two cents on tidying up

by | Jan 11, 2019 | All Things Home, Decorating, Organizing, Popular | 73 comments

I’m going to say right off the bat that I have never read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I read some reviews on it and a summary of it a few years ago and felt like I got the gist.  The concept of keeping only what you love (or what “sparks joy”) isn’t a new one, so I didn’t purchase the book.

I have, though, started watching the new series on Netflix, Tidying Up and decided to throw in my two cents on it.

First of all, Marie is so endearing.  She is kind and never shows a judgemental face when she’s nose-to-nose with mountains of stuff.  She is gracious to her clients and that’s heart-warming to watch, especially in an age where nasty judges and show hosts have a high entertainment value.

I also like how the guests on the show are very realistic and relatable with varying degrees of issues with stuff.  For some, it’s just typical clutter that has gotten out of control and for others, there are some moderate hoarding tendencies.  As far as what is shown on camera, Marie gives the clients a point in the right direction with assigned tasks and then lets them do the work.  It would be nice to see her in action more, but I can see how it’s beneficial for the clients to work through their belongings and hopefully avoid letting it get out of hand in the future.

This also means the before and afters are realistic.  They aren’t styled to perfection to emulate an aisle at The Container Store.  They look much more like a normal room that was cluttered and now it’s tidy.  It makes you feel like it’s doable.

I agree with Marie’s method of sorting to a point.  She encourages gathering all items from one category into one place to sort through.  I definitely do that with the contents of a closet, dresser, wardrobe, etc.  But, I don’t feel the need to gather all of the books from around my entire house to sort through them when I know that the majority of the books are in the room where we use them.  (For example – cookbooks in the kitchen, art books in the studio, decorating books in my office, etc.)  I can sort through all of the cookbooks without bringing other book categories into the mix.  I can see how this would be valuable, though, for certain people and for certain objects.  If I’m ever cleaning out my ironstone collection, I would have to gather pieces from all over the house to really see what I have.

The thing I love most about her method, though, is how she puts the emphasis on gratitude.  She does it in a way that is different than I would, but whether you’re taking a moment to pray or meditate, I can see value in sitting on your knees in your home and having a quiet moment with it.  These are the four walls that currently contain your life and maybe you haven’t been a good steward of it or you haven’t taken the time to reflect on it with a grateful heart.  Maybe you’ve been complaining about all that the house doesn’t have and you’ve missed everything it does have.  (There are times when I have been so guilty of that!)

And I agree wholeheartedly that you should only keep what you love or, as Marie puts it, what “sparks joy”.  Now, of course, there are things that you simply need and you feel neutral about them, but the things we need aren’t usually the things that get out of hand.

I would take the qualification to keep only what sparks joy even a step further, though, and make sure you actually use the things you love.  You can still have a house packed floor to ceiling with things you love, but there is so much stuff that you can’t possibly use it all.  You have to interact with the items in order to experience the joy from them, so I would use caution with basing the keep/toss decision solely on emotions.

My rules are…

I have to love it or need it

I have to have the perfect place for it

I have to actually use it

If I love it, but don’t have the perfect place for it, I need to let it go.  If I love it, but I don’t use it, I need to let it go.

There are, of course, exceptions to this with some mementos and family pieces.  For example, I have a top hat that my great, great grandfather wore on his wedding day in a box in my closet.  I don’t interact with it, but it does bring me joy to have it and I’m not about to let it go.  On the flip side, I might love a lipstick color, but if I never wear it, it’s time to pitch it.

I also love the idea of being thankful for all of your things, even the things you’re getting rid of.  If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m not too attached to stuff.  As someone who bought and sold things I love as a large part of my business for many years, I’ve learned that it’s okay to let things go.  There is even a kind of liberty in it.

But, I can take this euphoria felt when getting rid of things a little too far and neglect to take a moment to recognize the value that item has or maybe had in the past.  So, as I’m focusing on contentment this year, this is a great approach to take as I’m working through some cleaning and purging projects.

Have you read the book or watched the show?  Do you live by her method?  What tips and tricks have helped you with cleaning, purging, and organizing?

If you’d like some more encouragement and inspiration while you’re tackling your own organization projects, you can check out these links below…

Dear Reader | To the one with the stuff problem

The Stuff Series | The Purpose of stuff

The Stuff Series | Stuff with strings

The Stuff Series | If the shoe doesn’t fit

The Stuff Series | To the keeper of the stuff



  1. beverlee lyons

    I read it a few years ago, and still fold my tee shirts, which are many, and I do wear them all, as she did. I didn’t really need much guidance, but I took what I needed, and used it for my circumstances.
    I also don’t follow everything she did, but I do that with my closets. We downsized, and I have a constant battle on my hands with craft supplies. I am fortunate to have friends who can and will use the things I no longer use.

    I am glad I read the book. I recommend it. It is small, and there are different things for all of us. I do admire the constant straightening and sorting that you do on a regular basis.

    You had some good thoughts, as usual.

  2. Elaine

    When I asked DH if he thought I would thank the clothes I was passing on, he says “this from someone who thanks an ATM?”

    • Denice

      That totally gave me a chuckle!!

