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Tidying Up is the latest series from Netflix featuring Marie Kondo, creator of the Konmari Method and author of The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. In the first episode of the series, we meet a young couple who is in need of help. They discuss the anxiety and irritation they feel with each other. This is a familiar story for those of us with ADHD. We know very well how much frustration a cluttered home can produce, but we often struggle to strike a balance.
Ok, so there is always some great diet craze or fitness craze, or organizing craze coming out and I get excited because I need to get fit, eat better, and get organized. So does half of the country, that’s another story. Usually, I approach these trends by being extraordinarily suspicious of their validity until I have seen enough people muddle their way through them successfully (looking at you, Keto diety). So trends and I are a little like frenemies. I like them kinda but not really.
So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden a trend cropped up that featured something I know and love: the Konmari method. I read The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up several years ago, and I loved the idea of “sparking joy”, and of thanking the items you interact with on a daily basis for their place in your life. I believe that there is good energy, or vibes, or positivity in respect to the inanimate objects in your home. There is magic in treating the things you use and love well, which is a lesson I learned as a child watching my mother and grandmother care for the things they used. So Marie Kondo’s words really resonated with me.
Organizing makes me feel skeptical
All of that is great, but when it comes to this method or any other method, I’m always skeptical. See, organizing is great, but the majority of advice for organizing isn’t well suited to the neurodiverse brain. I’ve been told to make lists, I’ve been told to just try a planner. I’ve been told loads of advice that left me feeling frustrated, disorganized, and sad.
There is nothing that makes you feel defeated quite like trying to get your living space together so you can feel a little more normal, and then finding that you lose track of your complex list, you run out of energy or interest in the middle of the project, and your house winds up looking worse, not better than when you began.
For women with ADHD, this issue is even more complex. As women, society expects us to be the keepers of home and hearth. For those of us who struggle in the area of messiness (side note: not every ADHD person does, FYI), our dysfunctional organizational systems, piles of laundry, and clutter make us feel not only crazy because of the clutter, but add one more layer to the lack of femininity that some of us feel. Don’t even get me started on how I think that women with ADHD are JUST the people to push back against this societal standard. That’s another post, one that I have already kinda touched on.
Here’s my take on the Konmari method.
I said all of this to say that I don’t have an issue with Konmari or any other method. Marie Kondo’s method is filled with lots of good information. I just want it to work for ME too.
- It blends a little emotion into the project, which sparks interest as well as joy – In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo tells us to only keep items that spark joy. For me, what sparks interest is knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of the people I love. That’s what brings me to life and helps me to power through unpleasant tasks. In the Konmari method, you are thanking your home and your objects and that has a humanizing effect on them which I find makes it more interesting and keeps me working longer.
- I like the way it is broken down into steps – When many of us attack the idea of cleaning the house, we leave it as a vague goal. One of the best things you can do for your ADHD brain is to get REALLY specific about what you are wanting to do when you say “clean the house.” Do you want to clean the floors? Do you need to vacuum the dog fur off the couch AGAIN (No? Just my house I guess). With Konmari, Marie gives you a place to start, begin and end. You start with the clothing. As you move through each item, you see if it sparks joy, then you either keep it or thank the item for its service and discard it. Once you’ve done this with clothing, you do the same thing with books. Then you do paperwork, then you do Komono or miscellaneous items. You don’t have to sit and think up what you should be purging, or where to begin and end. You have a plan laid out in simple steps for you.
- This isn’t a HUGE one day project – SO many times when I cook up an idea in my little ADHD brain, I want it all to be a quick fix. I want to spend the whole day purging, get it all done, and bask in my clean new home by nightfall. This is a super idealistic and completely unrealistic timeline, and it is setting me up for failure. I know, because I have failed at trying to organize this way many many times. Trying to organize a whole home in a day is how you end up with your whole wardrobe on your kitchen floor, a couch covered in DVD and tangled wires, and you hiding in your room because the whole project has become overwhelming. If you are following the Konmari method the way she describes in The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, you’ll see that you actually may need more like a month to purge. She suggests taking a week for each step, which forces you to slow down and really concentrate on finishing each step. This can be a blessing or a curse for your ADHD mind. For many of us, there are only two times: now, and not now. The variety of being able to change categories over each week is enough to keep me interested. It could be the lag in time that allows them to lose interest for others. It is all about what is going to work for you.
The verdict? I absolutely LOVED The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. Unlike other methods which I find to be completely sterile and uninteresting, Konmari method actually has been helpful for me. That was several years ago when I had a much larger family and lived in a completely different home. Even now if I decide an item doesn’t spark joy, and I dump it or donate it. Having said that, I’m due for a big purge. Would you like to see me go through a Konmari purge? Let me know in the comments.
What could be helpful if I am trying to do Konmari?
There are a few items Marie Kondo suggests that could be helpful for you. There are a few that you may like. Here are some of the items I have found helpful.
If you are folding your clothing in the way Marie suggests, you can fit more in your drawers. If you think you won’t be able to get them to stand up the way she recommends, these organizers can help:
Marie suggests small boxes in kitchen drawers and organizing the items in the drawers by size. Try these boxes to keep your drawers nice and neat:
The Konmari Method asks you to store goods in clear containers. This way you can see what you have and don’t over-purchase. Try these containers so you can keep an eye on things.
If you can’t get enough of Tidying Up, be sure to sit down with the book that inspired the series.
If you loved the book, and you have a sense of humor, you’ll also love this fantastic book.
Are you trying the Konmari Method? How do you feel about it?
Until next time,
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