Tidy Marie Kondo doesn’t spark joy for me … but thought of being better organized makes me a tad euphoric

For me, Marie Kondo does not “spark joy.”

The professional organizer’s cute, tiny face keeps popping up on my Facebook feed this month, no doubt due to her new Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

First, she was getting mentions from members of Lubbock’s Trading Up resale group who were inspired by Kondo to post massive cleanouts of clothing and decor. (It’s called “Marie Kondoing.” Yes, she’s a verb. Life goals, people.)

Yes, she’s a verb. Life goals, people.

Then it was memes, some of which made fun of her famous litmus test for going through items, found in her book,  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” She writes:

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”

OK, Marie. You want to know what items I have that do not spark joy?

OK, Marie. You want to know what items I have that do not spark joy? The vaccum. The washer. The dryer. The oven.

The vacuum. The washer. The dryer. The oven.


No, the idea of becoming more organized and minimal has never sparked joy in this naturally untidy gal. But all this did spark another thing: curiosity. So I took a little time to visit with Minimize then Organize owner Cabri Carpenter, here in Lubbock.  She said she’s one of a handful of professional organizers in the area and part of Kondo’s appeal may be the exposure Kondo is giving the industry as a whole.

“That’s really the first publicity that professional organizers have had,” Cabri said.

People are beginning to see that being organized and hiring someone to assist them in this, can be a form of self-care, she said.

“It helps them save time, it helps them save money, it helps them save their sanity.”

Cabri, a Frenship High School graduate, started her business after “minimizing then organizing” her own belongings after moving into an RV. She now has a growing business with two full-time employees and job that allows her to help others.

“It is life-changing,” she said, “and I don’t think people realize that.”

But, as a lifelong reluctant organizer, I had to ask her … doesn’t organization add to an already-impossible list of things to do?

“Organization should help reduce your list,” she said, “to where you’re not having to do as much.”

More routines and less stuff can mean extra time in your day, she said.

“That five minutes, that can be like gold if you find it,” she said.

She had me at five minutes.

She had me at five minutes.

So, while I’m still a little wary of Marie Kondo,  I am excited about implementing some of the following organizational tips Cabri shared with me.

  • Get away from the area you are organizing.  

Cleaning out your closet? Go somewhere else. Physically being away can help you be more subjective about your stuff.

“We have sentiment connected to it, and we have emotions connected to it,” Cabri said.

While you’re away from the problem area, Cabri recommends making a list (an example can be found on her website, minimizethenorganize.com) of what you really need … in this case, how many pairs of jeans, blouses, etc. Then, you can return to the closet with a better mindset and work to make your actual possessions match your new list.

Make a command center.

  • Make a command center.

Cabri said families especially need an area of the home that keeps everyone on the same page. She recommends setting up a family calendar and keeping bills in this area.

  • Clip art can help small children learn household routines.

Use picture labels to help children understand where things go, or make them a “to-do” list with graphics to establish daily chores.

  • Don’t do the laundry … every day

Cabri said she recommends relegating laundry to two days a week, so it can be prioritized on those days. This cuts down on problems like wet loads left overnight, or loads done for one or two items.

  • One in, one out

When you buy a new item, such as a shirt, give or throw away an old one.

If nothing else, you can keep the problem from growing with this simple strategy: When you buy a new item, such as a shirt, give or throw away an old one.

  • Just get started.

If you don’t have time for a big overhaul right now, pick an area and work on it 15 minutes a day. Once it’s under control, use some of that daily 15 minutes to maintain that area, then start work on another.

Cabri said she’s found if you make small changes, it is much easier to stick to them in the long run. And at the end, she said, it’s like a weight is lifted.

“That’s the word that comes to mind,” she said, “is it is freeing.”

Maybe these girls are on to something. Perhaps a little more organization could lead to more joy in my home … and less work keeping up with things.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check Trading Up to see what you’re Marie Kondoing that I want to buy.

If you go:

Cabri Carpenter will host an organizing workshop, “Let’s Get Junkin’ Organized,” at Wild West Vintage Decor on Jan. 31.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., event starts at 6 p.m. at the store, 8116 W. 19th Street in Lubbock.

For more information about the workshop, visit facebook.com/WildWestVintage. For more information about Minimize then Organize, call (806) 590-0771 or visit minimizethenorganize.com.