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Why I Will Not Be Thanking My Socks…..

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Introduction to article about the organization method of Mari Kondo:

two argyle socks on a bright blue background

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Sometimes I am rather slow on keeping up with culture and fashion.  Some of this is on purpose and some of it is on accident.  When everyone first started loving Burlap, I thought it was ugly.  It is sack-cloth.  It is not good quality, it speaks of being poor– not blessings.  I still don’t care much for Burlap.  But I did finally find some neat burlap fabric bags on sale and I knew people would probably like them.

I even cut one apart and framed it.  Cute, isn’t it?!

I have yet to jump on the ribbed sheet metal craze, though.  That one baffles me as much the burlap.  Oh well….

I first heard about the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” several years ago.  A friend was reading it and organizing her house by using the method.  This particular friend was already well-organized.  Her house was already de-cluttered by her own natural habits.  So it did not alarm me that she “found joy” by de-cluttering her house a bit more than she already had.

The other evening I wanted to spend some time with our outside dog by allowing her into the basement.  Because of the six month old dog’s rambunctiousness, I can’t do much with the dog present other than try to watch some TV so I chose the Netflix show “Tidying Up.”

I had heard about the new series from others, and it was right there in the suggested things for me to watch.  I had heard that it was “life-changing” and how people were throwing things out left and right.

The show has Marie Kondo and a translator come into a young family’s cluttered, messy home.  Mrs. Kondo begins her process of showing the family how to sort their things.  The family works from start to finish for about a month, with Mrs. Kondo visiting about once a week, and those are the times that we see on the show.   It is not a dramatic show like Super Nanny was, or even like What Not to Wear, where they throw things out and the people are very upset.  It was practical.

I like practical.  I could use some practical tips in how to better store the things I want to keep.  I have two problem areas I want to tackle in my home; and I know my entire house would be neater if I could have a better organized master closet and craft area.

But in my post today I want to tell you why I will not use the KonMari method of organizing things, and I probably will not watch any more of her shows (although I may, to see if there are any practical tips that I could use.)

At the beginning of the process, Mrs. Kondo had the family and herself pray over the house.  Mrs. Kondo found a spot on the living room floor that “felt right” to her.  She kneeled, closed her eyes, and prayed.  They prayed together, silently, and “thanked the house for protecting them.”  Mrs. Kondo made some sort of motion over the carpet with both of her hands during the prayer.

Now you may not think much of that, or you may think it was quaint or cute, or that it wasn’t even really a prayer, but it was a prayer.  She held her hands in the praying position, palms together.  It was not cute or quaint: it was the worship of a thing, an inanimate object.  They were praying to the house as if the house could hear them– they were making the house an idol constructed of stone or wood.

It does not end there.  As they began to sort through the clothes and decide which ones to throw away, Mrs. Kondo instructed that the clothes that were to be thrown away needed to be “thanked.”  Again, it was talking to an inanimate object as if it could hear, or had feelings.

Speaking of feelings, the “spark of joy” that Mrs. Kondo wants you to feel has me suspicious, and rightly so (be sure to read the More Information links at the end of this article).  To her, the “spark of joy” is a spiritual thing.  And she wants you to have that same spiritual experience, except she calls it a “spark of joy.”  It is true, joy is a fruit of the spirit– but it comes from peace in your heart through faith in Christ– joy does NOT come from holding a physical object.  Sure, things can make you happy or sad based on your memories associated with those things– but just because a necklace from your grandmother makes you sad because you miss her, does not mean that you should get rid of that necklace because it does not bring you a spark of joy.

To carry that further– many people with special needs children must use medicines and equipment for their children that may not bring them joy.  It may frustrate them to have to use braces, wheelchairs, and other necessary things….(I’m not sure how Mrs. Kondo addresses those types of things.)

As a normally emotionally stable person without drastic highs and lows, it is hard for me to get excited over things…. not to say that I don’t get excited, because I do– for example, if I find a great sale!  Also, as a practical person, it is hard for me to get excited over many things that are just practical to life.  I’m not going to have joy over most of my kitchen ware– it is just essential to life.  Should I pitch it all out and buy matching sets that I truly love?  I don’t think so.