  3. Caryn

    The KonMari method forces one to confront consumerism excess. Until you see all your clothes on the bed in a huge mound, you can tell yourself you don’t have much. It also asks to live with items you find joy in owning, even utilitarian items. She does not advocate minimalism but the air just seems fresher once you go through the whole process. Motto: Things should not own you. You own only the things that make you happy. Collections are fine just curate them so you can really enjoy them.
    The folding method seems like a waste of time but it is more efficient for storing which frees up more space and more fresh air. I have encorporated “giving thanks for everything and for everything give thanks” as part of my lifestlye as a result of the mindfulness generated by this process.

    • Marian Parsons

      Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing! Yes, I can see the value of gathering everything in one place for the purpose of seeing the volume of stuff! Having just gone through a move, I certainly felt that and let go of a lot of things because of it.

    • Lori S Biesecker

      Yes, Caryn! The biggest thing I learned from reading the book in 2015 was the value of bringing all of one category to one place and making choices of what to keep in one session. I did not believe it mattered until I tried it. I also thought, “I already know what I have in different places, so I don’t need to do it,” but someone urged me to just do it and see. IT WORKS! I made such better decisions. I got rid of more, and I was glad to do it.

      Our nest is newly-emptied, and we are repurposing several spaces in our house, so I am doing another whole-house declutter with our new life-stage in mind. A few evenings ago I did our books. I did NOT want to take them all off the shelves and bring them to one spot — they are heavy and I was tired and, besides, I already “knew” what we had. I forced myself to do it anyway. I thought there might be ten or twelve books I could donate, but as I picked up each volume from the stacks on the floor and really considered it, I realized, “This info is available on the internet, and, “Even though these are the last of your favorite child-rearing books, you don’t need them anymore,” and so on. I got rid of three heavy boxes of titles! The same thing happened when I went through my curated wardrobe a few days earlier — same resistance to pulling everything out and piling it on the bed, same “seeing” of how much I have, same realizations as I held each item, same improved clarity and decision-making. I urge you to give it a try.

      One caveat: instead of thanking inanimate objects as Kondo’s animism beliefs dictate, I thank God for the blessing of our things and what I have learned by owning them or how we have benefited.

  4. Paula J Runyan

    She has the most common sense, least drama infused method of getting things under control.

  5. katybee

    I’m a fan. I’ve both read the book and watched the Netflix series. I agree completely with your comments on the series. While it may not make for the most dramatic television it is so refreshing to have a low key empathic host and real people achieving realistic results.

    In her book, for those with many items, like books, she actually recommends doing the process by type of book for example. Even with clothing, to do all your tops, then dresses etc.

    The concept of sparking joy and gratitude for your possessions go hand in hand in my mind. My things don’t become more precious but experiencing the joy makes me more grateful. and if I acknowledge that I’m grateful for something, I see its beauty and/or usefulness. And that same gratitude for what I have makes me want less.

    And I think her folding method is genius.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, good to know that she sorts types of books. I didn’t get that from the episodes I watched, but that makes a lot more sense to me. 🙂

  6. Kerri

    Thank you for posting this. I was just about to go back and try to find your posts on this subject when you moved from your home in Pennsylvania. You had so much great advise and it really resonated with me. We plan on selling our home in the next year and downsizing as we approach retirement age. The hardest part will be letting go of items that have been in the family for years. Some things I will never part with but there is so much that just sits in a closet or cabinet and never sees the light of day. It is time to let go. ( I think I can, I think I can … sigh. ) I will be reading and rereading your blogs to get me through. Thanks again !

    • Marian Parsons

      I totally understand. There really is a freedom and a delight in passing them on, especially if you can pass them on to someone who will use and appreciate them. I know it’s tough, though!

    • Nancy in WA

      Kerri, as you contemplate getting rid of things with family memories, I would recommend reading a blog called “Becoming Minimalist,” by Joshua Becker; as well as his books. I have learned so many good things through this blog and the others he refers to. For me, reading about minimalism was a natural progression after reading Marie Kondo’s books and starting to implement some of her suggestions (though I didn’t know it at the time!).

      I have benefitted greatly from Marie Kondo’s book and method, though I am still very much in process with it. It is stimulating to read a different mindset than the Western one that I have grown up in. One of the most encouraging things for me, is to know that when I am “done” my home will have plenty of space for storing the things I should keep, as well as “breathing” space/“white” space—something I have not had much of for years. This is helping me already to be more content with my home!

  7. Cheryl

    I have watched the show but not read the book. I also love the fact that she treats the people with respect. She doesn’t judge. And I don’t think there is a great expectation to be a minimalist by the time you tidy up. It seems to be individual to the couple or family and how much work they put into it. It is great to see the clients reaction after they tidy up. All of them seem to be happier and in a better place mentally. When I declutter I often think that I am giving something away so someone else can use it. I can’t binge watch the show. It’s a lot of information that you need time to process.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I like that she doesn’t push people to get rid of things they aren’t ready to get rid of. In the episodes I’ve watched, you can see people are proud of the work they’ve done and the progress they’ve made. I would imagine some of them will continue the process.

