Mum's the Word

Why you want to say yes and no to Marie Kondo

Posted: Feb. 6, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 6, 2019 11:43 am

If you haven't seen organizer Marie Kondo's show on Netflix, showing us how to purge our joyless earthly possessions and fold stuff properly, you must be living under a rock.

Hurry, go look it up and watch an episode. I'll wait.

OK, let's discuss why our knee-jerk reaction to this woman is, "No! Not today Marie!"

It's because our life is a hot mess. We don't possibly have time to fold T-shirts into perfect rectangles only to watch our children rummage through their drawers until they resemble an exploded biscuit container. It's absolutely soul destroying. Let's just all agree that the children are not going to help us with this endeavor.

We'd be winning if we could just get them to detach their underwear from their pants and unball their socks (on the list of things we're working on). Teaching them to fold our their things into thirds is not going to happen. Anyone who thinks the can "teach" this is living in a dreamland of theory and not enough children to test.

I think some of the reluctancy to start an organizing/decluttering project comes from the sheer volume of chaos and knowing we are on our own. Most kids would happily live in squalor. I'm making this observation just based on the amount of candy wrappers I removed from bedrooms last week.

Also, when am I supposed to do this organizing? I begrudge holding their things asking myself if this sparks joy. No. You know what would spark joy right now? Holding a glass of wine and not having to do this.

Do I do it when they are home and include them? Asking them to hold every item and evaluate whether or not it makes them happy is a nonstart. The girls have attachments to random clothing that I personally would like to burn. They'll die for a pair pants that have a hole in the knee and shows crack. Or the opposite is true for the boy, and nothing that he wears on his body sparks joy, and he would happily live his life pantless. Not that I blame him.

For all things that are not clothes, I have kids at different ages, reading levels and hobbies, with my house being a revolving door of unbirthed children that could always need something at any given second. That doesn't mean things can't be organized, it just means that it's hard to get rid of things that may be helpful to someone else. Maybe I'm too sentimental.

Funny enough, some of the reasons we are tempted into this declutter madness are the same reasons I have for not doing it. When things are crazy, we crave order. At least, some form of it.

I see the perfectly rolled underwear and I like it, in theory. The trouble is I know I'm the only one who's going to roll that underwear, and after I spend a half an hour doing that, it will be like that for five minutes. That and organized drawers won't help my kids stop touching each other or injuring themselves every 15 minutes. This is my circus.

If someone could just come take care of it for me, that would be great, but until I get that live-in maid, I guess I'll have to fluff my own pillows and be cool with unfolded underwear. I'll probably live.

I don't love the clutter, but kids come with stuff. It's just the way they're designed. From dolls to magical sticks with ribbons taped to them, their things accumulate into untidy fairylands. I'm not even sure where it all comes from.

I find myself wondering if Ms. Kondo drinks coffee or likes wine. I wonder if she takes naps, or sleeps at all. Sleep is probably just for lazy unorganized people with junk drawers. I bet she washes, drys, irons and puts away all of her laundry in one day, like some sort of psychopath. Ugh!

Although I now feel pulled into her organizational trance, I'm not going all in. I'll clean closets and change seasons over but only because if I don't, the littles will continue to try to wear their maxi dresses in subzero temps. I should also probably throw out all of their things that I don't like while they're not looking. No more butt crack! No more holes! Hell no to that crop top your aunt thought was acceptable!

Then I'll go through my closet with a glass of wine, pull out an old T-shirt that reminds me of a simpler time, put it on and take a nap. There's the joy right there.