the other methods I had tried over the years. Wish I could have known about the method decades ago…

    She’s a little hard to take in some things…”dingy” is a word that comes to mind with all of the “waking up the books” and such. But it certainly worked for us!

  13. My drawers, walls and countertops look lovely and peaceful with the decluttering, folded items, expanses of plain walls and pretty boxes that I made myself. But my husband is still so minimalistically O.C.D. that nothing but bare white walls and nothingness everywhere will please him.

  14. As a new professional organizer, I’m asked about her methods all the time – as many in my field do. Her advice is good but like all the organizers before her – parts work for some and others do not. I liked your article because it was filled with self deprecating humor, practical experience , and a writer’s approach to a new fad . Her marketing approach is brilliant and has helped to broaden the dialogue of too much stuff and finding inner joy. Just like a menu – find what you like .

  15. I’ve completed the whole process and am pleased to report it’s been easy to maintain.
    As to the not having time for the folding, I have to say that folding this way adds about 5 seconds per item. Not a deal breaker for me in order to have beautifully organized drawers. Granted I don’t do precision origami folds like she does, but my more casual approach gets to the same end result. When I take a tshirt or knit top out of the dryer I hold it up and fold it vertically (put the shoulders together), and then I fold it in half across the middle forming a rectangle. Notice no folding on the floor or table required. This is where I used to stop. I’d place that entire stack of folded shirts in the drawer and call it done. Now I take my stack of rectangular tops to the dressers and open the drawer. I take each shirt one by one and fold it one additional time in half and stand it in the drawer. I leave this last fold until it’s about to go in the drawer only because a stack of smaller squares is less stable to carry from the laundry room to the bedroom. If you have a particularly long shirt fold it in thirds before sticking it in the drawer. I really don’t see the folding as a giant time consumer and now everything in our drawers is uniformly stored and easily visible.
    On a related note – I’ve never understood when people treat folding laundry like a separate job. “I did the laundry but it takes forever to get to the folding”. What? I take each item from the dryer and fold it. Why would anyone pull out the whole load and jam it in a basket and leave it there for days to get wrinkled? To me it seems like the equivalent of unloading your dishwasher onto the counter and saying you’ll put the dishes away in a couple of days.

    1. To Jenny from the North: I totally agree about folding laundry. Laundry is 1) washing, 2) drying, 3) folding, 4) putting away. Then it is done. I think many people don’t get to the folding and putting away because they gather up random loads of clothing and linens which require lots of thought and effort to put it all away. I do each person’s laundry separately so that I’m folding and putting away similar items in one room. When our five children were at home I washed the clothes of “roommates” , or all the boys and all the girls. I didn’t do a load or two everyday, I did lots of loads for a day or two. It’s all in how you do it. I love your analogy of the dishwasher!

  16. I like to look at the big picture, and as I am approaching 70, I like to hear what younger people have to say.

    I applaud Marie Kondo for her success and I applaud you for your blog.

    As many have already pointed out, a wise approach is to take the best and leave the rest. Each person, each method, has something to teach us.

    KonMari is indeed a fad, more helpful than harmful. That cannot be said of every fad. I have seen a few, over the years.

    As you mentioned, I also admire her gentleness and non-judgmental approach.

    I see no reason to make fun of the name. And if you would like to correct a spelling error, I spotted one. Sorry about that. One of many careers was an editor and I can’t help it. I think you meant bout and you spelled it bought? I cannot look back at the post in this screen, so I am not sure.

    My heart breaks for you a little when I read that your mother would not let you help with the chores. I try to imagine that and I can’t. I was sweeping, dusting and doing dishes at 7, mowing the lawn at 13, in charge of the garden by 14, cooking the dinners, doing the baking and sewing my clothes at 16. My mother and I shared chores until we lost half the family in a drowning accident and then I took on more. I was also unofficially adopted into 2 other families… A working mother of 6. She was single and had 5 boys. And a farm family with 12 kids.

    So it is really, really hard for me to imagine a family where everyone is not required to pull their weight.

    Today my husband and I have a small permaculture farm in Hawaii where young people come to learn animal husbandry. And I am still learning how to create a happy, healthy, harmonious household.

    Leonardo Da Vinci’s last words were, “I am still learning.” I hope I can live up to his example. And I wish you the very best, for you and your husband and your family. Thank you for doing your best and thank you for your blog.

