Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author of four books on organizing, which have collectively sold millions of copies around the world. The KonMari method sorts household contents into 5 categories. Her method of assessing is piling everything from around the house into one place then going though it item by item, keeping only what sparks joy while thanking the items that are let go, and storing what is kept in a way that keeps everything visible and therefore front of mind.
Having been living and advocating a pared-down, organized lifestyle for many years – and having limited influence on friends, somewhat more on clients – I’ve been surprised by how action-provoking this show has been on the people around me. They’re not just riveted to the TV screen, they’re actually doing it.
Here are some observations from this decorator and stager as to why there is such a strong reaction.
As a society we are ready to carry less. Less stuff and less debt. Marie Kondo is not the only voice that is being heard now advocating the move toward a simpler life, to fill our souls with joy, love and nature, instead of shopping.
Consumerism has contributed a great deal to the trouble our world is in and we long to fix it. As a decorator, it can be a struggle to balance the quest for beauty and doing the right thing. Every new element has been torn from the earth or created in a factory, and shipped with oodles of packaging material, all of which has an environmental cost. Consider that our landfills are full of this generation’s throw-away furniture and unwanted stuff. Are we filling our homes with things that don’t really matter to us, and at what cost?
Marie Kondo emphasizes respect and joy, and that having an organized home is the whole family’s responsibility. These values which she brings from her Japanese culture may be the real secret to her success. Kindness, compassion, helping out and good manners are taught from a very early age in Japanese schools. Aren’t these the very values that North America can use more of? Want to know more about the Japanese school system? Read the full article here.
People are without a doubt influenced by media. Just like the staging TV shows that that influenced the growth of the staging industry, and the renovation/design shows which have pushed the sale of décor products, Marie Kondo’s show is highly visual, portraying extreme examples and dramatic results with personal benefits throughout the process, such as a renewed connection between family members. Hopefully this will be more than a passing craze, and will make a real change in people’s lives. I visited a friend recently who had just Kondo’d her wardrobe. She read Marie’s book a few years ago and was not inspired to make any changes, but the Netflix shows got her moving.