The life-changing magic of being yourself

As a lifelong untidy person, Marie Kondo is my hero. I have never read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or seen her Netflix shows. I have no plans to stop being untidy. But I want to be just like her.

Let me back up a bit. When Marie Kondo first made her tasteful splash on the homemaker scene, many of my mom friends swooned at the idea of becoming entirely new people who could whip everything around them into delightful, streamlined, orderly shape. Others raged and fumed at Kondo’s insistence that they throw out most of their cherished belongings, get rid of their books, spend all their precious time fussing over trivialities and strive to live in a sterile museum rather than a comfortable home.

None of those folks had read her book, either. They had all heard about Kondo and her ideas through sloppy, sensationalistic headlines and snarky memes that misrepresented what she actually suggested in her book and shows. If they had actually read her (according to my friends who actually have), they would know that she’s quite gentle, doesn’t demand or even suggest radical shifts that work against your lifestyle, and never claims that her system or ideas are best, or that they work well for everyone in every circumstance.

Still, when the Washington Post recently quoted Kondo as saying she had pretty much given up tidying because she has three kids now, the internet exploded in a unanimous, rather vicious, “Ha-ha!” Now she’s a slob, just like the rest of us! Now she knows better!

But my friends who actually read her book and considered her advice were not at all surprised. Kondo never claimed that a rigid minimalism is superior. She apparently only offers suggestions for how to make yourself more functional and peaceful if the current state of your house is making you unhappy.

She is perhaps most famous for her advice to question whether some item in your house “sparks joy,” and if not, to consider discarding it. And now?

“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times. I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home,” she said.

In other words, it is her children, and spending time with them, that sparks joy for Kondo.

And this is why she is my hero. Not necessarily because she clearly enjoys her children (although that’s a wonderful thing, and refreshing to hear someone say in public), but because she is courageously demonstrating something so few people understand: that you can change how you act and still be yourself. In fact, you have to….Read the rest of my latest for Our Sunday Visitor

Marie Kondo photo by RISE via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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2 thoughts on “The life-changing magic of being yourself”

  1. I am SO glad OSV features you! I hope it’s going to be a regular thing. This is very timely given that it’s January (purge month for so many people) AND newsworthy with Marie Kondo. Here’s to seeing you in other venues! P.S. I am also untidy and I don’t love that about me but I am learning to give and receive graces as part of learning what to do with my untidiness and how to grow to more able to have the home I believe I’m closer to having.

  2. I’m a slob. And having grown up in poverty, my natural slovenliness is compounded by a serious propensity to hoard. I can remember the exact moment where it dawned on me that one of the secrets to keeping a tidy home was to throw things away. As unbelievable as it might sound, I think I was in my late 30’s or early 40’s when I finally realized tidiness went hand in hand with getting rid of stuff.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read Marie Kondo and I don’t really have an opinion about her, but I have certainly gotten lots of inspiration from people like her. And I’m very grateful to all of them. When I feel the house getting away from me, I might still do a bag a day purge. Or a little FlyLady. Or I’ll set a timer and purge junk for a specific amount of time. And by mixing things up, I’ve been satisfied (read: not embarrassed) with the state of my home these last dozen plus years, but then my standards are pretty low and I’m guessing a lot of the professional organizers (even the newly relaxed Marie Kondo) would be horrified by the sight of it. 😉

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