  8. Christine

    One thing from the book that I found helpful I in getting rid of items that were purchased but never used, is to remember that it brought you joy when you bought it. Maybe that was the only purpose it needed to fulfill, and you shouldn’t feel guilty that the price tag is still on it. Now you can let it go to bring joy to someone else.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I totally agree that just because you spent money on it doesn’t mean you should keep it! Just learn the lesson, make wiser purchases next time, and let it go. 🙂

  9. Cindy

    This past year I have tried to organized & purge through each room of our home, one by one. In doing so, it was brought to my attention that the room may need more than just tidying up. A fresh coat of paint, a new vanity….etc. I have made a concerted effort as I’ve worked through each room to display the things that I love. Your blog has been most encouraging for me in the area of displaying & arranging, I do so admire your style. Many years ago, when my daughters were married & begining to building their own homes, I gave them the advice, ‘keep nothing that you don’t love or use seasonally’. My husband & I watched Marie’s show for the 1st time Friday evening. He spent his spare time this weekend tidying our garage. Win Win

    • Marian Parsons

      That is so awesome that watching the show got your husband to tidy the garage! 🙂 It sounds like you have been killing it with getting things organized and freshened up. Good for you!

  10. Janet

    I really liked this post…I also have never read this book buthave seen so much about it on social media sites…..It seems that this year is the year for me to “tidy up” so your thoughts resonated with me and I’ve enjoyed your blog posts of small “bites” of cleaning, organizing and tidying up. I also really like the idea of giving thanks and appreciating what we have ..and I am truly grateful tonight …at -23 degrees ..for a warm, dry,comfortable home shared with loved ones 😊

  11. Bonna

    I really like your take on this! Some of my FB groups have been so hostile about Marie Kondo’s book and show. I think she’s kind and like you say a breath of fresh air! Quite unlike some of my crabby groups:)

  12. Melanie

    I read the book a while ago within a few hours. The best thing that I pulled out of it for myself was to really think about what “sparks the joy”. The reason I read it to begin with was that I started feeling overwhelmed with my household. And we are not hording stuff, it´s just the “normal” things that start to accumulate with a family of five. Just like you I don´t gather all the books etc… from the house in one place. I go room by room. But I don´t have an issue with hanging on to things. For people who do it probably makes sense. I got rid of many things. The house is emptier, my soul feels lighter. I think what we often don´t realize is that with possessions comes not only attachment but also responsibility and dependancy. And work! You have to tidy up more, clean more… I decided (since we have two dogs and love the outdoors) that I don´t want to spend most of my time with administering our stuff. Instead I want to do what makes me happy and is good for me/us. We live in a pretty big house (for german standards). It has about 2200sqft. plus 1100 basement and 1100 attic and I can proudly say that both, attic and basement (real basement, not for living purposes) are only filled up to 1/4th. And I want to keep it that way. Marian I know you have a bit of a german history so you might know that the german word for traffic jam or just jam is “Stau”. It´s the same word we use for Storage areas (Stauraum – “jam room”). So once someone pointed out to me that in this word lies so much Negativity since “Stau” means nothing is flowing. So Marie Kondo´s book, although not an entirely new concept was my motivation to deal with all the unnecessary stuff I stored. Last but not least: In the book she gives the advice to let go of stuff that you only keep in case you might need them. She says: if you haven´t used them in a long time and can easily replace them for under 10€/$ then say goodbye. Cause that amount probably won´t kill you. I had never thought about that before. She is so right. Boy, that made me get rid of many more things, especially little kitchen items or office items. And until today I never had to rebuy anything 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      So funny about Stau! Yes, I recognize that word. My Oma, probably spoke two words of German…Oma and Stau. 🙂 She would always yell it when there was any sort of a backup or slow down on the road.

  13. Claire

    Thank you for this post which led me to your Stuff Series. I’m definitely the Keeper of The Stuff with Strings and, having now lost both my parents, this is the year for me to let things go. I found your advice so reassuring in that it chimed with my own experience; I would certainly second the view that you have to listen to how you feel and sometimes keep things until it feels right to let them go. For me that has sometimes taken weeks and sometimes years, but the point does come and I find it very helpful to think of items my parents loved bringing happiness to a new owner. With some items like furniture, I’ve also found it helpful to take a photograph so I have that to keep instead of the thing itself.

    I’m also enjoying Marie Kondo’s programme having not fully engaged with the book. She is such a kind and delightful person with infectious enthusiasm and watching the series has brightened my January and given me a new urge to clear the clutter!

    I enjoy reading your blog and as I live in the UK it’s so interesting to learn about life in the US – thank you and please keep up the good work!

  14. MoMo

    I have read the book AND watched the show, and — maybe it’s just me, but the show seems more reasonable. If I recall correctly, the book is far more severe, and extremes just don’t work for me. But as you’ve pointed out, Marie is so sweet, kind and lovely in person, and that might be one of the reasons that the show resonates with me, far more than the book did.

