After resisting the urge to relinquish all my possessions, as per the KonMari Method that has cleaned out the neat freaks across the world in amassing numbers for the last few years, I was quite surprised to find myself genuinely drawn into her helix, thanks to her neatly packaged little show on Netflix.
Marie Kondo, the Japanese Clean Queen, is a modern day icon. Immaculately presented with never a hair out of place. No matter how daunting the next-level hoarding looks to the untrained eye, she works her way through the homes of the cluttered, one pile at a time. Not a sign of mounting pressure in sight. In fact, the worse the mess, the happier she gets.
The show is a combination of your worst nightmare and a seamless dream, all wrapped up in one thoroughly efficient half hour or so. In fact, Kondo’s method has been so effective, that Op Shops across the country have reported extreme levels of oversupply since her Netflix debut.
The concept of piling all your belongings onto your unsuspecting bed, ceremonially thanking them for their existence, and then determining which spark enough joy to be worthy of origami folding into tiny, pretty little parcels, is quite daunting in itself. How much joy do the 7 pairs of never worn jeans, truly bring me? Or the shoes. All the shoes. According to Kondo, the single pair of sandals and the one pair of runners that I seem to have alternated in isolation for the last six months should be the only ones to make it out alive.
After watching the first episode, Tidying with Toddlers, I incorrectly assumed that I would learn the secret to keeping your house neat and tidy while living with tyrannical toddlers. Sadly, there was no revelation. The main takeaway from this episode, was to involve your toddlers in the tidying process.
Again, this sounds fabulous when delivered through an interpreter, with the ever-patient Marie Kondo smiling and nodding along encouragingly, but does anyone actually have children who would sit and meticulously fold fitted sheets into pocket squares?
I’m all for the premise of decluttering and making room for the important things in life, but I’m not sure that Kondo’s level of cleanliness is sustainable in the busy Western world. Her method was born out of the ancient practice Shinto Principles, that have deep roots in Japanese culture, that emphasises honour, respect and spiritual ritualisation.
We live in a culture of more is more and social norms that prescribe a new outfit for every public engagement (except for the repeat set of activewear to be worn at every low key social event/errand/family occasion). It’s also easy to assume that with such active social and family lives as we all have, it would be extremely difficult to maintain the sheet origami and commitment to finding every item a purpose and home, every single day.
I would love to have the time to devote to the Kondo level of tidiness but as you might have already read, I’ve got MAFS to get through. However, if anyone knows where I can send my toddler to take over the management of the wash/dry/fold in our house, I’m all in!