A Marie Kondo craze is sweeping the nation, and we’re feeling all kinds of joy about it. Since the debut of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, families all over the country have been putting the core tenants of the Japanese author and lifestyle maven’s signature KonMari method into practice with amazing results, and there are so many ways that nannies can benefit too.
The KonMari method is a style of organizing and decluttering that focuses on cultivating appreciation for the things we own and discarding that which no longer serves us. The method requires focusing on five core components of the home, organized by category rather than location: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items, such as toys, kitchen gadgets, etc.), and sentimental items. As people tidy their things, Kondo asks them to decide whether or not each item in their home “sparks joy.” The idea is not to have things spark joy in the sense that everything makes you sublimely happy, but to identify which items in your home are truly serving a purpose, be it practical or emotional, and are items that you would like to take with you into the future.
One of the best things about the KonMari method is that it gets the entire family in on the practice of keeping the home neat and experiencing gratitude for the things they have. Even children can do it!
Whether your nanny families are Kondo followers or not, there are small ways you can incorporate the KonMari method to help the family stay organized and make your day-to-day run much more smoothly.
Tidy up the children’s clothes.
Clothes are number one on Marie Kondo’s list of things to tidy, and for good reason. Most of us have way too many of them, including things that don’t fit well and are rarely worn. A nice thing to do for your nanny children and their parents could be to go through the children’s clothing quarterly and remove items that are too small, torn, stained, or otherwise no longer usable. Parents should, of course, get the final say in what stays and what goes.
Incorporate the KonMari folding method
If you lend a helping hand with the laundry, it might be a good idea to learn how to fold clothes Kondo-style. Marie Kondo’s unique folding method involves folding clothing into small rectangles and placing them in drawers side by side, rather than stacked on top of one another, so you can easily see everything in the drawer. Here’s a quick lesson from the expert herself:
Organize the children’s toys
Have the children help you organize their toys! Children can help you select which toys to keep, and then you can work together to organize the “keep” pile by category—toys for physical activity, stuffed animals, imaginative play, etc.—and place them into specific containers where they can be accessed and put away easily. With a parent’s blessing, you can donate the toys that are still in good condition but didn’t make the cut and use it as an opportunity to teach the children about charitable giving. Here’s how Marie Kondo approaches toy organization:
Help parents sort and store children’s artwork
Children love arts and crafts, but the resulting masterpieces can quickly create clutter. Kondo says the key to deciding what to keep starts with creating a designated space for art. Maybe the children get an artwork wall somewhere in the house or they each get a bulletin board for art, like this:
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Once that space is filled, Kondo says to lay all the art on a table and decide what to keep and what to throw away. Parents should probably be the ones to make final cuts, but you can help them get a head start by rotating the older displayed art into a keepsake box for each child. You can also use apps like Artkive to create a photo archive of children’s art so that every single physical drawing doesn’t need to be saved.
Organize everyday items
Marie Kondo recommends sorting items into small boxes by category to make them easier to use and to tidy. With parents’ permission, use small containers to organize snacks in the pantry by type, place bottle parts into separate containers so you can easily access what you need, and create designated space for children’s eating accessories. Virtually any space can be tidied this way, so once you’ve mastered the basics of KonMari, you can talk with parents about repeating the process as needed throughout your entire workspace.