    Yesterday I caught an episode in which a recent widow tackled the enormous task of cleaning out her house, post-husband and post grown children. Apparently, she and her husband (of 40 years, exactly where I am now) enjoyed an extremely tender and successful marriage, and she was heartbroken. But she was so gentle and lovely, and displayed NO anger or depression, although I’m certain she must have experienced both. She had three very supportive children, and she was determined to clean up her life, pull things together and stand on her own feet……I greatly admired her and will think of her as a role model if necessary in the future. I confess, I had tears in my eyes through most of the show, but I am grateful to Marie for tackling such a story. SO bittersweet.

    It occurs to me that THIS is the type of reality we should all be striving towards. Not the neatly (and HIGHLY photographable) corralled “stuff” in Container Store baskets with chalkboard labels on them. I think I’ve had quite enough of cabinets that look “magazine” gorgeous on the inside. And the walk in closets that are honestly more comfortable and luxurious than most of the homes I’ve been in — truth be told, they embarrass me somehow. What I am aiming for now is a life of dignity, balance, kindness, and lightness. And I think that’s really Marie’s aim.

    In fact, that’s the life I hope we all achieve. Happy New Year!

  15. Lisa

    I’ve been on a mission to decrapify for years. First wave was easy for me. Broken items, items we didn’t use, items that did nothing but take up real estate in our drawers and closets. Second wave was a bit more daunting. I put a lot of thought into getting rid of pieces. Home decor, clothes that I loved but saved for when I lost the weight, toys/games my children outgrew and no longer wanted. It was much more painful that the first wave, but this purge really really opened up my house. And now, I’m finally on what I consider the third wave. Fine tuning what is left. It’s so sad that disorganization in our home took up so much precious time and money…both resources we don’t have a lot of. Can’t find a missing soccer sock, go out and buy a new pair at $20 a pop. Where are my scissors…oh well, I’m going to Target later anyway, I’ll pick up a pair and “hide” them from the kids. I like that by sorting thru things in categories, I could really take stock of what I have and can then cull out the ones I wanted, and donate/toss the ones I did not. I’m also making a conscious effort to try not to foist my cast offs on my daughter. Before heading to Goodwill, I let her look thru the donations and see if there is anything she’d like for her apartment. My own mother was so very generous with gifting me her hand me down household items, but many times I’d end up with boxes of things I neither needed nor wanted, but took anyway to make her happy.

  16. Caro

    I read the book when it came out and really liked it. Using her methods (or at least starting from there) I have the most organized dresser drawers and closet you can imagine – and have maintained them easily ever since reading the book. Although it sounds a bit silly to thank your socks before tossing them out, the feeling of gratitude for your blessings is important.

    My problem is that I get attached to things that people have given me – even things I don’t like- as if it were some kind of sacred trust to continue to keep all the little china doo-dads I inherited from my mother-in-law. I don’t like them and have no use for them but she cherished them. I feel as though they have been passed to me to keep forever as a mark of love and respect. So I have developed a strategy that works for me and maybe will work for others.

    I look at a Thing and ask myself – if I lost everything in a tsunami or forest fire, would I replace this item? That’s a test of usefulness. If it’s irreplaceable, would I grieve for it? That’s a test of sparking joy. If the answer to both is no, I let it go.

    • Marian Parsons

      Great thoughts. Yes, gifts are tough. I think the idea of a gift, though, is the person wants it to bring you joy. If it feels an obligation at some point, then it is time to let it go. That’s my take on it.

    • Kim

      I really like the “tsunami-or-forest-fire” test!!! I’m going to run around and assess some things that way….

  17. Karin

    I am a purger and I am ruthless; my family hates it! But I get a lot of joy out of clean and uncluttered spaces. I have to be realistic though and let the play room be a mess and the crafts table be messy and I do so. I have started watching the show with my husband and he has pointed out that I could host the show but I would not be as kind as she is; this is true! And I think that is part of what makes her effective.

  18. Susan

    I’ve never read her book or watched the show, though I am interested in both. Someone once gave me the following idea regarding purging your wardrobe: if you saw the item in the store today, would you still buy it? That one question has helped me get and keep my closet in order. Thought I’d pass that on. Love your blog!

  19. Debra

    I am an organizer at heart and I have read the book and agree with your perspective, which mirrors my own. But I will watch the Netflix show now! Your blogs never fail to inspire me Marian, and I am amazed that there are enough hours in your day to do everything that you do!

  20. Karen

    I’ve been folding T-shirts for years and didn’t realize it was “a thing”. I haven’t seen the show and wasn’t even aware she has a show. Perhaps, I should watch it. I guess I was a little late reading her book. It was a while ago and I know everyone was losing their minds over it. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t “get-it”?!? The idea of thanking each item, etc…
    I like to think like you do and believe in having an “Attitude of Gratitude”.
    What I remember about the book – I didn’t like the idea of running around my house like crazy to gather every single item of clothing to throw them into a huge pile in the middle of the Living Room so I could pick up each piece to see how it made me feel in order to figure out if I wanted to keep it.
    And the other thing was she was so happy about helping a client throw away of like 800 books or filling 250 black trash bags of books. I always wondered why not sell or donate the books?

