My Kondo-lences and sincere Kon-gratulations!

My client wanted to fold her t-shirts the KonMari way. And why not? Some people like to do it this way and can maintain this system. Marie Kondo popularized it, but she certainly didn’t invent it.

My Kondo-lences to those who are as Kondo-ed out as I am — no offense to the media darling herself — and sincere Kon-gratulations to Marie and everyone who has found inspiration in her new Netflix series — Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – which premiered on January 1st.

My news feed has been saturated with articles praising, trashing, and poking fun at her series and her methods. So, why am I adding to the noise and Kon-fusion? Because I get asked daily what I think about it. I decided to e-Kondo-mize – wait, no, I’m leveraging — my words and energy by gathering together my previous related blog posts here for anyone who is interested.

The real story is not how amazing or terrible Kondo and her methods are. The real story is that of the organizers who preceded her. Click To Tweet

What I think about Marie Kondo

My opinion on the Kondo phenomenon, which hasn’t changed, can be summed up in this quote from my first blog post about her:

I believe Marie Kondo to be 90% just like any other organizer (with fantastic PR and timing), 5% lost in translation, and 5% unique.

My problem is not with Marie Kondo. It’s with the media hype surrounding her.

Here is a whole bunch more of what I think:

The Five Stages of Marie Kondo & The Life-Changing Magic of Doing What Works for YOU

Those Magic Little Words (that help you get organized)

10 Silly Things Organizers Argue About

Things That Don’t Spark Joy, But You’d Better Keep Anyway

My problem is not with Marie Kondo. It’s with the media hype surrounding her. Click To Tweet

The real story is not how amazing or terrible Kondo and her methods are. The real story is that of the organizers who preceded her, and the thousands of other organizers who are helping people to de-clutter and de-stress their lives every day. Like Julie Morgenstern, Peter Walsh, Judith Kolberg, Dorothy Breininger, Geralin Thomas, Barbara Hemphill, and the Founders of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals), and so many others I’m sure to regret not mentioning! (P.S. If I know you, and you have a Wikipedia page, I’d be delighted to add you to this list! I love you all, but I had to cut it off somewhere.)

That is not to say that all the rest of us organizers are alike, though. We all run our businesses the way we see fit. We all bring our life experience, skills, and various levels of organizing experience and training to the job. We all have unique personalities and use different methods for our equally unique clients and their various situations. Some of us are more talented and successful (in all aspects of the word) than others. And, if we’re NAPO members (or members of ICD — Institute for Challenging Disorganization — or APPO — Association of Professional Photo Organizers — or POC — Professional Organizers of Canada, or one of several other worldwide affiliate organizations) we follow a Code of Ethics and strive to transfer organizing skills to our clients so they can maintain the organizing systems we help them create.

Here are some articles that I recommend (I’m proud to know many of the organizers quoted in these articles):

What Professional Organizers Really Do, and How They Can Help You  (New York Times 2019)

What Professional Organizers Really Do, and How They Can Help (Lifehacker 2014 — I swear this is a completely different article!)

What I say about Marie Kondo

What do I say when someone praises Marie Kondo to my face?

“I’m glad you were motivated to declutter! What can I help you with?”

What do I say when someone trashes Marie Kondo to my face?

“Her methods aren’t for everyone. What can I help you with?”

What do I say when asked to help someone organize the KonMari way?

“When would you like to start?”

(We work from a KonMari checklist, adjusting each step to fit the client’s goals and situation, and incorporating strategies designed to improve their chances of long-term success beyond what they’ve read in books or seen on TV.)

The Bottom Line

Anything that raises awareness of over-consumption and clutter, and inspires people to find the freedom of getting Organized for Life, is a good thing. Right? Less clutter. More life.

What do YOU think?

Have you read the books? Watched the series?

Have you tried organizing the KonMari way?

Who are your favorite, most inspirational organizers?

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!

Copyright 2019 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
I welcome social media links directly to this page!
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  1. Cindy Vanhoff on January 19, 2019 at 10:22 am

    I was just thinking of this this morning. About the people that inspired me to actually become an Organizing and Productivity Expert. To realize I had a calling and could make a living at it.
    Julie Morgenstern, Peter Walsh, Monica Ricci.
    And then Anne Blumer, who assured me I could do this.

    I love what you had to say and have to say “spot on and well put”

    • Hazel Thornton on January 19, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Cindy. Those are some great inspirational organizers, all right! And I keep thinking of more!

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on January 21, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I ask my Facebook weekly challenge group followers about this and found that members were across the entire spectrum with Maria Kondo and her methods.

    Some people thought the series was deceiving because it takes more time to do these tasks than they were showing. They preferred doing the organizing a little bit at a time instead of organizing all at once.

