You’ve probably heard by now that Marie Kondo, internationally known tidying expert, is no longer prioritizing a pristine home now that she has three little children.
The Washington Post reports:
Kondo says her life underwent a huge change after she had her third child, and external tidying has taken a back seat to the business of life. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she said.
While a lot of the commentary around her lifestyle change has been rather vindictive, it’s important to notice that Kondo is not departing in any meaningful way from her prior advice.
The entire point of her KonMari philosophy was to make space for what matters most to you. Getting rid of clutter and organizing your possessions is not something to do for its own sake. Rather, Kondo advocated from the start that tidying up your home is a way to give yourself more room to do what you love and what “sparks joy.”
The goal was never to live in a sterile museum. The goal was always to make time, space and energy for what’s important to you.
So Kondo’s recent lifestyle change is totally consistent with her earlier work. Simcha Fisher explains this perfectly over at Our Sunday Visitor, writing:
She wanted to live her life in a way that made it easy to focus on what was important to her. Before children, tidiness made that possible. With three children, she has other priorities.
This may be the best advice Kondo has ever given us, and she’s living it out in her own life too. Clear away the “extras,” the inessential and the inconsequential, to make space for what you really love.
Sometimes “clearing away the extras” means literally decluttering your entire home, in the original KonMari style. Sometimes it means letting the dishes and laundry wait until later so you can snuggle under blankets and read stories with your kids. It’s all about identifying what this particular moment requires, and putting first things first.
Our homes are here to serve our families, not vice versa. I’ve been guilty at times of putting too much emphasis on having a clean house: Visible clutter really bothers me, and sometimes I feel myself getting upset with my four very young children for the messes they leave, even though logically I know it’s developmentally appropriate and they are doing their best. So I really appreciate Kondo’s message of prioritizing family time over an immaculate home in this season of life.
If a beautifully tidy home isn’t always possible with young children, what can we do that sparks joy? It turns out Kondo has some great advice for that, too.
In the viral Washington Post article, she mentions the following inwardly focused rituals that might “spark joy” as a parent of young children:
- Cleaning out your purse every night
- Playing classical piano music during breakfast
- Making a beloved favorite recipe (she shares her mom’s recipe for black vinegar chicken wing stew in her new book)
- Buying 100 percent silk or organic cotton pajamas
- Drinking tea three times a day
- Opening and using a childhood sewing box
- Flinging open your windows for some fresh morning air
- Lighting incense or a scented candle
- Wiping the soles of your shoes
Many more of these wonderful ideas can be found in her newest book, Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life.
As a mom in the same phase of life as Kondo, I love this list, especially as lighting a candle and drinking tea are among my favorite calming rituals. My husband and I have a running joke that you can tell how stressful my day was by how many cups of tea I drank (usually at least two or three!).
And as someone who loves a tidy home, I’ll add that there are a few tricks to feeling like you have more order in your home as a mom of littles. Three of my favorite tips are to keep a donation box in my closet, so I can quickly drop things in there as I notice them; rotating toys, so my kids have a limited selection at any given time; and having a quick tidy-up time after every meal, so things don’t get too out of hand.
I’m looking forward to checking out Kondo’s new book to discover more of what she does to put her family first while seeking calm as a busy mom of three.