A Mom’s Take on KonMari: The Book vs. The Series


A while ago, I saw a book repeatedly recommended in a minimalist group I’m in on Facebook. I kept reading about the book and the Konmari Method online but never jumped all in because my husband has been hesitant about it. I’ve very slowly been going through and getting rid of items in my house for the last couple of months, trying to beat back the clutter but without any particular system behind my efforts. But when I read that Marie Kondo herself said that the KonMari method isn’t actually so great for families, I became really curious. I’m a mom. I want to have a clean and organized home. Let’s see what this mom’s take on KonMari might be.

Now, it’s important to point out that even though I discovered Marie Kondo and her magical ways in a minimalist group, the KonMari Method and minimalism are not the same things. However, they can be used hand in hand. The difference is that the KonMari Method is about organization, tidying up, gratitude, and what brings you joy. Those are all things minimalism can do for you, but you don’t have to be a minimalist to use the KonMari Method or vice versa.

My deep dive into the Konmari Method required me to read the book and watch the series. And if you want to know this mom’s take on KonMari, continue reading.

Using the KonMari Method to organize a living room

First up, Tidying Up, the series.

One night, my husband said he found a show on Netflix he thought I’d like called Tidying Up. Why he thought I’d want to watch TV about cleaning is beyond me, but as soon as we started watching it, I realized it was Marie Kondo and told him that this is what I’ve been trying to teach him about. We watched the first episode together and once it ended, he said, “We have to do this.” A few days later, her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up arrived and we got to work!

Watching the series, I immediately related to the first episode, the one with the family with two small children. Even though I only have one toddler, I knew all the mess, all the stress, and the constant, “mommy, mommy, mommy!” all too well. I also felt our home was very similar. It looks nice when you walk in, but don’t you dare open a closet!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up touches on so much more than the Netflix series. For example, in the series, you constantly see Marie talk about piling all your books together and waking them up and going through them to see what sparks joy. But in the series, you don’t see her talk about the number of books you should keep or how you really don’t need to keep any books because (as mentioned in the book) the book has already been experienced and is retained inside of you after you read it.

And, FYI, thirty books are what she keeps in her personal collection.

KonMari inspired folding and clothing storage.

The book does not demonstrate folding in a way that is friendly to a visual learner like me. There are only written instructions. If I had to rely solely on the book for folding instructions, there’s no way I would have continued with it. I’m glad the series showed folding for various items. If you are looking for written folding instructions, check out her second book, Spark Joy!

Extra KonMari secrets from the book!

There’s one section of the book that really stuck out to me because it had info that wasn’t anywhere in the series.

Label noise. Call me crazy, but label noise doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but it does to me. Label noise is not noise at all, rather it is the stimulation the labels provide.

You see labels on everything from soap bottles, food boxes, cosmetics, etc. Labels obviously provide a purpose, but seeing all the different colors, texts, and images on the label can sometimes make things appear “noisy” or look busy and messy. I can’t wait to decrease the label noise in my house.

One other thing that wasn’t addressed in the show was stockpiles. Personally, I don’t stockpile, but I’m a sucker for a great deal. I will grab a lot of a product if it’s on sale and it is something we use regularly. As long as my cupboards aren’t overflowing with my bargain shopping and everything is nicely organized, I don’t see an issue with it.

If I read the book before I watched the series, I don’t think I would have been able to relate to the book so much. I say this because of seeing Marie’s facial expressions and body language in the series. While I was reading the book, I automatically pictured Marie Kondo and her process, complete with her expressions and joy-sparking magic. It made the book come to life for me.

This mom’s take on KonMari: watch the show before you read the book.

When you watch the series, you can really feel the change in the people and families who participate. You can feel their energy and see their emotions in more ways than reading about the experiences in her book. In the book, there are a lot of great success stories of people and families that have used the KonMari Method in their homes, but seeing their joy and relief and actually listening to them talk about their experience is much more powerful.

The thing I liked best about the series are the very different homes and stages of life everyone was in.

In just eight episodes, Marie Kondo covers just about every scenario from a couple wanting to start a family to an empty nest mother who lost her husband. In this sense, there is so much more to learn from the show for these various stages of life. Each episode really touches on a different struggle and how they worked through it.

What I liked best about the book was how much more in-depth Marie Kondo went into the whole KonMari process.

If I relied solely on the series, I feel like I would have made many of the same mistakes Marie Kondo made along her journey of perfecting the method that she talks about in the book. There are many times she explained how exactly she came to her solution for a particular problem, which was very helpful to me.

If the KonMari Method is something you are seriously considering, I highly recommend you purchase her books. Don’t rely solely on the series, but it is definitely a good starting point. This mom’s take on KonMari is a resounding yes- with the caveat that the Netflix series and the book add different things to you’re experience.

Be on the lookout for my next post where I detail my experience trying the KonMari method!

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