  17. I read her book and found it a little ridiculous . I do not believe in thanking my belongings for doing their job! She seems to believe all our things are living. I could tell just from reading her method of putting all your clothing in a pile and then sorting, etc. , that it would be overwhelming. It would also be a lot of extra, unnecessary work to take everything off hangers just to hang them up again. Just take out the ones you no longer want or don’t fit.

  18. I had to giggle about your comment of folding not bringing joy. I worked retail while finishing my degree and stayed with it until I retired. ? Actually, folding is one of the few household chores that does bring me joy. I’ve never read her book or watched her show, so I can’t speak to her method. I built my own “folding table” so I could make my clothes as beautiful as in the store. I do prefer to hang most things, but I just really enjoy folding, including all the linens in my home. I do want to thank you for this article. I think everyone needs to know that it is ok if what “everyone” is doing doesn’t work for them. I love to read and watch about decluttering, cleaning, and organizing, but I only use what speaks to me.

  19. Well i had the same problem
    My husband was not board with me.I had less stuff to begin with but i immediately donated all the clothes i and my kids were not going to use..Problem here in Germany is that we dont have closets like the States.We have a Cupboards and its difficult to fold clothes as we have to buy a lot of Boxes in the cupboard to fold clothes.so i moatly hang our clothes and fold clothea on shelves..Though i have section of Tshirt/Tops jeans but it get messed up..if you have any suggestion for that.Please let me know.In the end its always better to go for a method that works for you and your family

  20. The Kon Mari method works for me. She says you can do your clothes seasonally, and even break it down further, doing all pants, tops etc. This is how I did it, still the amount in each category was shocking, which helps you get rid of more. I had decluttered my closet while the clothes were hanging, but seeing them in a pile really makes you aware just how much you have. Shoes were a big category for me and I found that having them all out made I much easier to see the quantity and be able to get rid of more of them just because of the quantity of shoes, something I had not really recognized before. I haven’t missed anything I’ve gotten rid of. I have always folded many of my t/shirts and stacked them on shelves, which I thought worked just fine, but I decided to fold them and put them in drawers, I was amazed at how it was so much easier to see everything. I didn’t have too much ch sort, but I found I had credit card statements from as far back as 2005! It freed up a lot of file space. You So far I love her methods and it is definitely working for me.

  21. I’d like to interject something that I heard attributed to Martha Stewart once, that she doesn’t expect everyone to do everything exactly as she does, but that if they use one or two of her ideas and it enhances their life, she has helped them. It can be the same with Marie Kondo: use what works for you and improvise the rest.

  22. The drawbacks for us..a husband who prefers to have everything visible…ie…on the table top or counter preferably at the front ! A) Too many hobbies requiring lots of bits…for both of us B) buying for the future ..why by one for x dollars when for xx dollars we will have 15 because we will need at least one new one a year…also the repair etc will be done easily without running to town, C) reference books and magazines…last time we got rid of some, there was regrets within 2 months .
    My solution…family/ hobby room & an finished basement. Living room rule…no more than two Unshelved books at any time, no clothing .that way there is room for drinks and company to sit. We have survived fifty odd years this way.

  23. Hi Lauren ,
    I’ve read both Marie Kondo’s book many time. Would I be wrong to say that you only read the first one ? The second one is more like a practical guide and in that one she suggests that if you can’t for any reason do all the clothes in one go you can do them in categories starting with tops since they’re closest to your heart. In that book you also have all the diagram for folding and displaying your thing , it’s less theory and more practical technical stuff.

    I started using her folding technique maybe 5 or 6 years ago and I still use it everyday and I’m a mom of a 2 and a half and pregnant , I love folding , it’s my relaxing and favourite chore. But I know it’s not like that for everyone, but I just wanted to say that yes even a busy mom of a little kid can use her folding techniques and enjoy it 🙂

    I personally don’t think it’s more for single people or without children , I think it depends more on your personality and interest. Here we love tackling projects like that as a family even asking the little one to help. But I totally understand that working on a project then working your job can be really exhausting .

    I enjoyed your article even if I don’t completely share your opinion , it was well articulated and I think it’ll be helpful for some people.

