“If the ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ Netflix show inspired you to throw out the things that don’t ‘spark joy,’ here’s what to do with what’s left.” The Wirecutter Staff, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“If, like us, you’re obsessed with ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,’ you’ve probably been inspired to sort through mountains of your clothes, books, and papers, and fill countless trash bags with everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy.’ But getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job. Now you have to figure out how to tidy what you keep.
Professional organizer Beth Penn of Bneato Bar, author of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life, said, ‘Organizing isn’t something that you arrive at, it’s something that is an ongoing process, something that you are constantly working on.’
Here are some of the best tips we gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show, with expert advice to help you stay neat after you’ve purged.
Once you’ve whittled your belongings down to a manageable amount, give each item a place to live. On her show, Ms. Kondo teaches clients to put items in drawers in a single layer — food storage containers are stacked on their sides with their lids on, while clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed… Remember, only shop for organizers after you’ve finished your purge so you know exactly what you have left to store.
Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents to include children in the task of folding laundry. ‘Like reading a book, it’s a habit to fold clothes with my children,’ she said. Children mimic their parents’ tidying tasks, and even when their work needs to be redone neatly, they enjoy being involved. Getting children involved also means respecting what belongings make them happy.
Belongings that have meaning can’t spark joy when they’re boxed up in the garage. Instead, Ms. Kondo encourages her clients to decorate with their photos and sentimental items so they can enjoy them every day… If most of your family photos are digital, declutter your photo files and create a photo book for the coffee table with the best of them.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a
topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Marie Kondo. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Many fans are obsessed with Marie Kondo’s show.
- The article provides tips they gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show.
- You have to figure out how to tidy what you keep.
- Next, whittle your belongings down to a manageable amount.
- Clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed.
- Ms. Kondo also likes to compartmentalize items in to small boxes.
- Ms. Kondo tells people to only shop for organizers after they’ve finished their purge.
- Storage space under the sink will keep everything visible and accessible.
- Some kids might balk at your attempts to declutter their belongings.
- It’s easy to get overwhelmed with clutter.
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
While Ms. Kondo relies/rely on/in found boxes like empty jewelry box/boxes or shoe boxes for organizing/organize small items, at Wirecutter we’ve/we’re found that/this the right tool for the/an job works/work even better to maximize space and/because keep tidbits organize/organized.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Marie Kondo teaches people how to cook Japanese dishes.
- Getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job.
- Marie Kondo’s show can be seen on Hulu.
- Ms. Kondo’s show originated in Japan.
- Beth Penn is the author of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life.
- The article provides some tips from Ms. Kondo’s show.
- Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents not to involve children in the task of folding laundry.
- Erin Boyle is Ms. Kondo’s assistant.
- Ms. Kondo’s parents watch her show.
- Marie Kondo is married with two children.
Directions: Place students in groups and have each group list 3 questions they would like to ask Ms. Kondo. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.