“I just got KonMari-ed!” sings the husband from the Holderness Family’s hilarious parody “Tidying Up: The Musical.” In this video, he jokingly complains about all the changes his wife has made based on an organizational strategy spearheaded by Marie Kondo.
This strategy was launched into the limelight when Netflix released a series called Tidying Up featuring Japanese consultant, Marie Kondo. Her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up which has been out for a few years has been a bestselling hit. Her teaching, much of which is satirized in various memes, focuses on keeping items that “spark joy.” She also explains that organizing should be done by category instead of by room, with sentimental items being organized last.
She has other techniques such as using small boxes to organize drawers and folding clothes in a unique way so that you can see what item of clothing it is. Storage bins, she suggests, should be clear to enable you to see the contents as well. These strategies are all very helpful in having a clearer and accessible vision of the contents of your house.
She also teaches a sense of appreciation for the house. In her show, she makes a point of kneeling on the floor and greeting the house. In one episode, the couple was brought to tears from this moment, explaining that they hadn’t really considered how grateful they were for their home and the memories it held. In addition, before getting rid of an item, Marie Kondo requests that you thank the item.
A Popular Trend
While many have mocked her approach, it has taken the country by storm. A quick look at Google Trends documents the rising popularity, particularly after the Netflix release. Social media, especially Instagram, shows images of organized closets and drawers of people who have “kondo-ed” their houses.
I myself have been inspired by the simple approach she takes to organization. I love that the goal is not to remove everything but instead to enjoy the space you live in. While some of her antics seem hokey, her emphasis on appreciating and enjoying what you have is appealing to me. Many of us live in our homes with a sense of shame–too tired or overwhelmed to make it work. We see our cluttered closets, bursting garages, and jumbled drawers and just feel like failures. We live in our homes, but we are also quietly exasperated with them also.
The physical houses we live in aren’t the only ones we have such mixed feelings about. Many of us have the same sense of shame and discontent with the bodies we live in. We see the many areas that need improvement and are locked in shame–without enjoyment of our bodies and without motivation to improve it.
What can we learn from the Marie Kondo method that can apply to our lives as well?
First, we need to appreciate our home, the body.
Before we come to it with any idea of change, we must come with an idea of acceptance, and yes, gratitude. Just as our homes serves its purpose of providing protection from the elements, our bodies serve its purpose of movement and interaction. We should be grateful for limbs that move and organs that work. We are alive because our bodies are working, however inefficiently we think that might be. Just stop and remember all the millions of processes going on in your body right at that moment just so you can be alive. This makes me immensely grateful for this life and all that has to work together so I might be here.
Second, the goal isn’t to look the same.
What I loved about watching the Netflix series was that people, for the most part, did not change the way their homes looked. They didn’t update their style or decorating ideas or even replace furniture. They maintained their own sense of self–what had changed was their ability to move within the space more easily. Their home became more accessible, not more trendy. They were able to be more in sync with the home they had already created.
We don’t need to achieve some ideal body image in order to love our bodies. We did not get to choose our bodies like we got to choose our houses, but we can learn to appreciate what it has to offer. What is special about your body? What does it do well?
Perhaps we can learn to look at ourselves and others, not in comparison to some impossible ideal, but in appreciation of its unique contribution. Our goals for self-improvement could be for ease in movement, instead of to conform to a shape that might be popular for the moment. Being healthy and feeling good should trump being a specific size or feeling attractive.
Finally, be empowered to improve your life even when you cannot change it.
I think it’s important to have a healthy idea of what we can accomplish in our lives. We love the messages of nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it, but we all know this really isn’t true. We can always, always improve, but we cannot always change. I cannot change the fact that math is difficult for me. I can improve my math skills though.
What makes Marie Kondo’s method so effective is the sense that we can all do these small things to improve our lives. Even those of us who are organization-challenged can look at her goals and find them doable. No one is perfect, and she even admits that she herself has areas in her house that get cluttered.
We must offer ourselves some grace with who we are. This is the body that God has chosen for you. The body’s purpose is not to bring us everlasting joy or security or a sense of value. The fact that there are limitations on our bodies is a reminder that we are ultimately not in control.
I can and should try to enjoy my body, my home, and my life, but I also know that this is not all there is. My hope is not in my ability to pull it all together since there are many things that are impossible for me. My hope, instead, is in the fact that nothing is impossible for God. While I have limited control over my life, there is nothing He cannot do. God, and God alone, is the worker of true transformation of both body and soul.
I will continue improving my small part of the world while expressing gratitude for the many resources that are available to me. However, I know that my goal is not to make this life perfect. Instead, I put my faith in the One who is perfect and learn to walk in this life that has been gifted to me. In this way, we can all live lives that “spark joy” for us and others.