Economics and Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method

Famed Japanese home organization consultant Marie Kondo has inspired millions around the world to focus on optimizing their home environment. Although the thought of organizing and “de-cluttering” is a source of dread for many, Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has performed tremendously from Tokyo to New York City. What is it about a book on home organizing that appeals to so many?

Kondo helps readers conceptualize their home organization and storage habits by utilizing basic economic concepts. Through these concepts, the author translates the oftentimes daunting language of organizing to everyday, palatable lingo. She effectively guides the reader along the path of uncovering the very psychological correlations between organizational habits and psychology.

The Sunk-Cost Fallacy in Organizing

In economic terms, a sunk cost is a past cost that has already been paid and cannot be recovered. This term is highly applicable when it comes to organizing and is a major setback for many individuals who struggle to donate or discard unused items. For example, an individual may purchase a fruit bowl or even a small kitchen appliance while it is on sale and later decide not to use the item because the colors clash with the current decorating theme or because there is simply not enough space on the kitchen counter. Over time, the new purchase remains unused, and the individual may or may not realize the item is not really a necessity. However, the item remains in place because it is perpetually regarded as a “purchase” that went unused and may still be of use at a later date. Meanwhile, the item takes up space in the home and will likely never be used because it does not meet a more urgent need in the household.

When sorting through closet and storage spaces, remaining honest about an item’s realistic potential for use is paramount. While I, personally, do not aggressively focus on forcing clients to discard items simply for the sake of getting rid of things, I do encourage my clients to audibly talk through the way in which the item came into the home and list realistic pros and cons of keeping the item. At that point, the individual is typically able to make a firm, practical decision about whether the item should go or stay.

The Folly of Prediction in Sorting and Purging

More thoroughly explained in the Freakonomics podcast, the folly of prediction simply acknowledges that, in the grand scheme, human beings are often terrible at making accurate predictions. How does this relate to organizing? Marie Kondo uses this fallacy as a basis for utilizing current valuation of an object to determine whether to keep or remove it from the household. Common examples include clothes that are a few sizes too small or books that have already been read. At this point, my method diverges from the KonMari method slightly in that I typically do not insist on a client getting rid of clothing that is within a couple sizes of his or her current weight or donating favorite books if a) there is space to store the items within easy reach OR neatly within plain sight and b) the client establishes or is clearly working on an organized plan to get back into the smaller clothing size or reread the book. Other examples include housewares and decorations that were purchased for a specific purpose and will likely never be used again. Board games and toys that never see the light of day should also be considered through this lens in most cases.

Status Quo Bias and Preventing the Accumulation of “Clutter”

Under the status quo bias, as it relates to organizing, many people are governed by the belief that they should keep an item in the home if they cannot think of a reason to discard the object. Here Marie Kondo employs a dramatic switch that I find to be the most life-changing of all the economic concepts discussed: she suggests changing the status quo to one under which no item is kept in the home unless there is a valid reason to hold onto it. Under the suggested status quo, most of us would be opting for online bank, credit card, and utility statements, recycling empty bags and boxes, no longer keeping massive collections of old, unused plastic food storage containers. The average American household would be drastically different in form and, to a significant degree, in function. We would no longer need to go out and purchase new stuff to help us store our old stuff.

What would we do with all that extra space? Imagine how much more “living” we could do in our home environments…

For more information about the interplay between the KonMari method and economics, check out this  Atlantic editor’s personal experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set Yourself Up for Success

It’s October. The leaves are crisp. The weather is soggy (here in New York). Pumpkin Spice Lattes are flowing freely. These are a few of our favorite things, right?

In addition to fall boots, sweaters, cool nights by the fire pit, and pumpkin-flavored everything, there is another gigantic advantage to the fall season we often overlook: we have just entered the quiet before the holiday frenzy. Therefore, this moment of relative quiet is  the perfect time to sit down and make clear, sober plans to set ourselves up for a prosperous New Year. It is an opportune time to position ourselves to make New Year’s resolutions we will actually keep.

What does this mean for our lives in general? Assess, assess, assess. If you struggle with your weight or bad health habits, sit down and think about how you can do things differently. Visit the doctor. Have your levels checked. Is your cholesterol a little high? Let’s make a plan now to anticipate cutting down on saturated fats and high cholesterol foods in the New Year (…right after we enjoy the rich, holiday foods). Start looking into gyms. Think about an athletic activity you enjoy or a fitness class you’d like to take. Do some research…Is money management your thing? Think about what a realistic budget for your household might entail in 2017.  Social anxiety got you down? Let’s start thinking about healthy ways we can meet people in the upcoming year. What hasn’t worked well for us in 2016? Anticipate. Plan. Begin the mental prep work now.

And finally…what does this mean in terms of getting organized? If you’re already my client, now is the perfect time to schedule a “check-up” to see how well your current strategies have been working. If you’re not my client, let’s get acquainted. Visit our Contact page, and schedule an appointment with me to talk about how we can make your home or work space feel more comfortable and run more smoothly. Once we embark on the journey of exploring the connection between your environment, your sense of well-being, and your overall productivity, I guarantee your outlook on the concept of “space” will never be the same. Let’s talk organization, and let’s get empowered!

