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Why Marie Kondo's Folding Method Doesn't Work With Kids

You Know What Sparks Joy in Me? Not Doing Marie Kondo's Folding Method

I'm currently watching Marie Kondo's show on Netflix, Tidying Up, and I'm just as obsessed as everyone else. So many of the organizational guru's ideas to declutter your life are inspirational. I mean, who isn't prompted to clean out a few drawers after watching just five minutes of an episode? I also adore the idea that you shouldn't have anything in your life that doesn't spark joy (something that was hard but necessary to apply to my old, low-rise jeans).

Does anyone actually have time to fold clothes so flawlessly every time they do the laundry? Anyone?
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But as much as I love Kondo and think she's the cutest, most positive, and most aspirational person ever, that laundry folding method she demonstrates on the show goes in the pile of stuff that doesn't serve me, right along with a half-broken apple slicer and an ill-fitting old bra. As I watched Kondo meticulously fold shirts and pants along imaginary lines only she can see, then arrange each item in a perfect little stack, I couldn't help but laugh. With four kids, I'm lucky to get through a load of laundry a day, let alone fold every article of clothing like it's going on display at The Gap.

Watching Kondo, who is a mother of two herself, fold everything into perfect little rectangles brought on copious amounts of stress . . . all while a daunting pile of laundry sat beside me and four kids yelled for my attention. I immediately felt like the expectation to KonMari my family's clothes — which is what Kondo's method of tidying is called — placed way too much pressure on me and parents in general. I mean, we already deal with too much! Sure, it's awesome to open a drawer and be able to see everything that's in there, but does anyone actually have time to fold clothes so flawlessly every time they do the laundry? Anyone? If I had that kind of time, it wouldn't have taken me three days to get through just one episode of Tidying Up. And if I did manage to fold everything just once, will those clothes stay like that after one morning dash to get out the door and get to school on time? Definitely not in my house.

As much as I would love to, I can't and won't make my family's dresser drawers photo-worthy every day. If I expect this of myself, I'll feel like I'm failing when it doesn't happen. And trust me, I already feel like I'm failing most of the time. Grocery shopping — because I've fixed microwave pizza for dinner three night in a row — has to trump rectangular clothing mastery. And my kids finishing their homework — because I've asked them numerous times to please get it done — takes precedence over me teaching them how to KonMari their unicorn pajamas.

So, Marie, while I love you and your wonderful ideas, I have to say that that's all they're going to be for me — ideas. At least right now. I've learned that one of the most satisfying feelings in my house is getting my kids to just put their clothes in their drawers after I've washed them. And if I want to see everything that's in my baby's drawer, I'll stick to just rummaging through it until I find what I'm looking for. It may not spark joy, but it's definitely less stressful than folding everything perfectly every time, and that's good enough for me.

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