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An Open Letter to Marie Kondo from an Untidy Mom

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Dear Marie,

On behalf of all Americans, I would like to apologize. I am sorry that you had to tell us to throw away our excess stuff. We confess. We have too much. We need to downsize, throw away, scale-back, scale-down… all of it. It has gotten out of hand.

I like to think that some of the excess has to do with the fact that I have 3 children. Everywhere I go, every time I turn around, people are giving them things. It started with the birthday favor bags. Then, there were the various holidays and the candy they were given. But, somewhere along the way, this thing has gotten out of hand.


The piece of candy given out at Halloween turned into bags of knick-knacks. Why does my child need a skeleton pencil, spider ring, and sheet of pumpkin stickers from every house we go to trick-or-treat? Or, how about the parties at school? Every time I turn around someone is celebrating and goodness knows, nothing says Happy Birthday quite like 30 miniature slinkies handed out during homeroom. We can’t make it out of the grocery store without carrying a free balloon. Even the dentist sends us home with goody bags filled with shark-shaped floss sticks and a character toothbrush, not to mention the token from the prize drawer. Why? Why? Why?

Why all of the stuff? Why all the rewards? Do you know what my reward is for grocery shopping? I get to make dinner. What do I get from the dentist? Sore gums and a bill. Someone please stop this madness. My kid does not need a reward for everything. A simple “good job” would be fine. But, I digress Marie, back to the stuff.

Stuff is everywhere. I asked my children, “Does this pumpkin yo-yo from Halloween 2017 bring you joy?” and they emphatically replied, “YES!”

Alas, I will have to wait until they leave the house to throw away their precious treasures – again. Thank goodness they rarely notice. They are far too distracted with all the new things flooding into our home.

As you advise Marie, I held the pumpkin yo-yo in my hand and asked myself, “Does this bring me joy?” The constant sorting, pilling, and cleaning? Rinse and repeat, cycle of life I lead with the littles in my home? Does this bring me joy?

It does. It truly does.

I find joy in tiny treasures stored in dresser drawers. I find joy in piles of clothes with little socks small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. I find joy in dirty floors, covered in footprints made from chalk dust.


It may not be a tidy life I lead right now, but it is a full life, richly lived and well loved. I have accepted that today we will have clutter and treasures of some form or fashion in our home, but I know that one day we will not.

I wonder, which will truly bring me joy? The quiet, spotless, organized home, or the one I share now with the untidy, clutter-loving, little people I call my family?


Thank you again for your wisdom in getting rid of our excess Marie, but I hope you too are finding some joy in the clutter. After all, life is a little bit messy and not always tidy.

All the best,


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