Tag Archives: Marie Kondo

Alice Goes KonMari

Update: Still decluttering around here.  This happy joy joy life changing process is taking a while, because there’s so much stuff and I rapidly vacillate from wanting to throw it all away in a blaze of glory, to wanting to gather my stuff in my hands and spit “My preciousss!” into imaginary cameras.  

gollum

Alice neeeedsth her DVDsss!

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Marie Kondo (see that older post) and other organizing gurus and how this whole minimalism concept and the idea of throwing out extra consumer crap is only for rich people because poor people can’t afford stuff.  The writers of these articles have clearly never met a poor person.  As if you have to have money for stuff!  I’ve never had a great deal of money, but I’ve always had stuff.  People love giving you stuff, because they redecorated or they just watched Netflix and now they have a spare entertainment center, or couch, or bed, or recliner, or T.V., or child.  And yes we’ve gotten every one of those things given to us – except the child. Our children were DIY projects.

But I digress.  Time to begin. 

Step One: Clothes

80s clothes

If you still have legwarmers, you’ve waited way too long to declutter.

We’ve also been given hand-me-down clothes – so many clothes – by well meaning people.  Thing One gets clothes, and Thing Two gets clothes, then Thing Two gets the clothes that Thing One just outgrew.  So she gets twice the clothes, and guess what?  They almost all spark joy in this kid, so she doesn’t like giving them up.  It’s hard to complain since my children have dressed like I spent hours in the dark searching Ambercrombie and Fitch when in fact I shop at Walmart where I can get shirts for a dollar.  One dollar shirts, guys.  Did I need the shirt?  Did they?  Well, not exactly, but hey you can wait a month to do laundry! 

laundry pile

Typical laundry day.

Maybe not the best plan.  I honestly thought I didn’t hold on to clothes that much before I started all of this, but it turns out I don’t really hold onto clothes so much as I just lose them in various places.  I have also changed size over the years, so I have clothes in various sizes because I might lose weight, or I might gain it.  You just never know.  The forties are fun!  I’ve gotten rid of bags of clothes, though, and lots of extra bed linens because there is no way I’m folding more than two sets of fitted sheets.  I’m also not using Marie’s cute little vertical napkin folding technique because it takes too damn long and I hang up most of my stuff.  Unless it’s a fitted sheet.  Then I properly cram it into my bottom dresser drawer in one giant wad, the way God intended.

fitted sheet fold

Wrong / Right

Our town has made giving stuff away much easier by installing lots of dumpsters painted bright colors that are marked for the Children’s Home.  This is awesome because I can drop my junk off and not have to show my face or talk to anyone.  It’s just like I’m throwing it away, only I’m not, I’m doing a good deed just like all those people did for me!  The only problem is that you can only dump clothes or shoes into it, not appliances or electronics or children – which you’d think they’d want being a Children’s Home and all.  I do wonder if they get unwanted stuff dumped in there anyway.  For instance, I heard that someone once dumped a live chicken into the book drop at the downtown library.  It sure sounds like a hilarious idea – I mean a terrible thing to do.  Thank goodness they now have cameras to keep people from this kind of mayhem.

chicken in library

We never had a chicken in the library.  Bats, snakes, hornets, sure . . .

So I’ve gone through my clothes once, and Thing Two volunteered a bag of clothes in exchange for four new clothing items at JC Penny’s where we were supposed to be shopping for dress shoes for her sister’s prom.  I wasn’t going to let her get them, but then she showed me that they were three to five dollars, marked down from forty dollars, so of course I was suckered into it.  She’s smart, that Thing Two.  There isn’t a thing in her closet at the moment, but the clothes make a nice, comfy carpet, so there’s that at least.  You are not supposed to “Konmari” someone else’s items, unless you can be super crafty about it so they don’t find out.  So I still have the kids’ clothes left.  My husband has few clothes, so that’s not a problem.  The extra cars and car parts might be, since I can’t lift those into dumpsters.  Not super crafty like anyway.

car in dumpster

I didn’t think I’d find pics of whole cars in dumpsters.  I clearly underestimated the American people.

So does my house look better?  Not a whole lot, but I’m making progress.  Of some sort.  While waiting for your house to transform you, I invite you to check out a different perspective on cleaning.  Jennifer McCartney (author of “The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the House”) is the real deal.  She is sarcastic and funny and gets paid for it, which means I should hate her on principal, but I still enjoyed her books.  If only I could get my parodies to market faster.  Maybe if I marked them “Twilight Sexy Times Declutter Wars”.  

Anyone else spring cleaning in April?  Let me know.  Also, do you want some stuff?

~ Alice

Tiny Tidy Tinder: Marie Kondo Madness!

I was trying to think of a title and I hit a button somewhere and WordPress shouted at me (they used an exclamation point!) that I hadn’t written anything yet.  And yes, I “got it!” WordPress you use cookies, though I think that’s a terrible thing to do to a great snack food.  It’s like what they did to Tinder.  It used to mean flammable material for lighting a fire and now it’s a dating app and – okay well that one maybe makes sense.

