Why the Konmari Method Doesn't Work

why the konmari method doesn t work due to cultural differences

Are you setting yourself up for failure if you follow the Marie Kondo method of decluttering? While it’s gotten worldwide attention, it might not be the best decluttering method.

While it’s excellent that Marie Kondo brought decluttering to mainstream media, her methods won’t work for everyone.

While the Konmari Method sounds ideal in theory, research from our team at FinditHealth found that this method is super challenging to maintain long-term. Keep reading to find out why.

why the konmari method doesn t work due to cultural differences

What is The Konmari Method?

why the konmari method doesn t work and what is it

If you have heard the term “only keep items that bring you joy,” then you are familiar with the Konmari Method. Marie Kondo is the author of the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

She’s a lifestyle guru and had a Netflix show that gained worldwide attention. Both her book and the Netflix series describe the KonMari method.

The KonMari method is a series of simple ways to reorganize your home so you can get rid of excess clutter and mess. According to Kondo, by following her method, you will have a cleaner, more organized household and a more positive and happier lifestyle. Overall, you will feel invigorated by the tidy space you created around you and be able to have more energy for tasks ahead of your day.

But, this method will not work for everyone, and there is a chance it could actually make you feel worse. The KonMari method is all about removing objects from sight as a way to clean and organize belongings. This is done so you have precisely what you need, and you know where this is located. This can be a tricky thing to maintain, especially if you work a full-time job and have kids. Though, the KonMari method can be a great form of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Cultural Differences

A big disadvantage of the KonMari method is that it is based on Japanese culture, as this is where Kondo is from and lives.

Her lifestyle will be very different from other cultures and daily habits around the world.

For example, an average Japanese home is 1000 square feet and has around four rooms.

It’s a very minimalist lifestyle and way of living, whereas a typical American home is around 2000 square feet with several rooms that each has a distinct purpose. So as you can imagine, it takes more time and energy to declutter an American home versus a Japanese home.

It’s Very Overwhelming

The key concept behind the KonMari method is that you have to tidy and organize everything at once. It pulls everything out in the home that belongs to that specific category you are working on at the moment.

For example, if you are decluttering clothes, you will be pulling clothes out of closets, dressers, and probably even the floor! This will lead to a huge pile of clothing that you have to sort through and could seem extremely daunting. You will need to be incredibly determined or have people beside you motivating you to finish the task.

Most importantly, you will need to have a huge chunk of time set aside to finish this task. A tool that could help you start this method is to have a meditation or mindfulness practice.

By using these practices, you can work on calming and centering your mind, so you are more present and willing to start this method. It can be especially helpful to include stones or crystals in your meditation practice for the ultimate calming effect.

Tricky, Specific Folding

Another quirky concept of the KonMari method she teaches is that there is an art to folding clothes and towels. According to Kondo, following this specific type of fold will keep clothes and towels organized for longer and also increase motivation to keep folding like this, so everything looks uniform.

If you’re one of the many who hate folding anything, the Marie Kondo method is not for you. For some of us, this could turn into a huge excuse to leave laundry piling up because you do not have time to fold.

Not Ideal with Kids

The main concept of the KonMari method is that you declutter everything all at once, and then you are done. But in reality, it really is impossible to keep your home forever clutter-free and clean, especially when you have kids. 

Kids will always be doing artwork and aren’t going to be doing specific folds or understanding how to only keep items that spark joy. As Kondo wrote personally on her blog, “Motherhood taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a tidy, clean home.”

Psychological Health

While making an effort to declutter and reorganize everything at once is a great idea, the true reality is that most people do not have the time to do it with their busy schedules. 

A big disadvantage of the KonMari method is that it is very rigorous. It requires lots of time, commitment, and a lot of energy to complete everything. It’s also more important to try on projects and tasks instead of waiting for the perfect time and the ideal circumstances to go through everything at one time.

We would encourage and support the idea that you should just start to clean and organize instead of waiting on the perfect time and the ideal circumstances to be able to go through everything at one time. Without Marie Kondo standing over you, it may be challenging to complete, and failing tasks is usually detrimental to our psychological well-being. Not completing tasks or failing to finish the entire MonKari Method could cause you to engage in unhealthy self-blame. 

Because you could tie your self-worth to having a clean, tidy home, and if your home doesn’t look like this, you will just blame yourself. If this happens to you, get out of the house and find an activity that brings you joy and takes your mind off the KonMari method. This could be trying a Kundalini class or just getting outside and being around animals.

Quirky Aspect

Another disadvantage and somewhat quirky aspect of the KonMari method is that you thank your possession for their service before you give them away. While this sounds good in theory, viewing inanimate objects as objects to thank makes us treat them even more sentimentally. This reduces our desire to get rid of them and prevents us from decluttering our space.

Before you thank your items, we would advise on opening your heart chakra. This way you are completely open to thank the item but also have an open, and willing, heart to let the item go.

KonMari Concepts

The first concept is that you tackle the entire house at once rather than cleaning a tiny bit at a time. Then you will tidy by categories such as books or clothes, not by the location of the house. The third step is to organize and categorize every item together and get rid of, or donate, what you don’t want. Or, as Kondo famously says, only keep objects that spark joy when you hold or see them.

One of the biggest advantages of a tidy house is that being able to locate things quickly will cause you less stress. Research has shown that clean, organized environments improve our thinking ability which further our self-confidence. Another advantage of the KonMari method is that this method includes specific instructions but still allows for a lot of flexibility and interpretation. For example, Kondo says to keep items that spark joy, but she doesn’t explain further what exactly this means. So you can choose what this feeling of sparking joy means to you.

Sentimental things could spark joy, or even everyday items that many people will disregard will seem super important to you. By creating and crafting what sparks joy in you, you will have the feeling of accomplishment and staying true to yourself when you finish.

Conclusion – Research by Findithealth.com

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If you want to give the Marie Kondo method a shot, go right ahead. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying is an excellent book with many perfect ideas and can be a great tool to set new goals for yourself and your lifestyle. But, be aware that you might need to adjust some of her tips to fit your personality and lifestyle.

FinditHealth recommends considering the time and resources available for this task and setting feasible goals. By creating and setting achievable goals, you increase the likelihood of success and keep your psychological health in check.

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches