I Like THIS Organizer Better than Marie Kondo...

“Have you seen “Tidying Up” on Netflix?!”  I’ve been asked this at almost every client session this past week. Who knew a show about STUFF could be so controversial?!

For those of you who don’t know, Marie Kondo, and her method of organizing, trademarked as the KonMari Method, entails going through all your possessions in your house at one time (even if it takes weeks), in a specific order, and by category not room: Clothing, books, miscellaneous stuff, and sentimental items. You should hold each item, and only keep it if it sparks joy.

Don’t get me wrong - There’s a LOT like about this method, and by no means want to deflate it. Here’s what I like about it:

  • I love that it’s opening up a dialogue about our relationship with stuff. More folks are starting to realize the value and impact of a well organized space.

  • I love that the “afters” on the Netflix show aren’t necessarily picture perfect. They’re real!

  • I, of course, really like that she encourages simple storage solutions, like storing small items in shoe boxes - rather than pricey and fancy containers.

  • I like that she generally focuses on decluttering, rather than organizing. See my post here about the importance of decluttering first. ;)

  • And I’m happy she gives permission to folks to decide for themselves whether items spark joy or not. It’s a great habit to practice!

  • And Marie Kondo is an adorable, wise human...Nobody can deny this scientific fact.

Linda tries to use the KonMari method with Teddy.

At the same time….. there’s some hesitations I have about the method. My main qualms being that it seems like a “one-size-fits-all” method, and it’s a tad shaming if you don’t follow the method perfectly (i.e. Doing the whole house at once and in that specific order, by category and not by room).

Some of you know that I have a degree in Social Work. A big saying throughout my courses was, “meet the client where they are.” And this makes sense, right? As a therapist or counselor, why would you force someone to do something they’re not ready to do, even if you know it would benefit them in the long term?

“Pushing a client to change does little more than increase their unwillingness. Evidence suggests that working with, rather than against, clients' resistance is optimal. The key is to involve clients at their own pace (unless medically ill-advised) to formulate their own plan of action for treatment. Change is far more likely to occur when clients muster their own (intrinsic) motivation and perceive the decision to change as their own” (Psychology Today).

To me, it seems like the rigid demands of the KonMari method don’t often meet people where they are. If you’re at a place in your life where you don’t have the time, money, or emotional capacity to declutter ALL your belongings at ONCE and in this specific order, then you’re encouraged to not even try!

This leaves a lot of folks feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, and shamed before they even start. And unfortunately, these are the (completely normal) people who need decluttering and organizing support the most.

I like this organizer better than Marie Kondo - Her name is Fay Wolf and she specializes in serving creative folks. Watch her video about the importance of progress over perfection here.

Join professional organizer Fay Wolf as she shares manageable steps to help creatives conquer physical clutter, digital clutter and inner clutter. Recorded at the Etsy Up Conference in New York City on August 11, 2016.

If you had to purchase one organizing book, I would recommend hers. I even reference it frequently myself, as a professional organizer!

Her approach makes decluttering and organizing seem easy and simple. Not like a task in which you’d need to put the rest of your life on hold. In addition to physical stuff, she also addresses tech clutter and mental clutter. Her approach, to me, feels more empowering - like she’s working alongside you, and not telling you what you should do. (Which is how I hope MY clients feel when I’m working with them).

So now you know what to do: Leave a nasty comment below sparking massive upheaval and debate about our polarizing views of pro organizers!!! I Incite Controversy!!!

Just kiddinnnngggg. Whether you’re #konmari-ing your way through your home, or a fan of Fay Wolf and her book #neworder, we can all agree that your environment matters.

Finding the right professional organizer is honestly a lot like finding the right therapist . Some approaches work for some people, some work for other people. It’s important to do your homework, and ensure that you can work well with whomever you hire, before you start working together.  Remember not to get frustrated with yourself or overwhelmed just because one woman’s specific approach hasn’t worked for you, no matter how adorable, petite, and wise she is.

Here’s to turning messy spaces into meaningful places (in whichever way works best for you)!

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