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How I Know 'Tidy' Marie Kondo Is Not a Mom (Yet)

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 tap shoes.

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 room.

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 mom.

At least not yet.

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 mom:

1. Place 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.

3. Make 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.

5. Empty 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.

6. Keep 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.

7. The 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.

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