(So I’m sorry to break it to you, but you do need to keep your bills, the diapers, and the vacuum cleaner– even though they may not bring you joy….)

To judge by the reaction of people, they have not picked up on these things.  I hope that I have helped someone by pointing these things out.  It is extremely dangerous to base your joy in something by how it makes you feel.  Sometimes my children don’t make me feel very good– every day, in fact.  Yet I still have joy in my children, and I will still love and continue to teach them no matter how many times they fail, or how bad they make me feel.

It is foolish to decide if you like something by how it feels holding it in your hands.  Feelings change from day to day.   Needs can change from day to day, based on the weather, seasons of life, and circumstances.

Be careful.  If you or someone you know subscribes to the KonMari method fully, you are in fact worshiping things, under the disguise of getting rid of things.  You think are de-cluttering your house by making things not such an important part of your life, but in actuality you are elevating the things you kept to the status of a god by praying to them, thanking them, and feeling joy because of them. Please, be careful.

Now you know why I will not be thanking my socks.  You will find me, however, thanking the God who gave me those soft, comfortable socks. I will thank Him for giving me the ability to wash those socks, to wear them, and to share them upon occasion.   I will thank Him for the joyful times He brings into my life, and I will thank Him for the hard times He brings into my life.

You will also find me endeavoring to have an organized house.  But to be honest, real life just does not allow me to have a completely organized home at this season in my life.   You can see where I posted a picture of my real life kitchen HERE.  Guess what– there’s even a picture in that post that is sideways, and no matter what I do, I can’t get it turned around… sigh.

  • Be thankful — to God, not things.
  • Be joyful — with whatever circumstances or possessions God has blessed you.
  • Be organized — the best you know how, with the resources God has given to you.

For additional information on this topic, Click Here.  Also, there is another three part series that Begins Here with more information.

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  1. I’ve never watched the show as I tend to be one of those organized/ de-cluttering kind of people by nature but just what I’ve heard I did think it was a bit odd. I know there are many things I keep that do not bring me joy but I did finally give myself permission to get rid of things I was only holding onto because I felt guilty of getting rid of something that another friend or family member had picked out/ bought/ or gifted us.

  2. Wow! I can not believe that people fall into this! Thank you so much for sharing your views on this method! And I am in complete agreement with you! I also love your messy kitchen pic!! I have one of those on my blog as well! lol.

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!



  3. I thought her talking to her clothes was odd but her methods work and I’ve used them for several years. (I don’t feel a spark of joy about my socks but I need them) I read the book and parts were very strange, even her Japanese clients think they’re odd. But I took the parts that were practical (folding) and ignored the rest. She’s also addressed things like medicines, bills, etc in her book as practicalities. Her clients are mostly people with people with dozens of trash bags filled with worthless things that need to be tossed.

  4. An alternate title for this post: “White Woman is Outraged That Japanese Woman Has Different Cultural Beliefs”

    As a Christian woman myself I cannot stand when I see posts like this. Your intolerant views are the reason that so many people look down on us. The term “Christian” is now associated with judgement and close-mindedness due to people like YOU. If Marie Kondo has helped and inspired literally THOUSANDS of people then why should you care? If her methods don’t speak to you then don’t watch it. Why do you feel it necessary to broadcast your close-minded opinions?

    1. Hi Christina,
      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to your comments and questions.
      When I shared my opinion about Mrs. Kondo’s organizing methods, my purpose was to attempt to show to others (who may not have realized) that her methods have an underlying spiritual meaning. As a Christian, I do disagree with worshiping objects instead of the Creator. I stated my views without anger (outrage), without calling names, and without degrading Mrs. Kondo’s intellectual abilities. I think that people have the right to choose what they believe– and how can they choose wisely if they do not have all of the information available? I wanted to show more information to those who could benefit from it.
      I do not deny Mrs. Kondo’s right to believe and act as she chooses. For me to be tolerant of those with other views, does not mean that I must be silent about my own views. Just because I disagree, does not mean that I am intolerant.
      Is my opinion close-minded simply because it is a different opinion? Am I not allowed to share my opinion simply because I come from a different cultural background?
      I must share the truth as I perceive it, in the kindest way possible. I have tried to do that.

