Konmari or Hygge?

In the past few years, we've seen a dramatic increase in followers of the Konmari method. As you likely know, Marie Kondo penned "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up," the best-selling book that outlines her method of tidying and organizing. The title alone implies that something magical will happen when you get your life in order, and with that assumption I completely agree. (As a Professional Organizer, I have to agree, right?!) Last month, Netflix released the first season of a new series called “Tidying Up,” featuring the adorable Marie and her team as they encourage their clients and viewers alike to rid their homes of everything that doesn’t spark joy.

Let me preface this by saying that I do find tremendous value in the Konmari method, and Marie’s book was an inspiring read. My key takeaways?

  • Decluttering is an essential part of organization

  • You do not need to buy expensive organizing systems to create systems of order. Repurpose shoe boxes, baskets, or anything else you can find around your home!

  • Don’t store your clutter somewhere else and consider it gone (your parent's home, a storage unit, etc.)

  • Have gratitude for the things you own, and fill your home with things that bring you joy. 

I lost interest, however, at the mention of putting bookcases in closets so that everything is nicely hidden away. WAIT, WHAT? I can't even have my books on display?! If being a hoarder is the far left of the organizational spectrum, then Konmari feels like the minimalist far right. I don't want to live in a stark white box. I want to live in a perfectly composed HOME. You know, like the kind real people live in? As for the show, I’ve been asked by nearly everyone, “So, have you heard of this new Marie Kondo show? What do you think about it?” To which I always answer: If the show inspires people to deal with their clutter, that is a wonderful outcome. I do wish that the show focused more on the impact that physical clutter has on your emotional well-being. I believe that Marie and her team have a fundamental understanding of this, but it seems to have been lost in the editing of the actual TV show. And it is the change of your state of being, your new peace of mind, that is the most impactful and inspiring part of getting organized…that’s why we do what we do as professional organizers!

If being a hoarder is the far left of the organizational spectrum, then Konmari feels like the minimalist far right.

This is where hygge comes in. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish word for "cozy," although the word implies much more to the Danes. Hygge is a way of living. It is filling your life with comfort, happiness, warmth, love, friendship, and really good lighting. That feeling when you've finished skiing, walk into a gorgeous mountainside lodge, and sip a hot toddy by a roaring fire - that's hygge! And that is exactly how I want to feel when I walk into my home. Soft blankets, lovely candles, a neat stack of books, a photo from our last vacation - I want these things out where I can see them! How can they spark joy if they're tucked neatly away in a closet? 


Minimalist-inspired Interiors

the clean lines of minimalism can be beautiful

the clean lines of minimalism can be beautiful

a sparse space sometimes feels more corporate than cozy

a sparse space sometimes feels more corporate than cozy


Hygge-inspired Interiors

flowers, a candle, & a cup of tea - so cozy!

flowers, a candle, & a cup of tea - so cozy!

An inviting breakfast nook has all the elements of hygge. Photo: Christine McCall

An inviting breakfast nook has all the elements of hygge. Photo: Christine McCall


And the winner is? Both! My idea of a perfectly composed life starts with the fundamentals learned from the Konmari method - declutter, simplify, create order, express gratitude, spark joy - all of which make room for your home to become truly hyggeligt. While we devote time to eliminating all the items in our homes that no longer serve us, we should place equal importance on highlighting those items that makes our homes so special - the cozy blanket your mother knit, the finger-painted crafts your littles created…these items can and should take center stage, in an organized way, of course!