By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
City & Shore Magazine
As a compulsive organizer, I read Marie Kondo’s book and binge watched her Netflix show to see what the fuss was all about. If you have no idea who she is, you haven’t been paying attention.
Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has sold more than 8.5 million copies in 40 languages. Her TV show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, is a mega hit despite the fact she doesn’t speak much English and uses a translator. She even hit the talk show circuit and taught Stephen Colbert how to fold a shirt the Kondo way.
Addicted fans are piling their clothing on their beds and keeping only those that, in her words, “Spark joy.” They are getting rid of duplicate clothing, unread books, unused DVDs and old holiday decorations. She shows them how to fold items, such as T-shirts, into rectangles and store them standing up in the boxes she brings.
Frankly, I don’t get it.
She gives the same advice on each show to clients who appear to hoard clothes and possessions in garages and bedrooms. The most useful tip is her folding suggestions. The best part of the show is the client stories, such as the widow who was having a hard time giving away her husband’s clothing.
I haven’t written a book, but I have ideas from my own organizing addiction to share.
SPICES: Some folks use turntables, which I use for bottles. The best way I found to keep spices in order is with the Swivel Store, a plastic system that takes up little room and slides out to see your spices in alphabetical order. The best place to buy it is at swivelstore.com.
DVDS: Tired of searching for a movie? My answer was to buy three metal baskets online at the containerstore.com. I organized them in three categories – classic, modern favorites and series.
SHOES: Footwear does not belong in a pile on the floor of your closet. Buy plastic lidded boxes and label them or shoot a photo and attach it. I put mine on closet shelves but you can also store them on an expensive bookshelf.
JEWELRY: Back in the day, our tiny bobbles fit in our jewelry boxes. These days jewelry is bigger and bolder – cuff bracelets and large statement necklaces. I found racks for these larger items at Bed, Bath & Beyond and store smaller pieces in a hardware store box with small drawers. Still need room? Attach pegs or plastic stick-on hooks to hang them.
HANDBAGS: Whenever I bought a new bag, my husband asked, “Why do you need another handbag?” My response: “It has nothing to do with need, honey, it’s want.” I store mine on closet shelves and use a plastic box for smaller crossbody bags. Other options? Stein Mart sells an organizer box with slots for shelf storage. Walmart sells clear handing purse organizers.
Clothing: Give away clothes you haven’t worn in a year or more. Do you still need the business suits and cocktail clothes from your northern life? Once you have pared down, use Kondo’s folding method. (See YouTube for videos.) The hanging pieces should be stored by color and type (dresses, pants, tops).
Kondo didn’t sell anything at first. Now she has entered the business of selling organization products starting with a set of three boxes for $89, which is currently sold out.
Happy decluttering. Use a combination of the Kondo and Char methods and you really can spark joy because you’ll be able to find everything again.