Happy October!

ANNOUNCING: All-Inclusive Relocation Service

Rolanda, L. is pleased to offer a new service to clients who are planning an upcoming move! For a flat rate, you can count on us to handle every aspect of the moving process, from procuring supplies to packing and coordinating transportation from your existing home to your new location. In addition to getting your valuables from Point A to Point B, we will even unpack, set up, and organize your belongings in your new home!

Leaving the legwork to us means less time away from your career, loved ones, and leisure activities! Contact us to learn more about the “Executive Move,” our new service offering that will help ensure that your next move is the best move.

Hiring a Professional to Pack for Your Move

While most households instinctively call a moving company to transport their furniture, clothing, and housewares during relocation, many people are unaware of the time, expense, and stress they may be able to save by hiring a professional to pack their belongings prior to the move. Rolanda L. offers specialized packing before moving and unpacking upon arrival at the new location.

How a Packing Session Works

Planning ahead greatly enhances the likelihood of achieving a smooth, low-stress move. Generally, my first step is to take a look at the client’s home and the items that will need to be packed. If requested, I provide guidance and recommendations for packing supplies and moving box sizes and quantities in advance of the actual packing session. After assessing the client’s desired timeline and goals, the packing can begin.

Rolanda L. vs. The Moving Company

Several moving companies also offer packing service. While it may be tempting to allow the transportation company to also handle packing, there are a few things clients should consider before making a decision with their dollars. First, moving companies generally specialize in loading, unloading, and transporting boxes and large items. Smaller, more delicate wares will likely require handling with a more delicate touch. This is especially true of high value artwork and heirlooms. When moving a very unique, expensive item, such as a high-end piano, I typically suggest contacting a separate service provider who specializes in securing and moving the particular item in question. In addition to requiring more attention to detail, the task of packing requires organization. Oftentimes, boxes that have been packed by moving companies are mislabeled, or they may contain items that should not necessarily be packed together. However, Rolanda L. is able to strategically pack and label housewares and clothing, not only to minimize damage, but also to make unpacking and getting settled a virtual walk in the park.

Save Time and Energy

Most people have work and family responsibilities. Finding time to pack for an upcoming move may seem virtually impossible. Enlisting the help of a professional can reduce the amount of disruption moving inevitably has on a person’s daily routine. Parents are able to be more attentive to their family’s needs, and busy professionals are better able to keep up with work responsibilities.

To learn more about how Rolanda L. can play a role in easing the stress of your move, send us an email at organiseme123@gmail.com or book your appointment online!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Drawer Dividers

A particular client in Inwood needed an effective storage solution for her foldable items. I was able to accommodate her more casual clothing in two dressers that were located in her bedroom; however, I was concerned that she might not be able to keep the items neatly compartmentalized throughout the course of her busy work week. At that point, I remembered an idea I’d seen on Pinterest, and I repurposed one of her cardboard moving boxes and made drawer dividers. I often recommend drawer organizers to clients for underwear, t-shirt, and sock drawers especially. However, in a pinch, virtually anyone can easily make his or her own custom dividers from rigid cardboard. In this case, I was working quickly and simply placed the dividers temporarily. Gluing the edges of the cardboard together will create compartments of a permanent size.

 

DIYDrawerDividers

Anxiety and Disorganization

Though my clients come from various educational, career, and cultural backgrounds, there are a few common threads I repeatedly observe. One of them is anxiety. Oftentimes, a person who suffers from general anxiety, may find that the struggle is spilling over into his or her perceived ability to maintain an organized environment at home or at work. Many people who struggle with organizing find that they feel overwhelmed the minute they attempt an organizing-related task. Others are able to begin work, but may lose their sense of direction and motivation while in the middle of completing the task. The following steps can help virtually anyone begin, continue, or complete organizing projects that may at first seem endless and cumbersome or downright overwhelming.

  1. Before beginning, think about the project in terms of manageable phases. Set a clearly defined end goal, and establish a realistic timeline. Don’t forget to think about how much time you would specifically like allocate to completing each phase in addition to creating an overall project deadline.
  2. If possible, approach each phase of the task with a clear mindset and adequate rest. Pausing to take periodic five-minute breaks can be extremely helpful. If time management is a concern, setting a timer may be an effective way to appropriately set boundaries between “working time” and “break time.”
  3. No negative self-talk. It’s true that we are oftentimes our worst critic. Instead of focusing on what you are afraid you will not accomplish, acknowledge small victories throughout the process, and look forward to completing each phase and starting a new one.
  4. If panic begins to set in, take a few deep breaths, and actively tell yourself not to panic. Oftentimes, remaining calm is a matter of slowing down, taking a step back, and making a very conscious decision to maintain a positive, peaceful focus.
  5. Take baby steps. Most of my clients begin to see progress when they begin by taking small steps toward “reclaiming” and improving an area of their home or office. I am always amazed at how quickly they become motivated to tackle larger and larger organizing projects, often without my supervision. More importantly, by slowly and deliberately working through the organizing process, they are able to self-identify any habits that may serve as obstacles to maintaining an orderly space, and they are eventually able to modify their behaviors and correct themselves by employing the tools and techniques they learn during our sessions.