In the front room, toys are tucked away in the cabinets beneath the shelves to make for a stress-free environment.

In the front room, toys are tucked away in the cabinets beneath the shelves to make for a stress-free environment.

Photo by Deb Jacques


‘Tidying Up’ is not only easy on the eyes, but on the mind

By: Kayla Dimick | C&G Newspapers | Published February 6, 2019

 Grosse Pointe City resident and mother of three Julie Krupp stands by a closet in her home Jan. 28. Krupp has applied the KonMari organization method in her home, which focuses on items that bring the user joy.

Grosse Pointe City resident and mother of three Julie Krupp stands by a closet in her home Jan. 28. Krupp has applied the KonMari organization method in her home, which focuses on items that bring the user joy.

Photo by Deb Jacques

METRO DETROIT — Does that old T-shirt from high school in the back of your drawer bring you joy?

What about the box of receipts from 2015 lurking in your basement?

There’s a new method of organization sweeping the nation called KonMari, and it’s all about focusing on keeping what brings you joy and getting rid of what doesn’t. The method was developed by Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo, who has written four books on the subject.

Most popularly, Kondo penned New York Times best-seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” in 2011, which has been translated from Japanese into nine different languages. The book was also Amazon’s No. 1 seller in 2014.

While the book has been popular for some time, Netflix recently jumped on the joy wagon. “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” premiered on the streaming service Jan. 1 and immediately went viral.

On the show, Kondo visits the homes of self-proclaimed pack rats and introduces them to her method.

Instead of going room by room, Kondo tidies by category — not location. It starts with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, and concludes with sentimental items. Tidiers are encouraged to keep only things that speak to their heart, and to discard items that don’t spark joy. Tidiers are then instructed to thank the items for their service before letting them go.

Grosse Pointe resident Julie Krupp said she read Kondo’s book a few years ago, but after watching the show, she is now “all in” on the KonMari method.

“I’ve always been interested in more minimal style and decluttering, and now I have three kids, so I said, ‘OK, how am I going to live with all of this around me?’” Krupp said. “I had done it a little bit in the past, but I didn’t do it in the order she suggested. When I read you should thank your clothes, I thought, ‘I’m going to bypass that. I’m not quite there with organizing.’”

Krupp said that once she started taking Kondo’s method seriously, it clicked.  

“I started following the sequence she suggests by starting with clothes. In the past, I started by going room by room, and she suggests going category by category, and that’s when it felt like I had gotten to the bottom of it,” Krupp said. “For me, it really does work. By going room by room, I’ve been running in circles for years now.”

Not only has the KonMari method saved Krupp time, but she said it also makes her feel more at peace in her home.

“It feels so good in here now. Rather than focusing on what I need to get rid of, I’m focusing on what I really love, and that helped,” she said.

For example, when applying the KonMari method in her home, Krupp said she decided to display a sentimental piece so that it wasn’t sitting in storage.

“My mom passed away when I was 13, and she wore this pineapple shirt all the time when we’d go on vacation. I kind of thought of it as a goofy shirt that was not my style and I would never really wear,” Krupp said. “But I cut out a pineapple from the shirt and put it in a cheery yellow frame, and when I look at it, it makes me think of vacation. If I didn’t do that, it wouldn’t be on my wall looking at me and bringing me joy. It’d be in a box somewhere.”

Farmington Hills psychologist Dr. Sobha Vakhariya said that having an organized home can help to decrease anxiety and depression while increasing self-esteem.

“One of the main benefits is that you can think better. Having a messy and cluttered room can lead to insomnia, and it can also cause stress,” Vakhariya said. “There’s a lot of evidence that shows, basically, if your house is nice and organized, it makes you feel proud and boosts your self-esteem and confidence.”

Having a cluttered home can also affect our hormones and eating habits, Vakhariya said.

“There’s evidence that women who describe their homes as cluttered or filled with unfinished projects are more depressed and fatigued, both of which are specifically correlated to mental health,” she said. “If you’re stressed out, the stress hormone cortisol increases, which increases insulin, and you’re much more likely to eat something that’s sugary and fatty.”

“I feel like now that’s all behind me, my head is clear and my heart is clear, and it kind of bleeds into wanting to eat better  — there are a lot of things that come from decluttering your home,” Krupp said.

Lisa Westmoreland, executive editor of Ten Speed Press — the publisher of Kondo’s books — said that when she read the proposal for Kondo’s first book, she was amazed at its ability to transcend international boundaries.

“Marie’s clients at the time — and therefore the book’s case studies — were mainly in Tokyo, but the principles were universal. In fact, seeing the fact that clutter is a problem that crosses international borders was fascinating and somehow relieving to my own personal struggles with curbing clutter,” Westmoreland said in an email. “The reason her book continues to resonate with so many people is that her method really works in the long term — it’s not only a quick balm for the immediate clutter in one’s home, it’s also a permanent mindset shift that stops mindless consumerism in its tracks. The KonMari method makes people deeply analyze whether bringing something new into the home will truly spark joy, far into the future.”

In order to help others spark joy, Krupp said she is working on becoming a KonMari consultant, which requires a weekend training program in New York.

If you want to start sparking joy but you’re not sure where to begin, Krupp’s advice is to just jump in.

“I would say just start. You can kind of laugh at the whole process, but when you go piece by piece, it doesn’t seem overwhelming, and you start to focus on what you love — one thing at a time,” she said.