  21. Kelle

    I read a part of her book years ago when I was staying at a friend’s house and have just binged the series over the last week. I do think that her kindness and deliberateness is her “secret sauce”. I am in real estate and am constantly helping clients downsize and stage their homes. All of this is very personal and complicated for many people. I think Marie Kondo’s quiet attention helps people slow down and really look and then really think about what is important. There is a lot of talk about simplifying, but most people need concrete steps to get there. It’s important to understand that the memories are in your head and not in the thing!
    I downsized myself 2 years ago after living there for 17 years with my husband and three kids. With newer floor plans, when people do downsize, the openness of modern floor plans means less wall space. That means less art, less large furniture pieces, and fewer cabinets. It is a great relief to live in a smaller space with fewer things. When I search for something now, it can really be in only one or two places. If it’s not there, it’s not there – no hours of looking.
    On the same vein, but a little different, I also follow Young House Love, and Shari’s views on wardrobe has really changed my life. I was never a huge clothes horse, but I was guilty of buying things because they were on trend or in style or holding on to things because when “I lost the weight” I would wear them again. Similar to Marie Kondo’s method she asks what clothes do you really wear that you feel good in? And suggested that for a week or a month that when you wear an item that you turn around the hanger when you re-hang it. At the end of the period you can see exactly what you wore – the rest can go. I just liberated a good 2/3 of my wardrobe and can now get dressed so much faster and happier!
    The only thing that I see missing in a lot of this discussion is the joy you can get from donating things. So many people are wrestling with guilt in trying to cull their stuff. Knowing that someone else will get joy from something you have let go is a wonderful bonus to all of this.

    • Lee Ann


      You are so true about the joy in donating items! Because I have no children, I’ve been worried about what will happen to all the family memorabilia (china, books, photos) that I have accumulated from my mother (an only child). So my mother and I have started giving family items to other branches of our family tree where there are grandchildren, great grands, etc., who can love the items, love the history AND have someone to whom to pass the item … and love!

  22. Lee Ann

    Thanks to Kondo’s method, I was able to “thank” many items I’d kept for years, then find better homes for them. Recently, I read Magnusson’s “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” I know … it sounds morbid, but it’s really very practical. Since I have no children, I need to think about what happens to all this stuff (papers, scrapbooks, etc) when I’m gone, and I really don’t want to leave the chore for people who don’t know me.

  23. Linda Charlton=Bellamy

    I read most of it a few years ago and I agree there are good and bad points. I have a really hard time getting rid of gifts, even books I have read or didn’t like. Last year I started giving some things away as well as selling items some things I no longer want or need. Some are really hard to get rid of. Stuff just breeds in my basement. Every time I think we are getting a handle on it, more things show up from somewhere. And I find it interesting that your word of the year is contentment, the same as mine.

  24. Janae

    Hi:) along the same lines, but HIGHLY recommend Joshua Becker’s book “The more of less”!

  25. Stephanie

    I use the Kon Marie method for my partner’s drawers. He used to dig through t-shirts and leave the drawer a mess – all my carefully folded shirts squished every which-way. He would wear the same underwear all the time as he just took what was on the top, and his socks – well I can’t even explain. Now his drawers are organized so he has no excuse to pull everything out and it may be because he is afraid but I don’t really care, he is no longer wrecking his drawers.

  26. Chris Moore of Seattle

    Very cute! I can picture it exactly!

  27. Patricia

    I’ve read the book and watched several episodes . Maybe since she’s dealing with an American audience she seems less rigid about what to pitch. Hmm, don’t know.
    I have a big house and really just need help on how to organize, rather then get rid of things I’ve always had and liked. Yes, of course there’s a Goodwill basket at the ready, and sometimes I just pull up the garbage can to my vanity and throw things away, bur mostly if I own it it is because I like it.
    The widow in the first episode got rid of almost every single piece of clothing that was her husbands. I’d have a terrible time doing that. We saved a lot of my dad’s button down shirts and had pillows and a quilt for his grandson made with it. Getting rid of everything would have hurt me to no end.

  28. Christine

    I have a great tip for getting rid of good, but not-a-good-color-for-me makeup…usually items that come as a “free gift with purchase”. I gather it all up, call a few girlfriends to do the same, and meet up for a girls night in. We dump it all in a pile and start sorting through. There are so many varying skin types and colors….everyone is sure to find something that’s perfect for them. That’s how I finally found the perfect red lipstick for me…and it’s still my favorite!

  29. Amy

    I have recently accumulated a LOT of stuff from my Mother’s home when we sold it, and an apartment we had moved her out of as well. Furniture type things were donated but it’s all the “memories” type items both mine and hers. I struggle with feelings of guilt for getting rid of things that meant a lot to her. Most all of this stuff is in my garage. Then I have a storage unit full of stuff from when I got divorced and again, most of it is memories types of things. (kids’ baby items, books from theirs and my childhood, family photos and video tapes) Things that you don’t want taking up space but you can’t stand to part with… Any suggestions? I also fear that after purging, there will be things I wish I hadn’t parted with.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      If you check out the link above to the post about “Stuff with Strings”, I think that will help you! There are ways to digitize videos and photos, which is good to do anyway because they will eventually deteriorate and then you can get rid of the physical bulk. (I’ve used Legacy Box a couple of times, as a sponsor and a paying customer, and it was a good experience both times, but I’ve heard mixed reviews from others).