  5. Liberty – I am so glad you stopped by and linked up your post with Grace & Truth Link-Up. I am embarrassed to say, I loved the book but didn’t read much into the show. Maybe I should have? I completely agree with what you said :

    “Be thankful — to God, not things.”
    “Be joyful — with whatever circumstances or possessions God has blessed you.”
    “Be organized — the best you know how, with the resources God has given to you.”

    I watched a little bit of the show and did find the prayer a little strange but I have to admit I have gotten rid of quite a few things. The folding looks interesting too. I do believe Joy comes from God.

  6. Liberty, thanks for stopping by the #LMMLinkup. Any book-related topics are welcome. This post discusses a book so it would be great for our linkup. We also welcome devotions, and anything related to learning, literacy, and reading I think how tos would apply too. I hope you will consider joining us with posts that fit these categories.

    I watched this woman’s show on Netflix recently. It did concern me that she was praying to the house. I decided her techniques are good but I will keep the spiritual out of it and stick with worshiping God and not things.

  7. I so agree with what you said, Liberty. I enjoyed both of her books, but not the Thanking part. I did a lot of her suggestions, but of course was put off by her worshipping of things – you put into words very well what I was feeling and couldn’t yet express. Thank you! I also very much agree with what Jeanie above says. It’s exactly how I feel about it! Thanks!

  8. OMG, that is funny. I have not said good bye but instead hello to the money I have been making selling my stuff. Happy Weekend, Kippi #kippiathome

    1. Somehow I never have much success trying to have a yard sale of my things…. I guess by the time I don’t want it– nobody wants it! : ) But I’m glad you’re making money– so you can buy more stuff (haha!)

  9. Wow!! Love the review. I have never watched the show. As a Christian first and an organization enthusiast second, I have purged a lot of spaces but my prayer is always to God, not the space. I think I will pass on the show and stick with worshiping God and organizing spaces. I so enjoy your page Liberty and co-hosting with you at #OMHGWW. TFS

  10. I clicked over to this post from the Talk of the Town linkup because I have been trying to read this book for about two weeks now. And I’m struggling. I just talked to my sister about it this morning and she says the same thing. Good to know I am not the only one not completley jumping on this bandwagon. Will I be decluttering this winter – yes – but like you I won’t be thanking my socks during that time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  11. You nailed it on any number of levels. I don’t need to thank my socks. I will not tear pages of out of a book I love as a memory of the book and dump the book. I will keep the book. MANY books. MANY MANY books because I do. I will keep the sentimental things, even if they are jewelry I won’t wear but it was mom’s or grandma’s; the old drawings and papers of my youth and the youth of others. Someday someone will pitch them. It won’t be me. It’s a good way to get family to do something productive after you die and while they’re at it have a few good laughs and tears at your expense. I will find a productive way to let go of the art supplies and craft things I no longer use. I will donate unless ugly or damaged beyond repair or anyone’s desire to own. There is much that doesn’t spark joy per se, but it serves a purpose.

    No, I won’t be thanking my socks, either. I will, however, fold things her way — that part actually works!

    1. You said everything very well! : ) Thank you for your sensible words! Yes, after a generation or two passes– nobody remembers what was special to the people before us. But enjoy those things while you can!

  12. Happened across your blog and bravo for your comments! I actually haven’t watched the show but I am really sort of tired of everyone and his bother talking about it on their blogs. I reminds me of Christmas time and every blog I click on has a Decorate Your Mantle post. Concerning the thanking inanimate objects and that show…reminds me of what my dear old Pastor used to say. If someone went out in the middle of the street and started pushing a peanut up the road with their nose, pretty soon there would be a following.

    1. Oh my! At least there would be someone with a camera following the peanut-pusher… what a mind picture that gives, right?! Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  13. Interesting! I have not seen the shows as I hardly get my own TV time. But that doesn’t bother me. While I am trying to get rid of stuff, my husband has a harder time of letting things go…I think he’s a little bit of a hoarder as he has many more articles of clothing than I do…and he only wears a handful of them!

    I agree, thanking inanimate objects such as a home is not cool. That’s just flat out dumb in my opinion because the house is not alive! She should be thanking her veggies then before she eats them as technically those can be seen as alive because they grow and become something. She can thank her plate of chicken or steak too because those used to be animals that were alive and without them, she’d not be enjoying filet mignon or chicken cordon bleu.

