Who knew watching someone fold clothes could be so mesmerizing?
I sat with a packed audience at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on a Friday night as Marie Kondo folded oddly-shaped clothing carefully and slowly.
She’s the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Her newest book and the reason for this gathering is called, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.”
Watching her fold never got old. (I didn’t mean to rhyme there but I was just feeling that sentence and it’s true.) The whole room was in a collective trance — Marie had our full attention.
She folded up one side of a shirt and then the other and created a small origami-esque package again and again.
Everyone was fixated on the tiny woman, who was wearing a white top and skirt with black tights, work her magic.
It was like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
A real craftsman at work.
Haha ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it was super exciting to see her in action!
Marie instructed us to put love into your palms as you fold your clothes and show them appreciation. Thank them for the work that they do for you.
She was like a delicate snowflake floating on the stage — even cracking jokes in the little English that she speaks.
She quipped, “I’m a crazy tidying fanatic,” at one point, which made the room break out into laughter. She seemed pleased to be amongst “her people.”
I was totally in my organizational nerd element too — surrounded by other worshipers of the church of Marie Kondo. The auditorium was filled with professional organizers, efficiency gurus and tidying aficionados.
During her 20-minute presentation, Marie talked, through a translator, about before and after photos of her clients’ homes. It was the usual before and afters you would have expected. Really messy and then pristine and perfect.
In another charming moment, Marie showed a photo of a dresser drawer with perfectly folded clothes, using her method. She said, “Don’t they look adorable?”
Yes, Marie. They do. 100 percent.
What really captivated the crowd was when Marie, in her tiny voice, said in English, “Does it spark joy?” while holding a t-shirt.
Everyone clapped and cheered. You would have thought Oprah brought back her “Favorite Things” show and we were all recipients.
The entire premise behind Marie’s method is that you must hold in your hands every single item that you own and ask yourself that question. I did it after reading her first book and can’t tell you what an amazing impact it’s had on all aspects of my life. It really makes you think about what you allow into your space.
She even did a demonstration of what you should feel if your possession does indeed “spark joy.”
She hugged a shirt on stage and then when into a swoon, even lifting one foot into the air like cupid. She smiled and said, “you might think I’m crazy for this demonstration but your body will tell you if it feels joy.”
There were a few questions from the audience via index cards we were asked to fill out. My question wasn’t asked. It was a personal one. I wanted to know how she managed clutter now that she’s a new mother and babies come with so many accessories.
Infact, no personal questions were asked or answered at the event.
She admitted that some of her tactics like thanking your clothing or showing appreciation to them is much more of a Japanese way of thinking than American or European. But that clients all over the world do it.
I’m included. I’ve found myself leaving my closet door open to give my clothes some needed fresh air or light while I’m at work.
After the presentation and Q&A — we got to meet Marie and have our books signed!
I was with my friend Terri Trespicio, who you all must know by now from our hilarious online video or her TEDx talk, and Sandra Schustack from National Association of Professional Organizers – NY. We were so excited!
Strangely we were told there could be no posing with Marie. But of course, I can’t take a photo without posing so I did it anyway – without really even trying. I just couldn’t help myself.
She was sweet and smiley and quiet. I told her that her booked sparked joy. She said thank you and I was on my way.
One last piece of advice she left us with is to revisit your space and your belongings once a year. Because what sparks joy for you now might change in the future.
Agreed — but I know I’ll be hanging onto her book for some time to make sure my folding technique is just right.
If you love Marie Kondo as much as me, you’ll be happy to know she has an app coming out in Spring 2016! Sign up for updates on her website.