On the “Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo Phenomenon...

I’m willing to bet that by this time you have heard of Marie Kondo. Whether you were an early reader/adopter of her books, or are just getting into the show “Tidying Up”, there’s no denying that the organization bug has hit… hard! The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was an inspiration for me, and indeed changed my perspective on my possessions, and what I choose to surround myself with. Since everyone is weighing in on the popular show, here are a few takeaways from us here at Abridged:

On “Sparking Joy”-Marie Kondo’s signature question, which she uses as a criteria for whether to keep or discard an item (“Does this spark joy?”) is deceptively simple, and has an almost magical quality. Oftentimes we accumulate objects according to someone else’s criteria: “What furniture do I need to fill up this space?,” “What is trendy right now?,” or “What do my friends and neighbors have in their houses?” Or sometimes we just take gifts or hand-me-downs without much thought about if we really want them or not. Our environment has the power to make us feel a certain way, which is why it is so important to pay attention to our emotional reaction to our things, rather than just a rational assessment. We deserve to be surrounded with items that bring us joy, comfort, and inspiration, so we can live our lives accordingly. This is a very personal, and illuminating process. What qualities spark joy for you? Do bright colors and intricate patterns energize you? Or do you prefer the serenity of clean lines and natural materials? There’s no right or wrong style, just be true to what works for you! That said, perhaps not everything in your house will spark joy (unless you have a novelty plunger that you absolutely love), but it’s a good goal to work towards.

On Thanking Your Possessions-Marie Kondo has a very unique organizing process...One of her quirks is that she likes to kneel down with the family and do a sort of meditation, asking the house to help with their work. She also recommends that when letting go of an item, you thank it for it’s support. This may resonate with some, and sound a little wacky to others, but whichever camp you are in, I think we can agree that having more gratitude and intention in our lives is beneficial.

When we take the time to be grateful for the people and things in our lives, we can find some comfort, a respite from the constant striving to do, have, and be more.

On the “Work” of Organizing-What I appreciate about “Tidying Up” is that it is a more realistic depiction of “home-makeovers” than other reality TV shows. Usually on a home renovation show, the family offers a few suggestions about what they like, and then it’s up to a crew to come in and do all the work, and then present them with a polished product at the end. The families on “Tidying Up” are in the thick of it. It takes long hours and difficult decisions, and they must also learn the skills to maintain that organization after the filming is done. The finished space may not be magazine perfect, with a slew of matching containers, and everything tucked away out of sight, but it is a transformation nonetheless. Much like a weight loss program, or other resolution, tidying up is a process that requires dedication, and does not happen overnight.

On Sharing Responsibility-One of the things I love most about Marie Kondo’s process, is how she compels everyone in the house participate in the project. Oftentimes one member of the household (we all know who this usually is…) feels forced to keep track of everyone’s belongings and schedule, and lays down the standard of how the household functions. This often leads them to feel burned out, while other members in the household may feel helpless or like they are being nagged. When a family (or couple, or roommates) decide on their shared goals together, and put in that work together, they grow closer. Everyone in the family can feel their needs and wants are being met, and they can feel like a responsible, productive member of their family “team.” If you are tackling a project at home, why not invite everyone to join you? You might just be surprised at the results.

On “Professional Organizing”-While we can definitely appreciate what Marie Kondo is doing, our methods here at Abridged are a little different. We prefer to be present during the organizing process, so we can guide you (we want to create a “road map” to your goals), encourage you, and help you make decisions (sometimes it’s a bit more complicated than “Does this spark joy?”). We aim to teach you the skills you need to maintain your organization, and to change your habits for the better. If you’re finding the DIY approach overwhelming, let us help!