In 2015, Marie Kondo was ranked as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” She is an organizing consultant and author, most known for her KonMari method. Kondo’s method has spread around the world, and has inspired a group of teachers at MHS to start what was first called the Big Sweep Challenge. However, this challenge of organizing things has now turned into a support group among these teachers that focus and practice the KonMari method.
“In essence, it’s learning to live with less. Her whole concept I think is, ‘Does it spark joy in your life?’ I think essentially it’s learning to live with the least amount only because those are the things that you love. I think it’s living your ideal life,” said Librarian Rieko Goo.
This method of organizing helps the teachers let go of things that they no longer need, while sharing the experience with one another. “As teachers, and especially like mothers and women, we tend to hold on to things. I feel like we’re more emotional people and because each item has memories, we hold on to these things, and lug it from place to place,” said English teacher Gina Antonio. “I want to enjoy my house, I want to enjoy my space. Why am I paying a mortgage for clutter that’s just occupied my house? I want each place to have a purpose, I want to come home and breathe. I want to have a household that will inspire me to do stuff.” English teacher Stephanie Grande-Misaki added, “I think that each one of us has something that we hold dear to us that we have a hard time letting go. Ms. Antonio is really good about reminding us that it’s not meant for you to get rid of everything. It’s what you can handle at that moment in time and then when you’re ready, then you’ll be able to let it go.”
The KonMari method can be used to organize things from clothes to books to old Christmas decorations, and changes lives. “It brings happiness because you’re accomplishing something that has an impact in different ways in your own personal life. You can in some ways talk about it to your students to inspire them. I think anytime you can take something from your personal life and kind of have it lend to your students so that they can learn from it is always something good,” said Goo. Antonio added, “I used to be a shop-a-holic. But it kind of made me pause. When I try on something, shoes, clothes, does it really make me that much happier? Am I only buying it because it’s on sale, or does it actually complete what I’m looking for? Does it fit my lifestyle now? And if the answer is no, then I’m not going to buy it and I save so much money.”
This group of teachers started to share their experiences with each other on Facebook two years ago, and still continue to today. “We can empathize with each other especially because, most recently when Ms. Goo was thinking, ‘Oh I can’t get rid of this one item,’ we’re supporting her, not telling her to just get rid of it,” said Grande-Misaki. Goo added, “I think we just give each other inspiration and the pep talk to keep going. I think any time you attack something that’s overwhelming, just having somebody there, give you comments about how you can do it is helpful.”
The teachers plan on continuing to organize their lives, “spark joy,” and share their projects and experiences.