I used to be organized. Really, I was. I could open my closets and not want to retch, and I could get full loads of laundry done from start to finish on the same day. I was on top of things in my house, and clutter did not accumulate on my watch.
Then I had kids.
And any semblance of order in my house was blown to bits, much like my abdominal muscles during my C-section.
My house is a train wreck, y’all.
A hot, chaotic mess of a disaster to be exact, and I don’t foresee regaining control any time soon. It’s maddening, and some days, I look around my house with a frustrated sigh and wonder where it all went wrong. When, exactly, did I stop giving a crap about my linen closets? I will admit that I’m embarrassed at the excess in our daily lives, and I know we can do better as a family to streamline our belongings.
In an effort to make myself feel like I was being proactive about the explosion at a mattress factory that my house has become, I picked up the book everyone has been talking about: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. When I read the title, I immediately got excited because I’m a huge fan of magic. And also, “life-changing” is pretty epic. Marie is no joke, people, and she takes getting your shit together to a whole new level. And the book was just so cute and pretty that I thought, surely, Ms. Kondo could help me get back on track.
As I perused the book, I became more and more irritated. Yes, I used to declutter on a regular basis, and while it is true that my closets would at one time have made Monica on Friends weep, Kondo’s condescension and snobbery only succeeded in making me defensive about my overflowing shoe collection. Just look at a few of her “suggestions”:
1. ‘Everyone Needs a Sanctuary’
Uh, ya think, Miss Marie? My sanctuary is in a dark corner of my overflowing closet. If I cleaned out the clothes I haven’t worn since 1992, my kids would actually find me. Bad idea, Kondo. You can have your perfect sanctuary, lady. I’m fine hiding in my messy one, thank you very much.
2. ‘Decorate Your Closet With Secret Delights’
OK, I will concede that I have been known to do this on occasion. But something tells me that Marie did not mean chocolates and my People magazine when she wrote “secret delights.”
3. ‘Empty Your Bag Everyday’
Marie, a word? Do you know how much shit I have to pack to spend a day out with my kids? Have you ever taken a day off from decluttering your perfect ivory tower and spent the day at the pool with your kids? My guess is that the answer is a big, fat “NOPE” because there’s no way you’d feel like putting away the 684 items you packed only to repack them all for tomorrow’s journey to the pool. Let’s get serious here, Kondo.
4. ‘Gather Everything in One Space Before You Start Organizing’
Well, Marie, that might not be too hard for me to do because, currently, just about every stitch of clothing we own in this house is on the floor of my laundry room. And my kids are pretty good at making sure that pile doesn’t deplete itself, so if you don’t mind, I’ll start my organizing frenzy in the laundry room.
5. ‘You Should Have Freedom From a Life With Excess Stock’
Marie, you have clearly never been to Costco. Do us all favor and get a membership right away. Take your kids with you during dinnertime and not only will you have the joy of buying toothpaste and maxi pads in bulk, you’ll get a night off from tidying your kitchen. You’ll thank me, I promise.
Marie also tells us that we should pick up every item we own and determine whether it sparks joy in our hearts. If we feel joy, we get to keep the item. If not, it’s trash city. I have to be honest here: If I dared try to chuck the god-awful recliner that my husband loves so dearly, it would be the end of our marriage. Sorry, Marie, but I think your logic here is slightly flawed. Nice sentiment, though.
Perhaps my favorite part of Marie’s theory is her preferred method of folding clothing. Marie, honey, bless your sweet, oblivious tidying heart. Seriously, you are just precious if you think that I’m going to fold each piece of clothing like a piece of origami art. Thanks for the belly laugh, there, Marie. You really had me going for a minute.
Unfortunately, Marie Kondo did not change my life per se, but I did at least come up with a few bags of clothing to drop off at our local thrift shop. And I will concede that I do think of Ms. Kondo when I’m debating whether to buy yet another pair of strappy black sandals. But I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t bring me great joy to toss her book onto my forgotten book pile without another thought.