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The Step Marie Kondo Forgot

I consider myself a Kondo fan girl!  I’ve watched the Netflix series, I’ve read the book, and I totally tri-fold all of my tee shirts.  I ask myself if my Tupperware spark joy.  I love this woman.

But I think she forgot a step in the journey of using our houses to work for us.

She forgot the part where the mess can be life-changing.

On any regular Tuesday, I gather my family’s laundry to be washed.  Tuesdays are totally messy.  I rotate loads as quickly as I can in between reading stories to little ones and wiping peanut butter off of the toilet (how?!?!).  There are a few hours of legit chaos where clothes are piled and queued and we all live around the process.

Marie Kondo’s method suggests that our messes should be analyzed, thanked, and processed so that order can reign.  So many yesses to this.  So many heart emojis.  But before we can get to the tasks of analysis, gratitude, and processing, we have  HUGE opportunity.  We can learn from and with and through our messes.

Messes speak volumes:

When you encounter a mess, go through these questions to determine what information you can glean from the situation:

  • What has happened?  Did a birthday party leave a pile of clean up? Was there a surge of work at the office that took tons of your normal cleaning time?  Is your young adult going through a heartbreak and can’t even fathom laundry organization? Is your mess speaking of emotional overwhelm?  Each mess happens for a reason, and remembering that there’s often a reason for our messes helps us have more patience.
  • How are you feeling about this mess? Happy? Put-upon? Resentful? Procrastinating? Like a bad person? Inviting? Frustrated? Be honest.  What is this mess bringing forward for you? Just sit with this emotion for a minute, and when you’ve taken a few big breaths, ask yourself if there’s a reason you’re feeling that particular way.  Messes are merely magnifiers.
  • What is the worst case scenario here?  Is a couch ruined?  Are you in for a bunch of work?  Often the physical worst case scenario is a loss of product/food/décor, but the worst case scenario emotionally could be a whole lot deeper if we let our stuff get in the way of treating the people we love with kindness.  Also, don’t’ shy away from enlisting the mess-maker in the clean up.  It’s so important that kids learn that actions have  consequences.

Messes present opportunities:

When hands are busy, hearts are open.  How can you connect with someone as you move through this mess?  The circumstances of our every-day are the clay with which we build the sculptures of our lives and relationships.

In each messy situation after you’ve gleaned the necessary information, always end with the question “How can I connect in this mess?”  We can invite someone to help us clean, we can show our love rises above material things with repeated slogans like “When we make a mess, we just clean it up!” without anger or resentment.

When you have a personal mess, include your children in problem solving and helping YOU!  They love to feel needed and appreciated.  This is also a great chance for you to show them how to ask for help and the proper responses when people are both willing and unwilling to do things for us.

It might be different for you, but I know that my life is FULL of mess-portunities.  Around every corner I am totally blessed with many chances to clean, repair, and repent.

Don’t waste the gifts!

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