Monday 9 December, 2019

Struggling to keep your home tidy with kids? Marie Kondo does too

Marie Kondo with her kids.

Marie Kondo with her kids.

Organising guru Marie Kondo has built a reputation and career off of telling us how to be tidy.

From packing items in a space-efficient way to cherishing items that spark joy, she has made many of us take a look at our lives and we have found it wanting.

Especially those of us who are parents.

Keeping your house tidy when you have kids is near impossible.

I have tried to fold my five-year-old’s clothes in a neat manner a la Marie Kondo only to return hours later to see the clothes scattered on the floor after his 10th rummage through to change into a ninja/iron man or whatever character he fancied.

It turns out that Kondo herself isn’t immune to the challenges of keeping a neat home with kids.

“When I first became a mother, I felt frustrated when I couldn’t tidy my home exactly the way I wanted. Then, after having my second child, I didn’t even have the energy to consider some of my former practices around the house!” the mother of two wrote on her blog KonMari.

“Motherhood taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy that comes from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a perfectly neat home."

Kondo wrote a new book to help kids learn the joy of being tidy.

Kiki and Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship is the story of Kiki, a clutter-loving squirrel, and her friend Jax, a neat owl.

The story begins with Kiki, who loves collecting items from stuffed animal friends for her bed to pine cones stashed under it.

When Kiki's collection grows so big and so messy that she can't find any of the toys she wants to play with, Jax comes to the rescue. He helps her tidy using the KonMari method which encourages tidying by category, beginning with clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items.

With the KonMari method, you keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy after thanking them for their service.

Kondo has four tips on her blog to help kids learn how to tidy up: teach them that everything has a home, narrate as you tidy up, make tidying playful and realise spatial limitations.

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