    Ok enough of that nonsense. I will not be watching the shows because I actually DO look and notice stupid things like that and it’s such a turn off to me. I even have a hard time enjoying movies at times because they’re full of nonsense too.

  14. Hi Liberty,
    Your perspective is very interesting. I certainly did not interpret her thanking the house as prayer but rather a custom that comes from her culture and background.
    One of my personal sayings for as long as I can remember (though I did not create the quote) is to surround yourself with things you love.
    It is always nice to come home to a space that makes you feel relaxed and that you enjoy being in.
    I am certainly grateful for all the things that I have but sometimes too many things with not enough space to store it all creates stress and you have to find ways to pare down your excess belongings. Part of that process is deciding what to keep and what to let go.
    Of course, you must keep your necessities – and your kids 😉 – but I think that the idea is to apply this type of process to clear out things that we have too much of – not the stuff that we need, whether we like it or not.
    Many of us use this process to different degrees without even realizing it every day. If we have two similar items but only need one – we will choose to keep the one we like better and give the other one away or toss it if it is of no use.
    It is funny that we both wrote about this show this week – thanks for stopping by and commenting on my site!

    1. Hi Neena!
      I agree that too much stuff is not a good thing. I think if you will dig a little deeper (maybe even the links at the end of my post) you will see that it is more than a custom to her– it is a religion. True, her religion is probably inseparable from her cultural customs and background… they are heavily interwoven. I’m not against organizing– I’m simply saying “Be Careful” about entirely embracing her methods, for those who are open to my perspective.
      Thank you also for coming over and sharing!

  15. I was feeling pressure to watch that show, after reading about it on so many blogs. Thank you for releasing me! I definitely want to avoid methods that worship false idols instead of the one true God. Just dropping in to check out your #OMHGWW blog hop, when I saw this post.

  16. Hello, I just watched a few episodes of the show too and I thought it was interesting. As I have a tendency towards hoarding from a fear of running out of things..tuna, black t-shirts you name it…I thought that the action of emptying every single item of clothing on a bed would actually help some to realize that fear of running out of clothes is no longer a concern. Let it go because you clearly have loads of clothes. Asking yourself if it makes you happy or adds to your life is a mindful way of checking in with each item. It could be quite helpful to realize how much of our stuff is just there…but not adding to our lives.
    I too felt the prayer was a bit wonky. If I was going to pray before taking on this task, I would ask for help reaching my goal of tidying up and for contentment with just what I need. I can see the benefit to increase in gratitude for what we have and slowing down to appreciate it and the people instead of holding onto the stuff.

  17. Hi, it’s been so interesting to read your perspective. (you left your link for me in the comments over at Handmade Monday, thank you)
    I enjoyed the Tidying up program and thought Marie was much kinder and more respectful than some other tidieruppers that I’ve seen on tv. What I did notice was that she asked permission from the families if she could thank the house and they were asked to joined in only if they wanted to. Personally I’m ok with people having different beliefs as long as they don’t pressure other’s into joining in with them.
    What you say about objects not having feelings seems spot on to me, I’ve not been thanking my socks either, but the good news is my drawers are super tidy! I’m not sure I’ll take this much further, I don’t have too much ‘stuff’ apart from my craft stash and I’m definitely not getting rid of that, it brings me lots of joy!
    For me the programme has some helpful advice which I’m taking on board, but I can see it’s not for everyone.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Julie. Yes, I have the feeling that Mrs. Kondo is not a crafter… and yes she is very polite, as many Japanese are. And yes, her organizing tips are helpful; I just felt the need to point out the other things that I saw. Thanks again for visiting me here.

  18. I have watched four episodes of her show. I thought it was strange when she thanked the house for protecting the family but I chalked it up to something that Japanese people believe. I thought she was meditating rather than praying when her hands were in a prayer position. I’m with you, I would prefer to thank God for providing me with a house and his protection.

    I am way too lazy to follow her methods, but I can see how they work for others. I had hoped to get some good organizing tips from the show but so far I have not. I enjoy watching it, so I’ll probably watch more. I do enjoy seeing how happy all of the families have been after they have organized their homes.

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