Why Does KonMari Work?

Photo courtesy of theatlantic.com (Natsuno Ichigo)

Our cultural fascination with organizer Marie Kondo and her Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up continues.  there has been a lot of conjecture about why people around the world find her so compelling - is it her otherness rooted in Japanese culture?  Is it her bold claim that her method will change your life? Is it her wacky way of comparing objects to friends and family?

All the fans of Freakanomics out there should check out Bourree Lam's article in The Atlantic: The Economics of Tidying Up.  It turns out that there are serious economic principles underlying the KonMari method that explain why it feels so revolutionary and works so well. Essentially, what Marie Kondo has done with her method is not to create an entirely new method of organizing, but to reframe process in order to incentivize a more organized outcome.

Ms. Lam also recounts the anxiety that utilizing Kondo's method can bring, and this is a stage in the organizing process that I definitely recognize in my clients.  Generally, when clients come to me, they are at the end of their rope and eager to fix their problems fast.  This is great - they're ready to hear my advice and make real changes!  However, it also means that they often get impatient and frustrated by the initial phases of the process.

And those initial phases are not aesthetically pleasing.  In order to truly get organized, we have to get into every nook and cranny, look at every object, and make a decision about everything. I always tell my clients: it's going to get worse before it gets better, but it's worth it in the end!  And it's my job to guide them through the process, support their decision making, and reassure them that even though it may look like a tornado just blew through their house, we're moving in the right direction. Even if you go full on KonMari, there's no quick fix for getting truly organized, but I can help you stay sane and on track throughout the process!