    1. Hi Valerie – Thank your for your kind response and for sharing your perspective. You hit the nail on the head: It works for some people and doesn’t for others. In my home we also like to tackle projects as a family and include the little ones, her folding technique didn’t work for us. You are correct, that I didn’t read her second book. I didn’t really want to invest more time or money into a system that didn’t work for me. The blessing of reading her first book was that I discovered her methods didn’t work for me, but along the way found alternatives that did. The reason that I wrote this article is because I don’t want anyone to feel like a “failure” if they can’t make KonMari work, or they feel frustrated or overwhelmed with her method. I want everyone to know that you can still successfully declutter an minimize and there are other strategies to help you reach these goals. Ultimately, the goal is to declutter – the actual process you take to get there doesn’t really matter.

  24. I found your article on Pinterest and want to share my experience on the Konmarie method. I learned the folding techniques from Youtube and found it fun to watch and do, but the problem is:

    1) My clothing is plus size, so how do I fold them?
    2) I tried double layering my pijamas since they are big but still not much room in my small kids’s drawers.
    3) My pjs get all wrinkly! And in her book or Youtube said it doesn’t “get wrinkles.” Wrong!

    I then bought the manga book which is more of a fairytale than tutorial. I couldn’t understand the process at first but it has a good story of a single woman having time to find a boyfriend by cleaning her apartment the KonMarie way.

    I felt that there has to be some kind of flaw to this method until you hit the nail in the head! Yes, it is too much for me to just pull out all the clothes and make a bigger mess. Maybe there is a reason for it in her mind when she created this, but I like your way better for me: to just take out the things you don’t need anymore. Makes so much more sense. So thank you for sharing! I am truly grateful. 🙂

  25. Hi! Thank God I found you on Pinterest today.
    I finally decided to organized my closet on the Mari Kondo’s system and I just did three drawers of my dresser and I am so tired and my room is a mess.
    I was so overwhelm that I was ready to quit! But I will follow your suggestion as to do it without taking out all the cloth at a time.
    So, thaks again for your ideas!
    Nora

    1. Hi Nora – YAY! I am so glad this post made you feel better. That is exactly why I wrote it. I didn’t want anyone else to feel like decluttering was impossible just because the KonMari Method didn’t work for them. Keep going and find what works best for you!

  26. Wow. I am correctly immersed in the KonMarie method….you wouldn’t want to see my living room. And I truly appreciate this post. I think you gracefully gave credit to Marie Kondo, while spelling out the realistic side of working families who are not on television. The last few days I have cried, fought with my husband, and turned our home into a tornado trying to organize my life. I LOVE the spark joy element. THAT is the key to all of it in my opinion. Does this spark joy?! I had to allow myself to keep an ENTIRE box of clothes that don’t fit because by God they spark joy and I am fine with that. I love that you respected Marie, while making it a tad more realistic. I am sorry for any back lash you have recieved, but you are saying what people are feeling, I guarantee it. Cleaning a house and getting rid of clutter is a task, and a lifestyle, but I do think it is a process unique for everyone. Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. You are correct, I never meant to offend anyone. I am simply sharing my personal experience and providing support for people who are overwhelmed or unsuccessful using this method. Just because someone is not successful with this strategy does not mean they are a bad person, and I am not a bad person for sharing my experience and opinion. Instead, I am providing encouragement to others to keep going and to find what works best for them. I really appreciate your perspective and glad you took the time to share.

  27. Years ago there was a practical method from a down to earth real world woman that had the minimalist de clutter idea at its root but understood the pressure we are all under .FLY LADY has many great ideas I see repeated elsewhere, a gentle humour and an understanding of real life Check it out on line

  28. I just finished the book and I’m planning on starting the konmari method tomorrow while my son is in preschool. I’m glad to have read this before hand so I can go easy on myself if I start to feel overwhelmed. Because of this post, I think I’ll start really small, with just my tops rather than all my clothes… Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  29. I found your post on Pinterest and I AM 100% WITH YOU ON FOLDING VS HANGING HOLY COW.

    People get soooo hung up (pun intended) on her “magical folding technique” and hanging as few things as possible without considering the fact that her method originated in JAPAN. Japanese dwellings are typically much smaller than in the West and, as a result, have less closet space. Folding/standing (which takes up less space) makes a lot of sense in Japan, where space is so limited. It doesn’t translate as well to America, where we have a lot more space to hang things. SO HANG THINGS BECAUSE IT SAVES TIME.

    I already feel like I waste too much time ironing the three shirts I have that require doing so, so devoting even more time to folding clothes that will fit just as well on a hanger seems absurd. I fold my t-shirts, tank tops, and leggings. Everything else gets hung up. If I ever get to the point where I don’t have enough room to hang things (rare), then I know it’s time to cull my wardrobe again.

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