How Good is the Marie Kondo Method?


Few days back Netflix released a series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, the Japanese decluttering guru. Of course people binge watched it and tried to apply as much of it as possible in their lives considering it was around New Year and nothing screams ‘New Year New You’ like a healthy dose of tidying up. The #KonMari method as Marie likes to call it, involves specific steps like - respecting your belongings, getting rid of things that don’t ‘spark joy’, folding clothes instead of hanging, organising and so on. While she is an international celebrated pioneer in this rather niche industry, critics have as always criticised her ways. In order to evaluate her method we decided to create a list of Pros & Cons before we conclude our judgement for you.


Sparks Joy?

Her popular tip for segregating what goes and what stays is to hold each item in your house and ask yourself if it ‘Sparks Joy’. Sure it’s mocked and meme-d now, but it is definitely a great way to reconnect with your belongings and evaluate their importance in your life.

Category over Location

Her method preaches that you sort through a category as a whole rather than by going shelf to shelf or room to room. So say for example half of your closet is in your room, and the other half is in another room, it is important you pile it up all together and then begin the tidying process. This apparently gives you a better perspective of how much you own and how much you actually need and want.

Is Therapeutic

The KonMari method essentially boils down to discarding. While it may seem like you are just donating/throwing things you don’t like or need it has a deeper psychological effect. In the long run when this process is repeated every once in a while, it teaches you to let go. If you can let go that old ex’s tee you sure can let go of his toxic memory!
That dear ladies, is free therapy!

Makes you Value

The idea that you be mindful of your belongings and hold each one in your hands before deciding if it sparks joy or not and then when you decide it doesn’t, thanking it before tossing it away is kind of spiritual. Once you go through this tedious task you not only feel decluttered physically and mentally, you love value the things you decided to keep way more than you ever did before. These are the survivors after all!


Not a Longterm Solution

While tidying up works perfectly well as a new year resolution or as a festive cleaning, in the long run not many people can keep their mess organised. Even though Marie Kondo claims that her method really impacts the lives of those who follow her method in the long run, it seems like a very small percentage of people that can actually manage to do that.

The Joy Spark Maybe Temporary

The Zara dress you get dirt cheap may seem to spark joy in you today because it was such a bargain but in two weeks what if you are over it? This is one of the key points of criticism for the KonMari method. Joy is an emotion and emotions keep evolving and to base our long term decisions on a specific emotion doesn’t seem too practical.

Ignores the Bigger Picture

In the moment it may feel great but what if you cannot fix the root cause which is consumerism. You can throw all that you want, but what if you keep buying even more? What about all the waste that you just too out in those non-biodegradable plastic bags? Who is going to take care of it?
This approach merely amplifies the ‘not my problem’ attitude which is deeply problematic.

A One Size Fits All Approach

Different people have different reasons for being messy and it may be because of various psychological reasons. While her show seems to be inclusive, her method is not tailored to specific needs. Some people hoard for reasons that are deeply rooted in a disturbing past and hence something as simple as a ‘throw what you don’t like’ philosophy will neither suit them nor will it create a lasting impression.

So after evaluating the KonMari method we know that it maybe worth the hype and there are definitely things we can takeaway from the Declutter Queen but there is a lot that is missing in her theory. While the idea of throwing out things may be amazing for you because you end up with a tidy looking apartment, it isn’t all that great for global economy and environment. Tidying up every now and then is great but what’s better is to be mindful and not give into the cult of consumerism. Every product you buy requires many resources that go into the making and tossing it out just because it doesn’t spark joy is not the best idea. It would be eyeopening if we all saw the waste we leave in our attempts of seeking materialist pleasure. Living a sustainable and zero waste life are not the only solutions, in case you were wondering. Reusing, Recycling and Repairing are great alternatives that will make a huge difference as well.
So while we love purging our junk and tidying up and hence think the KonMari method is good for the person tidying up, we definitely think it isn’t good enough for the world as a whole.

ps - The best thing to learn from the KonMari method is the brilliant folding technique.