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Adlen Robinson: Organizing tips from a professional
Adlen Robinson

I like to think I keep up with the culture and am “in the know” about many things. That being said, sometimes I miss things.

Recently, I sent a text to both of our daughters, along with photos, etc. 

I took a before and after picture of my newly organized pantry. One of our daughters replied and said I was Marie Kondo. I thought, wait a minute, who?

Of course, I looked the woman’s name up and was surprised to see how famous she is and how much I love what she does and what she stands for. 

In case you are wondering who Kondo is, she is an organizational expert who helps people learn how to “tidy up” their homes, offices and essentially, their lives. 

In addition, she is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” How did I miss this?

Apparently, Kondo began her business as a 19-year old university student in Tokyo. She has a giant company named KonMari, Media. 

Kondo even has a show on Netflix where she helps individuals and families organize, pare down their possessions, and live a joyful life. How wonderful is that?

Like Kondo, I have always been fascinated with all things organizational. Even as a little girl, I obsessively organized my bedroom — making my bed every day, cleaning out my desk, organizing my toys and closet. 

As a young person, I was the same way — I approached school the same way.

When we married and bought a home, it was fairly easy to keep things organized since we hardly had anything. 

Having children and just life in general, adds “stuff” to your home quickly. We had four children in just six and a half years — talk about a challenge to keep your house organized. I definitely had to let go of my anti-clutter mentality. At least partially.

As our kids got older, as in the dreaded teenage years, I was often frustrated with their messy rooms. 

I was sad to think I had raised unorganized kids and thought when they moved out on their own they would be clutter people. 

Imagine my surprise when they moved out one by one and all became “neat freaks.” 

It cracked me up to see how all of them had adopted so many of my organizational techniques when it came to organizing their kitchens, closets, laundry rooms, etc.

Getting organized does require you to throw things away and/or give things away. Kondo talks about this in terms of keeping things that bring you joy and letting go of things that no longer do. I never really thought about it that way, but it is the perfect way to describe the process.

Just take your closet as an example. 

Is yours filled with clothing and shoes you never wear or don’t fit? 

Do you only wear a few pairs of jeans, but own more than a dozen? 

Don’t you feel so much better when you purge items from your closet and you see everything hanging neatly on the racks and folded neatly on the shelves? 

I know I do! It is the same thing for every room in your home. I recently organized one of our daughter’s kitchen and she was shocked to see how many duplicates she had of things such as baking sheets, coffee mugs, and other items.

We took a giant car load to a local charity thrift store and she loved how big her kitchen felt once the cabinets were not overflowing.

On her website, Kondo cites her six rules for “tidying up.” The first one is to “commit” to doing so. 

The perfect way to do this is to make a plan. Check out Marie Kondo at

Adlen Robinson is an award winning columnist and author of “Organic Food and Kitchen Matters.” You can email her at