Friday, April 24, 2015

What is this KonMari?

I've been sharing a lot of Facebook posts about "KonMari" lately. Some of my friends have been graciously cheering me on while others may feel a little left out of the party with all this esoteric talk about "sparking joy" and the "magic" of throwing practically everything away. Some of them may even be bored of my bragging, which is really not what I mean to do. I'm just having the time of my life and I can't help talking about it! In an effort to spare my Facebook friends from the gushing, I decided it was time to blog about this huge turning point and share a little of the magic I've discovered.

In simple terms, the KonMari method is a way of paring down your possessions to the minimum of what you need in order to live a happy, joy-filled existence. It was developed by an adorable Japanese woman named Marie Kondo and explained in her international best-selling book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Ms. Kondo has also assumed the title "KonMari" for herself as well as her method. This book fell into my life the week after my 40th birthday, at a time when I was feeling ready and excited for a big change. I had never heard of the book before, but a friend shared it on Facebook and something told me I had to read it. As far as I can recall, I have read only one other self-help book in my life. But I felt compelled to read this one and put myself on the waiting list for a digital copy from our library. Even though I was number 134 on the list, I miraculously got my copy two days later and started reading right away.

Within the first few paragraphs I was both captivated and terrified! "This woman is going to make me throw everything away!" I thought. I felt my breathing get shallow and my head swim with all the reasons she couldn't make me do that. She just didn't understand. I need my things. But somewhere else inside, I knew she was right, and that if I would keep reading, it would make sense. The book had the draw of some kind of thriller novel and with the gripping curiosity that keeps you reading a classic "who-done-it", I plunged ahead. Obviously, we have to keep at least some of our things to survive, and I wanted to find out her criteria before I gave up on the book entirely. Finally I landed on the crux: KonMari teaches that we should not choose what we throw away so much as what we keep. And the way we choose what we keep is by asking ourself for each and every item in our home, "Does this spark joy?" Those things that do are the things we should keep. I was flooded with relief and excitement. That was something I could do! Not only that, but the thought thrilled me! She proceeds to describe the kind of environment you could live in where you are only surrounded by things that bring you joy! That sounds like heaven, truly! What an awesome place that would be, and absolutely yes, I wanted to live like that! From then on, I was totally hooked. I could barely put the book down and devoured it in about 2 days. Within a week I started the thrilling process of turning my life around.

The KonMari method as outlined in the book is not perfect, but the principles behind it resonate deeply with me. Several circumstances, especially events over the past year, led me to a point where I was definitely ready for this. I'll talk more about that in a future post. For now, if this sounds at all exciting to you, I highly recommend finding a copy and reading this book as soon as you can. I will continue to share my thoughts, some of the reasons I love this method, and some of the tweaks I've had to make to fit it to my life and beliefs, particularly how it applies to large families, since that is not something the book addresses very well.

More on KonMari:


  1. So what tweaks did you make to account for a large family?

  2. I will address that in a future post, Jill. So stay tuned!