This blog post could also be titled “Battle of the methods: Joshua Becker vs Marie Kondo”. This will also be a little different than my previous posts, so hold tight!
If you haven’t read my other posts, what I had been doing was reading books in various forms and writing my thoughts about them. If I had it in paper, digital, and audio…then all the better. This time I want to write about two books/methods. One of them you might even think of as the decluttering bible: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. AKA KonMari. AKA that cute woman who had that massive show that released Jan 1 2019 on Netflix. You know, the one you binged all in that day just like I did.
The other person is one you may not be as familiar with but is no less influential. Joshua Becker has been a minimalist and has been a major mover and shaker in the minimalism scene for years. He has written books, has blog posts, has a website, and even has an online course you can sign up for called Uncluttered. It’s a 12 week course that he puts on 3 times a year. I signed up for it myself. Admittedly I lost momentum pretty quickly, but I have all of the emails and plan to undertake it.
Joshua’s most recent release is a book called The Minimalist Home. In it he goes through a step by step process of how to declutter your life and get down to what’s really important to you.
So does KonMari.
So which method should I/you use?!?!
I thought you’d never ask.
I’ll start by pointing out the major difference between the two methods and then will list Pros and Cons of each below, along with some general thoughts.
The Joshua Becker Method as I’m calling it, or The JBM for short, has you go room by room. If you’ve decluttered before then you are very likely to know this by heart. You’ll pick a room, say your living room, and go through everything. Once done with that room, no matter how long it takes, you move on to the next. One thing I do like that I didn’t do in the past was he made three groups…things to keep, things to get rid of (which you can sub-pile into donate vs sell vs toss), and things to relocate. It’s the last bit that I didn’t consider. If something doesn’t belong on the living room, like that bra you ripped off as soon as you got home yesterday and didn’t put away because you were running late this morning and your cat threw up and you spilled your coffee so you didn’t even see it because of the blinding rage you felt especially after stepping in said cat vomit, then you should put it in the room it belongs in. He asks you to handle each item before you discard. Don’t just look at the thing but actually pick it up and decide “do I need this item in my life? If so, is there a place for it? Do I already have duplicates of this?”
Sounds simple, right?
The KonMari Method is completely different. She has you declutter, or “tidy”, by category. In it you first start with clothes. ALL clothes. Even the coats hanging up in your closet, and the clothes that you forgot are in your car from going to the dry cleaners, and the ones in your gym bag. Oh, and that sock under the nightstand. You go through them all. As you do so, you pick up each item, after all of them have been put into a big pile on the floor of a room, and decide “does this spark joy?” She swears that by the end of her process, if you do it all completely, you will never have to tidy again.
A commonality they share is both start with easy things and progress to hard. Joshua suggests starting in the living room. By the end you’ll tackle the home office, with its endless amounts of paperwork and electrical cords, and garage. KonMari has you start with clothes and end with sentimental items, like photographs and letters your mom had written to you before she died.
I know, I feel it to. Both of them are brutal. By following their methods you will flex your muscles in each category and be able to make decisions quicker and with more ease so that by the end, you won’t be crippled by running across an old Christmas card from your grandfather.
The Joshua Becker Method
- Systematic and logical, intuitive
- A method you had probably used before reading his book so you feel familiar with it
- Once you finish the first room you can get a sense of what it will feel like to have a clean, organized, minimal space that you love, which means you can get momentum and imagine the rest of your home, and life, this way
- He has an online course with live video discussions that you can take as many times as you need once you purchase it. If you need something with more accountability and interaction, check this out.
- By tackling it one room at a time, you can get burnt out, especially if you have a lot of rooms to go through
- He does not urge you to rush this so this could take a very long time to complete
- In his book he does not list every room that you may have, so you’ll have to decide where they fit in his order of operations. If you have a basement, he doesn’t tell you when to tackle that.
- He is less structured than the KonMari method and does not help much if you’re wondering how to store certain items. He lets you decide, which can lead to…
- Decision fatigue
The KonMari Method
- Systematic and logical
- I mean come on, you saw the show, you know how this works. If you haven’t, then go watch it now and thank me later. The woman is a national treasure.
- By going by categories you start to learn what items you really love, and you may even get to learn more about yourself
- She tells you to do this as quickly and completely as possible. In theory, if you were ruthless with your decisions, this could be done in a week or even a weekend
- She goes into far more detail. She even has a second book with more illustrations on how to arrange items and fold clothes.
- You won’t necessarily notice huge changes from the start. Sure your closet may be more manageable but the rest of your bedroom may still resemble a war zone
- She will make you get rid of books…gasp!
- To be fair, Becker does too, but KM thinks that usually 30 books is the most anyone needs
- Decision fatigue
So when it comes down to it, which method will work best for you? Well, that depends on which one you think will give you more motivation. Once you’re done with the bedroom, you may tackle your hall closet and then come face to face with MORE clothes. Would you rather do room by room, or get all of the clothes over and done with and never have to do that category again?
The choice, my friend, is yours.
The question you should really ask yourself is this:
“Which method am I more likely to actually complete?”
If you think you’ll start Josh’s method but not complete it then maybe KonMari is the way for you, and vice versa. This requires honesty and self-reflection on your part. Just consider that your first step in figuring out just who you are and then you are on your way.