      I think it’s also important to only keep what is meaningful to you. Your house is not a museum or a storage unit. Keep what you want and offer up the rest to other family members. If no one wants it, it’s okay to let it go.

  30. Elizabeth

    Just like the movies, the book is always better. I actually listened to both audiobooks a few years ago, and found them much more useful than I would have by watching the show. I highly recommend the audio books.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      I would imagine the book would have more detail. The show isn’t very content-heavy, but it’s definitely inspirational!

  31. Pinkie Crabtree

    I have begun getting rid of things and am now on year 5 of my journey. I read Marie’s book when it came out. Clothes were the easy part. Books a little more difficult. I did NOT hold each book and consider it at the time. I realize now the value in doing so. It is easy to be distracted and not really look at each item individually as to whether it is currently adding any value to my life. I am now ready to tackle the books. As far as sentimental items…I am guilty of hanging on to them to long. I read something a long time ago that said if someone has given you an item and you have loved and used it for ten years and you no longer love it…it is okay to get rid of it. Ten years is long enough!!!! Freedom to get rid of things that weigh us down is wonderful. I am enjoying having less stuff. I am now reading the Cozy Minimalist because somewhere along the line I realized that austerity is not what I want. I love my pretty things but I do want to only have enough.

  32. Chris Moore of Seattle

    I love Marie Kondo the same way I love you and your blog. I love the show on Netflix. I have her book and REALLY don’t appreciate the snarky comments on Amazon about her style. The thanking your house, thanking your items, saying good bye are all just part of her style. To me it is ritualistic and provides closure. And I liked it on the show when she told one spouse they need to be respectful of the other persons choices. Her advice has had an amazing effect on my life because I’m not a hoarder, but I am disorganized which leads me to buying multiples of the same thing if I can’t find it. Not often, buy even once is too much. Now my drawers/shelves are organized and when I want something, I know where to find it. SO much less stress and I can’t tell you the relief/joy it brings when I approach the shelf/cupboard etc and there IT is. No stress. Normal, just like it’s supposed to be. Thank you Marie!!

  33. Joan

    Hello – I have been a follower for years and have rarely commented but this time I felt the need. I think Marie Kondo has some great information in both her books and online as well as a quick episode we recently watched on NetFlix. Here is what got me….I received an email from the Martha Stewart site which I subscribe to and as part of the New Year cleaning and organizing info, she shared that Marie came out with a new line of storage options. I quickly clicked to check them out and was really disappointed. She apparently has a line of 6 little cardboard boxes (shoebox size and smaller), painted in various colors with a little design on the bottom. These boxes, meant for drawer storage, are listed at $89 for the set! Commercialism and more overpriced “stuff” at its finest! You had me until the tiny boxes Marie….wow

  34. Marlys

    Another good book is “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. An easy read with humor and good goals through the years. The main theme is to not burden your family with overwhelming stuff when you are gone, they should be able to clear out your stuff in 1 day. My mom died suddenly last summer with a house full of good things but after 2 months of sorting and finding a place for everything and a $1,000.00 bill from the Junk haulers, my sister and I said that we wouldn’t do that to our children. I am off to a good start!

  35. PJ

    I read the book when it first came out and reread it just this past week to give me a bit of encouragement to declutter further. This morning I brought five bags of donations to the local charity shop. I was thrilled to see that, even before I left, a woman was buying a number of cookbooks that I dropped off. I find that combining KonMari with Diane in Denmark’s approach to the Fly Lady system keeps me on track.

  36. Vicki

    Great thoughts and so kind, as well. I try not to be a collector. There are so many people who have so little, what good can come from “my” collecting of things. I have things I love that have come from family, things I can’t buy. Keep the important things and things close to your heart, but as with all things, we can’t take it with us. At some point, all things must be passed on.

  37. Darlene

    I have two things to add. First, the idea of a top hat that means so much to you being used for display somewhere as a piece of art is very exciting. Seeing things i love that are different then expected as art really makes my design eyes flow over with love!
    second, I don’t enjoy self help books. I know i need them, but prefer to read for enjoyment.
    I had heard so much about her and seen her everywhere so felt compelled to read it. Checked it out from the library, and it expired before i completed it. I liked it so much, i checked out the audio version next, and was so compelled to start the process I made (requested) that my husband listen to it too! I knew I was going to be tossing things we remembered spending X on, and we might argue if we weren’t on the same page. i have listened to it again (from the library) and finally purchased my own copy. I tell random people about what a change it made in my ability to let things go. Sentimental things, bad family photos, inherited gifts, expensive clothes, furniture, etc. I still hoard on occasion and since we are finally set up in our our new old house, i need to go back and sort again. It’s time to pull out my copy and refresh my commitment. I really thing you would enjoy listening to it on audio. It’s one of my favorite ways to do chores and still read. Love your blog!!

