Clutter is a major source of stress in my family. My husband is a neat, organized minimalist, but
in the past few years, he's had his world turned upside down by three not-so-tidy ladies: his wife and two daughters. I'll admit, our home could use a few (million) fewer tutus, tiaras and
So I picked up Marie Kondo's popular new book, "The Life-Changing
Magic of Tidying Up." Maybe she could indeed
change our lives—or least prevent a few trip-and-falls in our living
Well, I'll give Kondo's book this: It's a great read, if you
like comedy. I laughed many times, such
as when she suggested storing shampoo and soap in a cabinet after every use instead
of leaving them in the shower stall like a normal person. When I'm clutching a squirmy baby, while
trying to corral a stubborn preschooler at bath time, I most certainly do not
have a spare hand for extracting products from a cabinet.
That's when I realized, Marie Kondo is many things—an
organizing expert, best-selling author, lecturer and blogger—but she is not a
Reportedly pregnant with her first child, Marie Kondo is
about to find out how the other half lives, and I can't help but wonder if
motherhood will change her views on organizing. Here are 7 principles I think Kondo should revisit when she becomes a
every item of clothing in the house on the floor
Kondo says the best way
to evaluate your wardrobe is with every last item laid out on the floor. Can you imagine pulling this trick off with
kids in the house? Mine would build a
fort out of the T-shirts, turn the socks into puppets and wear my undies on
their heads before I could possibly get through sorting the clothes.
2. Dispose of
everything that does not spark joy
I love the idea of only keeping possessions
that bring happiness, but that goes right out the window when you're a
parent. The miniature potty and
stepstools junking up every bathroom in my house drive me crazy, but they are
necessary to raising little ones. Ditto the
many board games, Legos and noisy electronics. While Kondo's book covers quite a few categories
of clutter, from papers to mementos, she never once mentions toys.
tidying a special event, not a daily chore
Kondo says you must attack
the decluttering of your entire home all at once. But what mom has that kind of
time? This approach would surely require
hiring a nanny to occupy younger kids, because organizing will not seem at all "special"
to them. Sorry KonMari, but at this
stage in my life, I can only do what I can do, and usually that's picking
through a single dresser drawer half-asleep while I watch "Scandal."
4. You are
going to read very few of your books again
Kondo believes that books are pure
clutter and is proud to have reduced her entire collection to 30 volumes. This will not fly in my house. We purposely own tons of books, both for kids
and grownups, because we value having a library. In fact, studies show that
kids who grow up in homes with more books do better in school. As for Kondo's assertion that you're
unlikely to re-read your books, has she ever met a child? Sometimes they make
you re-read the same book six times in one sitting. That's why we all know "Goodnight Moon" by
heart. Just you wait, mama-to-be Marie.
your bag every day
My diaper bag could surely use more love than it
gets, and if I emptied it every day and restocked, I'd never be caught without
a wipe or a fresh onesie. But given that
I don't even get to take a shower every day, this task is pretty low down on my
to-do list. Maybe someday.
things out of the bath and the kitchen sink
Not only does Kondo advocate
storing bath products between uses, but she also recommends keeping dish soap and sponges
under the sink. Moms do dishes about 300
times a day. When we're short-order
cooking for insatiable little people, and trying to stay on top of sticky sippy cups, we can't afford to make dishwashing an
even slower process.
worst thing you can do is wear a sloppy sweatsuit
To help readers choose
which clothing items to toss, Kondo suggests that women try to dress elegantly,
even at home, calling sweatpants "not very attractive." At this point in her book, I almost broke my
eyeballs from rolling them so hard. Every
day, I commit far worse crimes than sweatpant-wearing (like yelling at my kid,
serving Easy Mac again or doing both simultaneously). If I manage to get out of my PJs and put
some clean yoga pants on, I consider that a victory.
Once Kondo has her baby—or heck, once all those adorable and not-very-tidy baby
gifts start arriving—I'll be interested to see how she keeps clutter at bay and whether she amends any of her organizing rules.
But who knows? Maybe she'll manage to raise a completely
clutter-free child who plays only with imaginary friends and shadows.