I Can't, Marie Kondo. I Have Kids.

There’s a new show on Netflix which is all the rage. It released on Jan. 1, right in time for people’s New Year resolutions, which is great because the show is about organizing.

(So, right then and there you gotta know I’m already a half-step behind. Now, if it was about organized crime, I’d be all in, but this is organization of a whole different breed.)

I’m talking about the show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” Marie is the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up,” a book published in the US in 2014 which launched her into the American psyche and crowned her the queen of home organization.

Have you read the book? I have not.  Again, organization is not really my thing. It doesn’t come easily, I’m not particularly bent toward it and I can only guess that spending my free time delving into a topic that would only make me feel even worse about my already inept organizational skills, would NOT bring my joy.

Speaking of bringing you joy, Marie is all about bringing kindness and joy to your home. Plus, she’s cute as a button and just what you might imagine if you, hypothetically, spent time daydreaming about fairies coming to clean your house while you slept….or while you watched DIFFERENT show on Netflix. You know, hypothetically.

Marie is all about joy. In fact, she encourages you to sort through your belongings by holding each item and asking whether it “sparks joy” in you. If it does not, she encourages you to thank it for its service and let it go.


I’m not sure about thanking my grubby old t-shirts or that ¾-gone bottle of toilet bowl cleaner under my sink or my fifth-grade science notebook I’ve managed to move from home-to-home three times now. Nope, I think we’re well-past any conversations with those items, if we had even ever conversed at all.

(Side note: I’m sure Marie has a point in the thanking business and since I haven’t watched the series, I’m not really in a position to mock. Although I will.)

I do like the idea of only filling your surroundings with what brings you joy and getting rid of what doesn’t. That resonates with me. Pillows, books, furniture and clothing that are beautiful and functional. Yes, please!

But, that leads me to my real question: Does Marie Kondo (or anyone who uses her KahnMari methods) have children? Or husbands? Or even pets for that matter?

Because those creatures have stuff. A LOT of stuff and 99.9% of that stuff does NOT bring my joy. It brings me mess and clutter and crumbs and smears and funky smells.

If sparking joy is the standard for measuring what gets to stay and what must go, I’m afraid my kids and husband would remain in my home but without their clothing, school-related items, toys, or carb-filled snacks.

Be gone, smelly socks! Bye-bye, slime. Adios, lunch box that wants to set up permanent residence on my counter. See you later, Legos, that attack me in the middle of the night like tiny ninjas.

Ahh, I’m feeling more joyful already!

So, while I haven’t watched the series, I have witnessed its effect all over my social media feeds. Friends have been proudly displaying their newly organized drawers of folded shirts.

Because Marie Kondo had her own folding method. Forget how you’ve folded clothes for the past 40 years, there is now a special way of folding clothing items to store them away. And I gotta say, the little folded shirts look so cute and organized in their drawers.

But, then I start imagining my own home….

Perfectly folded items, sparking joy out of drawers in every room…..until my 10 year-old, who couldn’t give a rip about Marie or her tidying-up ways comes along. One yank of something out of his drawer and it’s over. All my hard work out the window.

Now, I could have him do the folding. He’s certainly capable. But, I have a hard enough time getting him to put his clothes away in his drawers let alone folding them. And now I’m requiring a certain form of folding?

Yeah, that’s never gonna happen. I repeat: NEVER. GONNA. HAPPEN.

So, what does this mean for the organization of my home? Do I just throw in the towel and live in a world of clutter. No, I can’t do that.

Do I only keep what brings me joy and throw everything (and everyone) else out? Tempting, but also no.

That leaves me with only one choice: Keep trying my best, like brushing my teeth while eating Oreos. I’ll throw things out, give things away, try to fill my home with only items that bring me joy, and manage my attitude about the things that don’t.

And, at the end of the day, I’ll try to remember that all of that clutter and mess comes from my people. And despite Marie Kondo’s goals for organization, THEY are actually the ones who bring kindness and joy to my home.