  38. Caroline

    I read her book several years ago and found much wisdom in it. I don’t understand the people who are mean and disrespectful regarding her and her method. Just let it go if you don’t agree with it! And I also think that some Americans don’t understand that while dispensing her ideas and wisdom, she is also doing so through her own cultural lens, as a Japanese person. So while some of her recommendations feel “odd” to some people in a western culture, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong or weird–they just reflect her wisdom through her culture.

  39. Cape Cod Chic

    A question for you Marian……I have followed you for many years and you are correct that you are good about getting rid of things. I have gone crazy many times when I saw you get rid of things I have been drooling over – like the chairs upholstered with the grains sacks.

    My question for you:
    Is there anything that you sold/got rid of that you now regret or miss?

  40. Jill

    I have watched her videos, and I spent some time learning how to fold clothes to save space in our bedroom. I like “neat and tidy”, and am good at purging! As my husband and I get closer to retirement, and “downsizing” is in our plans, I have learned to really take a good look at what is important to keep at this stage in our lives. Our grown children are all married, and two of them don’t live close. They really don’t want a lot of “stuff” that I have held on to thinking that they might want it someday. I have slowly let go of a lot of “stuff”, and that feels good! Getting back to the clothes-folding….my husband was not into his t-shirts and underwear folded the “Konamari” way! He said there was no way he could figure out how to do that on his own, nor did he even want to try! We did try it on his side of the closet for a very short time, and failed! He is totally happy with his own way. 😂

  41. Eileen

    I bought both of her books and have watched the series. I love her; she is like a little pixie and she shows so much respect for people and she listens. My daughter and I have been emailing each other on our “kondoing” projects. My sock drawer never looked better and she sent photos of her bathroom cabinet. We are sparking joy with each other’s accomplishments.

    Three things: The expression of gratitude is amazing, showing respect for your belongings, your home and yourself.

    Second is the folding. Standing up items in a drawer is just brilliant. You don’t have piles of things “smothering each other” and you can actually see what you have.

    Third which isn’t Marie’s but turning the hangars around and then checking weeks later to see if you’ve even worn the item is so good.

    Oh, fourth, one thing not mentioned is that all the good stuff is being hopefully donated so someone else can benefit from it. Again, showing respect for the item so it is used.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, all great thoughts! I love the fact that the joy of organizing can be shared. It’s always nice to go through a journey like that with someone else for encouragement and support.

  42. Joan

    My daughter recently told me about Ms. Kondo, and also, she was just highlighted on the news last night. I am all for anything that inspires one to be organized and efficient, and have joy in their surroundings. The only area I have a problem with is thanking items that one is discarding. I choose to thank God for my blessings and pray that the items I give away will help someone else. (To each his own)!

  43. Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    Since I was home sick with pneumonia last week, I was able to sit and watch 2 episodes of Tidying Up. Though I had a hard time relating to the property owners, I did find Maria very engaging and genuine. I am actually starting to clean out our basement and asking the question, “does this item spark joy?” Seems to be an easy way to sort all the things I’ve collected but don’t use or need anymore.

    As always, you have a lovely way of writing and engaging the reader. Happy New Year.

  44. Michelle

    I read the book a few years ago and shortly after that, my husband and I were straightening the basement and putting tools into a new cabinet. I picked up a tool and told him that it sparked no joy in me so we should get rid of it. He ignored me and stuck it in the drawer. Fast forward a year or so and a violent stomach bug ran through my house. Son #1 was on the toilet when son #2 ran into the bathroom to throw up. Since the toilet was occupied, he used the sink which stopped it up. Husband is military and was out of town (as usual) so I went to the basement and got that tool that I found so uninspiring and fixed the clogged sink. Those channel lock pliers don’t spark joy, but I sure was glad to have them.

  45. Lindy

    I’m 66 years old and Marie Kondo taught me how to fold! My underwear and sock drawers have never been so neat. For that alone, I will always be grateful.

  46. Toni

    I read the book and I have watched a couple of the shows. I have been on a kick to reduce clutter and simplify for a few years. Lately, like you, it is not enough to just love something, I need to use it. That has helped me re-purpose some things that I love into useful things but some of my drawers are still a mess. Win some, loss some. 🙂

  47. Mary Berry

    I’ve watched the Netflex shows and am currently reading Marie’s book. While I’m not in sync with her culturally, I think her method has excellent points. The book definitely goes into more detail, but I love the gentle and accepting manner she portrays in the series. I’m naturally a very organized person, and I don’t tend to collect…but nobody’s perfect! One of my biggest aha takeaways was not feeling guilt when getting rid of something. I too have bought “mistakes” and now I know what to avoid doing next time! My mistake taught me something. Love that!

  48. Sue Anderson

    It is much easier to get rid of my husbands stuff than it is to get rid of mine. My collections remind me of people and places I love but sometimes memories aren’t so good. So we trade piles and make it a game.