    They seemed to prefer the book and the way the process was laid out. They enjoyed the audiobook better so they could start doing each section while listening to it.

    Others felt more motivated seeing people in the series take on a cluttered space because they were doing it themselves.

    I felt indifferent by the series, but when the book came out, I preferred the audiobook instead of the book because it allowed me to take action while listening to the book.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2019 at 11:21 am

      That’s an interesting perspective on the audio book I hadn’t heard. Thanks, Sabrina! And, well, if we all aren’t thinking about what goes on behind the scenes of a TV show (how things are necessarily edited down in ALL of them), then we’re all in for rude awakenings in the real world!

  3. Lisa Tonjes Moritz on January 21, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Love this and all your previous blogs about “Tidying Up”! It is shining a spotlight on our industry!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Thank you, Lisa!

  4. Seana Turner on January 21, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I haven’t watched the show because I don’t have Netflix (I know, I’m a dinosaur). I have seen her interviewed and seen some clips, and many people I know are talking about her. I LOVE that she is adding light to the topic of decluttering and organizing, and I think anyone who does that is terrific. I agree with your comments. We all have our own style. Most organizers I know try to work around the client and the way he/she feels comfortable. There are many variables that lead us to customize a general approach, including the client’s proclivities, the size of the job, the weather and timing. I do think that most of us benefit by SEEING things more than just hearing about them. One client said she has enjoyed watching the show with her family because it has meant they all are thinking about getting organized instead of just herself.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2019 at 11:24 am

      That’s an excellent point in favor of the TV show, to be able to watch it with your family and discuss which aspects of that episode might apply to your household!

  5. Geralin Thomas on January 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Hazel, Hazel, Hazel,

    You’re funny + punny! Thanks for rounding up a few of the many POs who’ve been in the business for a long time. And, cheers to all the tidying up kon-verts!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      Good one, Geralin — Kon-verts! Thanks for joining the Kon-versation! 🙂

  6. Linda Samuels on January 21, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    You have a beautiful way of getting to the heart of things; always infused with your great sense of humor. I have to admit that I didn’t want to watch Kondo’s Netflix series, but I felt compelled to because it kept coming up in conversations. I tried once and didn’t get very far. Then I tried again and reminded myself to keep an open mind without any pre-conceived notions. I made it through. One of my biggest takeaways was that even though her methods wouldn’t work for most of my clients, they DID work for hers. We are in the “change” business. Our clients get inspired to take action in different ways. Kudos to Marie for finding a “way” to help her clients. And kudos to all the other organizing professionals out there that have found alternate ways to help people. In the end, we’re all providing a valuable service facilitating the changes our clients seek with the level of support they want.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 21, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you, Linda! I’ve only seen one episode. I actually identified with her a little more, though, than I had when reading her book in that it wasn’t done “all at once”, after all (as I suspected) but over time. But the very thing that I liked — a bit of a DIY aspect that I use as well (it depends ENTIRELY on the client and the situation how much “homework” I give in-person clients, and Virtual Organizing is by definition DIY) — is one of the things that I hear her being criticized for the most lately! Which only goes to show that the “rest of us” don’t all do it the same, either.

  7. Janet Schiesl on January 22, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Hazel, my thoughts mirror yours. Good publicity for the professional. I think she’s a marketing genius.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 28, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Me too!

  8. Sehnita on February 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    I think you should watch more than one episode – Like mine! 😉 I think all organizers should use this opportunity to grow their business and highlight what more they can offer outside the show and outside of what people can do for themselves by decluttering. Decluttering is one thing, but creating organized systems is completely different. Instead of worrying about the overhype of the show, leverage it. I will say that Marie has approached this show in a very sincere way of helping people and not just to market boxes. Although I was disappointed in not getting one-on-one attention and would never have completed it on my own under the production timeline, I’m still happy I made a significant improvement in my home.

    • Hazel Thornton on February 7, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Sehnita! I agree with many of your points. I am not boycotting the rest of the episodes, I just only have so much time for them. (I feel guilty reading ALL of her books, reading ALL of the articles that come my way, and watching ALL of her episodes when there are still some of my esteemed colleagues’ books and blog posts I have not yet read, and episodes of their shows I have not seen, or their podcasts I have not listened to.) Your episode will be next on the list, since you have been so kind as to chime in. I’m glad you benefited from being on the show. I am Kondo-weary, but I agree that she seems sincere, which I also think is part of her appeal. (But then, I’ve never seen or known an organizer who wasn’t sincerely wanting to help people.)

  9. Olive Wagar on February 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for your delightful perspective, Hazel–especially the 90%–5%–5% analysis!! I also don’t have access to Netflix so I haven’t seen an episode yet. I do want to be aware and sensitive to all of this because a new member of our state chapter is a Kon-Mari consultant. Thanks for keeping me informed!!

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