The Marie Kondo Craze: Does it spark joy?

Rather than feeling suffocated amongst the heaps of materials we tend to possess these days, why not make things simpler? At the age of 30, Marie Kondo has become a sensation in the eyes of millions of people who look to her when tidying up their homes. Her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing also inspired a Netflix series, and she has launched a lifestyle brand, KonMari.  

In each episode, Marie Kondo teaches her method by entering people’s homes to help them achieve that homey and stress-free secure feeling that promotes a positive life change. When holding the item, if it does not spark joy, then thank it for its time and set it free.

Below is a video to give a more visual insight of what Marie’s movement is all about:

She recommends 6 basic rules of tidying:

  1.  Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2.  Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3.  Finish discarding first.
  4.  Tidy by category, not by location.
  5.  Follow the right order.
  6.  Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Marie tells her viewers that you must thank the home for all that it has done for you. Center yourself and really connect with the bones of the house to feel all the joy, safety, and excitement it has given you. Once you do that, you may then get started.

You must put all of their clothes into one pile in the center of the room. Start from the top and hold each article of clothing individually to see if it sparks joy. If the article of clothing does indeed bring you fond memories, or makes you feel unstoppable when wearing it, then you put it in the keep pile. If it does not then thank it for it’s time and remove it from your life.

You then do this with every room in the house with all the items each room has to offer. If it does not spark joy or bring you sentimental value, then it too must go.

Two most useful strategies to keep in mind when tidying up:

1. Problem: For most, when you put your clothes away you end up wearing the first few things on top in your drawer so you end up forgetting about the rest.

Solution: Marie informs her audience how to correctly fold your clothes so that when you open your drawer, you see all of your clothes instead of just the one on top.

2. Problem: Not being able to tell what items you have even stored, and where they are. 
Solution: Boxes are key! Boxes help you store your items in an organized manner. You can put boxes in drawers as well as use bigger clear bins for storage. Clear bins are recommended so that you are able to see everything you have in that bin. This helps so that you do not buy the same thing twice.

How the government shutdown has impacted the real estate market

The partial government shutdown that started right around Christmas and extended through almost all of January undoubtedly put a squeeze on the metro DC real estate market.

We took a look at absorption rates – the pace at which the market is absorbing” the available inventory – in January and compared those to rate the previous January, and there is an inescapable conclusion: the market was slower.

In general, absorption rates were 3% – 5% less in January 2019 than January of 2018. There are always exceptions of course, as markets behave differently, but we even saw a slowing in those areas closest to Amazon’s new HQ2 location. In November and December of last year, we saw rates of 70% and 80% in Crystal City and the north end of Alexandria. In January, those rates dropped to around 50%. That’s still a very strong number, but three things combined to bring those rates down: a slight cooling from the initial reaction to Amazon’s news; the lack of available inventory since so much got snapped up in November and December, and the government shutdown.

We’re not worried about the long-term impact of the shutdown, but it’s going to take a while for the market to return to more normal levels of absorption rates. Of course, that assumes we won’t have another shutdown – and that remains to be seen as this writing!

McEnearney Associates, “How the government shutdown impacted the real estate market”