  49. Mary Ellen Eckels

    What a great blog to wake up to today! Love it! I, too, have just found the new Netflicks series, and after having read the books, it is fun to watch KonMarie work. I especially love the side shots of her little ones folding laundry with her as a game. <3 I do like the respect and gratitude of greeting the house and being grateful for the home, as well as, the items we keep and let go. For me it is pray – being grateful to God for the blessings all around me. Stewardship is also important to me, and like you, I can tend to focus on what my little house doesn't have, instead of what it does. That is slowly changing as I grow more in the wisdom of gratitude :-). I'm not so 'all or nothing' it would seem than KonMarie. Like you, I'm perfectly happy organizing my books in particular areas of the house as I have already catagorized them by room (sewing, reference, cooking and nutrition, etc.). I live in New England so I have 2 – 4 sets of clothing, three of which are in storage at any given time, so I go through my clothing at least twice a year during major season changes, with a few edits within the seasons, but the idea of pulling all my clothes together at once – overwhelming and not necessary. I do know exactly what I have. One thing I found very helpful in her books and series is the idea of starting with non-emotional items moving to the emotional ones. I found that incredibly helpful a year ago when I finally decluttered my basement which held at least four – five generations of items! So much from my mother's house – which was built by my grandparents who inherited items from their grandparents, etc – was so emotionally triggered. Many years had passed since my Mom's death and I was finally ready. We filled a dumpster the size of our driveway! And it took me two months to go through everything. I'm now in the process of deciding whether to keep and use, sell, or giveaway alot of antiques and sentimental items. But a half dozen curated and labeled boxes are far better to approach than a basement-full. And when I do get rid of something – I thank God for the blessing of the people from whom it came to me – I keep the love and get rid of the item <3 Thanks, Marian, for this and all the wonderful blogs you share with the rest of us. Very grateful to you as well 🙂

  50. linda

    I was enchanted by her joy attitude. I wanted to get up and sort. But we do this all the time slowly as we encourage kids to take their stuff now that they have places, except the last 2. I think one kid’s room is now truly a guest room! This year I think I got rid of tossed all the old gift wrapping never to be used stuff. Why did I keep this ugly gift bags?? I gave away of craft supplies to my daughter for her crafty kids. My husband is working on old photos and slides this year. \ One thing about moving every 3 years or less is that you do have to sort some. Our move back to the states from overseas then combining the 2 houses wasn’t easy; we left so much when we moved there and then when we returned over a decade later.

  51. Jenny B.

    I read her book a few years ago, but haven’t really put the methods into practice. I do like the, “Does it spark joy?” question, and I have thought about that as I’ve gotten rid of a few things that definitely did not. If something always makes me feel sad or guilty when I see it, then I need to let it go (no matter who gave it to me or why I bought it to begin with). That was probably my biggest take-away. I appreciate your thoughtful review, and I think I’m going to watch her show the next time I have an evening to myself. 🙂

  52. Lydia

    I just finished watching the videos on Netflix and the question Marie asked that has stuck with me over the last week has been “Is this something I want to take with me into the next part of my life?” That question speaks more to me than whether something sparks joy and was a great help as I was packing up the Christmas decorations.

  53. Nancy

    Yes, I’ve read the book and watched her show. I felt the show concentrated on the drama rather than the real how to.
    The one I watched showed folding, which I recently began using… while letting go two 35 gal bags of clothes that “didn’t bring me joy “.
    I have a 1959 closet of which I have the larger portion. So, folding the clothes seems to help.
    I do have a “dish” issue… they all bring me joy but I’m running out of room… I’ll have to face at one point.
    The other issue is our “archive”…. shelves and shelves of photo albums from several generations. No one seems to address that.
    Maybe Marie should bring her show here.

  54. Carol

    I just read another post about this lady and her show. I have never seen it and I have never read the book but I did see it the title on Netflix and wondered about it. I could use a little help with this, but I am not sure when I will have the time to do any of what is suggested and that is why things are cluttered.

  55. Betsy

    I watched Marie’s series last week and there was one house where I actually felt like I couldn’t breath. It brought back memories of emptying my parents and in-laws houses when they passed away. Remember feeling so overwhelmed during the process that once I had their homes emptied and sold I started a major purge of my own house. It hit me that I too had wasted so much money and time on stuff. We humans have way too much.

  56. Karen

    Something is off on this post. I think you might have been in a bad mood when you wrote this. I can’t tell if you are giving her compliments or just trying to increase your sense of self worth. You mention nasty judges and by the end suggest that you have come up with a higher standard: “use the things that spark joy” , which has been said many many years ago. So do you use all of those copper pots? I thought you mentioned in a post that they couldn’t all be used due to something about needing recovering. Do you use all of the ironstone on display, is it just okay to have way too many sparks of joy (ironstone) if using really means just displaying. This post had mixed messages and seemed like an effort at one upmanship. Truly you mean well generally But we need others to keep us accountable so I am going to pass this on since I didn’t see a comment about a discrepancy I saw. If I am the only one and I am wrong feel free to correct me. It is best to be careful when trying to hide criticism in compliments. Best to leave it alone.

  57. MaryLisa

    I mentioned her to you on your blog about your bathroom drawers before I saw this blog. I did my bedroom closet with her method and gained so much space . I’m remodeling floors so having rooms empty has given me a new view of what I want put back in the space. The value of appreciation is truly the key to what remains and is cared for and what I let go of for someone else to enjoy…


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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