Book or Netflix: what Konmari method (if any) is right for you.

Tidy up book Marie Kondo Konmari

It seems like every January, Netflix puts out a show that changes people’s lives

Last year, it was Queer Eye, the seemingly shallow but ultimately transformative show that everyone and their mother watched and loved, in which five queer men reinvented the makeover format. This year, it was Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a show where the loveliest woman on earth showed normal people how to tidy up their homes.

Simple concepts, feel good results, this is why I have a Netflix subscription.

As someone who has owned “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” for a year without cleaning a single thing, watching the world fall in love with Marie Kond was especially funny. Until I watched the show and read the book again and fell in love myself.

This of course means I had to actually tidy up which was… Exhausting but rewarding? Something like that.

Before and After view of my underwear drawer.

Who is Marie Kondo and what is the KonMari method

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organization specialist who has created her own method of tidying up, called the KonMari Method. This method is an intense, entire house, category-by-category system; this means you don’t tidy up a room at a time, but a category at a time.

When you’re organizing your clothes, you have to pile all of them up in the same place, so you can truly see everything you own. Same with books, papers, komono (miscellaneous) and sentimental items.

After recovering from the shock of owning far more stuff than you thought possible, you’re meant to touch each item, determine whether or not they spark joy, keep the things that do and discard the ones that don’t, after thanking them for serving you well.

Once you’ve disposed of your clutter (whatever didn’t bring you joy), you put everything back in their place using special folding techniques (that reduce your clothes to geometrical shapes) and neat boxes, to make sure everything has its place and won’t become untidy again in a matter of minutes.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? (IT’S NOT!) With all this being said, if you’re interested in tidying up, should you read the book or watch the show?

“The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” book is for you if:

1. You want to tidy up and have no idea where to start

The book goes in depth into the KonMari method, including step-by-step instructions for every type of item and division in your house. It also includes cute anecdotes about Marie’s clients that’ll make you feel less crazy.

2. You like an introspective take on decluttering

The book is not a simple instructional pamphlet on how to tidy up, but instead takes a look on our relationship with our possessions, what we should keep and dispose of and why. Sparking joy? Not just a cute buzz expression.

3. You enjoy soothing books

It’s just a soothing style of writing!

The “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” Netflix show is for you if:

1. You just want the basics of tidying up

The Netflix special takes the KonMari methis and boils it down to just the basic principals: categories, folding, sparking joy and being grateful. If you’re looking for just a primer, the show is the way to go.

2. You’re a visual learner

The book doesn’t have a single image or diagram. I’m not one to solely rely on visuals, but I only really understood the folding technique when I saw Marie do it on the show.

3. You want to see others go through the process

There is a certain charm about watching people struggle like you are struggling, and watching the people on Netflix go through the process is very encouraging. (They did it and so can you!)

Though in my biased opinion, Instagram has a wonderful organizing community that made me feel supported and emergized throughout my tidying up process.

Avoid all things Marie Kondo if:

1. You don’t like following very specific sets of instructions

There is a degree of free will and personal choice in the Marie Kondo’s tidying up routine, but there are also incountable rules and very specific ways of doing things (like folding). If you’re a free spirit, stay away!

2. You like to stockpile things

Marie is resolutely against stockpiling, even non perishable items like toilet paper.

3. You simply like your clutter and don’t wish to change a thing about it

Decluttering can be a wonderful thing if that’s what you want to do. If you don’t then screw it! Don’t let other people force you into something you’re not ready for, because for the KonMari method to work, you have to want it to.

Does it spark joy?

Netflix or Book: which was the right fit for me?

Both!

I consider myself a reasonably tidy person, and yet after following the KonMari process, I donated four large bags of clothes, threw away three bags of papers, and donated one bag of books. My spaces have never looked more organized and I feel like I can breathe better, which is one of Marie Kondo’s ultimate goals.

(Don’t get me wrong, tidying up wasn’t a sea of roses, it was long and tedious and sometimes exasperating, but I love the end results enough that it more than made up for the gruelling process.)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book is a delightful read, as detailed as I like my books to be, and while I loved all the advice, it lacked visual aids to help me learn how to follow the very specific folding technique.

Marie Kondo’s Netflix show gave me all the visuals, and it helped immensely to watch Marie fold. I also adored Marie, and if I thought her writing was soothing, I had no idea how charming her physical presence would be; she’s wonderful and easily the best part of the show. On the other hand, it was a very cursory look into the KonMari method, cluttered with people’s stories and struggles, so on its own it wouldn’t have satisfied me.

For me, the right fit was both!

Ultimately, I enjoyed tidying up and benefited from both book and show. For non-readers, the Netflix show is a better fit, but if you want the full Marie Kondo experience, then I can’t recommend the book enough.

Xo,

Sara A.

P.S. The number one question I’ve been getting from friends is “how is the upkeep?” The answer is: surprisingly easy. The KonMari folding method might be a pain, but it yields great results, and it’s very easy to fold my laundry in the same method and just pop it back in the drawers next to the rest. I can’t foresee falling off the wagon.

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