So. KonMari. I think most of us are at least passingly familiar with it, since the word is a verb now, as in “I KonMari’d so thoroughly last weekend, I donated my husband to Goodwill.”
I have some thoughts.
The first is that the basic philosophy behind the method – don’t keep anything in your home that doesn’t spark joy – is slightly flawed but extremely useful. She touches on it many times, but I still found the “rules” a little murky on things that don’t individually spark joy, but you will inevitably need at some point and it would be kind of wasteful to throw it away. I personally adapted this rule to include “If having it for when you need it sparks a feeling of preparedness and security, that’s joyful for me.” Your mileage may vary. I purged my house according to these ideas, and truly – I was floored by how joyful it felt afterward. It really is incredible. Cleaning really is way easier and life is simpler and better.
Complaints: as many, many people have noted, she does not seem to have ever lived with children. Interestingly, her Wikipedia page says she has two.
It’s hard to separate cultural differences from just, strangeness. There’s undoubtedly a strong cultural element. However, I also really think that she has something clinical going on. She describes spending hours upon hours as a child, organizing and reorganizing and obsessing about organizing and honing her organizational systems. I could be wrong but I don’t think that’s normal for a child in any culture. As someone with diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder, some of her advice very much feels like endorsing very unhealthy, obsessive ways of thinking, and I have to constantly ask myself if doing something the KonMari way is just undoing some unhealthy perfectionism that lots of therapy has helped me work through.
That said, though, many mentally ill people have novel and beneficial ways of looking at the world. They have things to offer and this is a perfect example. I really believe that some of her worldviews go beyond just cultural differences and into clinical issues. I recognize some of my own problems in her absolute rigidity and intolerance for imperfection. I would recommend that people who struggle with these issues read these books with caution, but in some really great ways, they did change my life.