So what have I been up to maybe someone wonders?  So much.  I’ve been watching Netflix, and there is this tiny Japanese lady named Marie Kondo who organizes stuff for clueless Americans (like me!)  When I first saw her show, “Tidying Up” I said “She is so cute, it’s like I could put her in my pocket!”  And Thing Two who loves all things Japanese said, “I know, right?”  So we watched her program.  This is a girl who is really into mess.  I mean she gets super excited and bounces up and down.  She really needs to come to my house.  I could have this chick in hysterics.

marie sees my house

THIS IS THE BEST MESS EVER, ALICE! (explodes)

First she wrote a book called “Tidying up” because “tidy” sounds better than “Throwing away a lot of crap”.  I have not read her book yet, but it sounds like one of those you either really love or hate.  Apparently, some Americans aren’t impressed with practical advice coupled with blessing your socks and whatnot.  But there’s more, so much more!

Like she has her own T.V. show on Netflix, as I said, and she doesn’t even speak English.  She has an interpreter follow her around who I guess tells her whatever nonsense the American homeowner is saying, though we rarely see her doing this interpreting to Marie.  I think it’s because the interpreter mostly just makes that hand motion of “blah blah blah” and Marie’s like, got it, and smiles and nods her head a lot, which is enough to satisfy her customers.

So what makes Marie different from other organizing gurus besides being so cute -omg one time she hopped on a decorative carousel horse which would crack under my weight but practically floated under her – and Japanese?  It turns out Japanese people are different from us. They are tiny because they have tiny houses on a tiny island.  Also, they eat a lot of rice and veggies and possibly poisonous seafood instead of cows.  So without a lot of space, you can only store so much stuff.  Their solution is to keep most of their stuff in enormous stores selling Hello Kitty and only Hello Kitty.

hello-kitty-vivitix

Typical Japanese storage unit

Yet we only have the option of expensive storage units that people raid on TV here, so we have to figure out how to clean out the big messes we can’t afford in the big houses we can’t afford.  Japanese people are not only different than us, they also think differently.  I took a class years ago on Non-Western world literature that freaked out most of my classmates because we had to make “paradigm shifts” to understand another culture.  (I never hear “paradigm shift” anymore, so maybe it’s called something like “Special Snowflake Shift”.)  In Japan they have Shinto, and no that is not a restaurant (pretty sure?)  It’s like a religion, but not a religion, so kind of more like Buddhism, though it’s not that either.  Basically you just have it as a way of life, got it?  Great.

Marie takes aspects of Shintoism that are really nutso, like paying respect for your possessions.  In one episode, she gets on her knees to understand the house (So sorry these people messed you up!) and the family awkwardly closes their eyes like they are doing the same thing, though I know the parents are secretly wondering how their Tinder profiles are doing.

marie kondo ritual

Ohhhh what this house has seen . . .

This inanimate object stuff is really big with Marie, though.  First you take, say, all your clothes and throw them in a one big pile (this has to be ouchy for the clothes I’d think) and then you pick up one piece at a time and decide if it “sparks joy” for you.  If you aren’t sparked, you are supposed to thank it for serving you (oh thank underwear for hiding my butt) and put it in the “get rid of” pile.  I love watching the men especially thank their T-shirts, etc., cause you know as soon as Marie leaves they are going back to tossing it at the nearest pile.

She also likes folding, and by folding I mean she makes clothes into tiny napkin rings and places them neatly in a drawer.  If I went to that much trouble folding my clothes, I’m not sure if I’d ever wear them again.  Maybe that’s the secret?  I haven’t seen it on the show yet, but apparently in the book Marie is super concerned for socks, describing how they have to protect your feet from brutal beatings and deserve a rest.  I can only imagine what she thinks about our underwear. Maybe we should just immediately make them funeral pyres out of mercy.

marie-kondo-554x350

No one can be this excited about cleaning . . . can they?

I know this all sounds weird, but that’s because she’s weird, only her weird comes in handy.  She tells about being a child of five who entertained herself by reading cleaning magazines and advising her mother on how to better clean their house.  I bet that went over well.  Her method of cleaning even has a name, the “KonMari Method” taken from her name.  Yup, she thought that up herself.  She has plenty of fans who are even stranger though, calling themselves “Konverts” (get it?) and purging their houses in fits of “Kondomania”.

I realize I’ve poked fun at little Marie, but I honestly kind of like her style.  Is it that bad to be thankful that we do have so much crap we have to get rid of it?  My anxiety peaks while walking around my messy house, which I see much more of now.  I long for a nice, peaceful empty space free of dust and piles of clutter.  I love my things, though, and there’s just no way I’m getting a “minimalist” house that looks like an art museum (1 painting per white room) with a husband, kids, and myself in the way.  And that’s okay.  Maybe I could just make a start.

As soon as I’m finished watching the latest episode.

~Alice