Yes, I have seen the YouTube videos, have read the excerpts from her book, watched the Netflix show. Marie Kondo is still everywhere.
And it seems like she is sorely needed here in the center of Conspicuous Consumer Consumption: the good ol’ USA.
Except that I’m not buying it; I’m not drinking the KonMari 1 Kool-Aid. Marie Kondo, you’re a fraud.
Is it desirable to have a clean, efficient home? YES
Is it comforting to know that you’re not a hoarder? YES
Is it socially just to own just what we need daily? YES
But the KonMari Method is a Decapitate-to-solve-Headache solution. It is designed to appease those folks that need to see rapid-progress, instantaneous solutions, Must Have my Cake Now or I won’t eat my vegetables.
I can accept the first step: Pray to your House Spirit (in essence) Those of us with religious backgrounds can attest to the many rituals that fill our lives and in many cases provide comfort and fulfillment. So I’m OK with praying to the inner quiet and joy that a happy home brings. When our home is destroyed by a flood, a quake, a fire, we feel a loss. Whether you pray to the walls or to a Higher Being that gave you the home is OK.
Then we start dumping our closets in one big pile. To make us realize that we own too much. But you could also do the same by going to those photos taken some time ago, showing under-developed, developed, 1st world families next to all their belongings. Very enlightening as shown in Material World photos. And same result. I get it: I buy too much junk.
But can a person love 100 pieces of junk, er, treasured objects? I believe the answer is YES. We have no problem believing that a mother/father can love 6 children as easily and as much as they would love 1 or 2. Same for our valuable possessions. But Marie Kondo is right about one thing: if we don’t organize, we tend to lose our precious objects and miss out on enjoyment. I recall finding a long-lost watch and having a moment of joy when finding it again. So I suggest the Harem Solution: organize your treasures and schedule time with each of them. You will still enjoy each and every one. And avoid sharing your Treasure with others; you may catch a communicable disease2
And you don’t have to do a Master Cleanse of a room to motivate you into cleanliness. I can visualize my end goal; I can see myself living comfortably in the new space; I can make a plan to get me there. If I had an extra room, I would follow Marie’s advice and dump everything there, then start bringing items back one at a time. I do not agree with her solution to throw the remainders out. We can organize our Treasure Trove so that our items are accessible and dust-free. I suggest foot lockers done in tasteful Earth tones and indexed for easy retrieval. Walls should be sparsely decorated with rotating artwork.
Clothes should undergo the FIT test. If they fit, and you like them, keep them. If not, donate immediately. Store clothes by season, so that all of them are accessible at the correct time of year. You can use stretch film wrap –easy to use, inexpensive– to store the seasonal bundles of clothes. Sure I own 40 t-shirts, but I use them consistently in a rotating basis. I do wish I could donate them somewhere when they wear out3 All the same, if there are clothes that you love and would like to share with a friend, loved one then we should pass it on. Most of the time, though, the only people that want the clothes are the recyclers.
And finally, one item that Marie Kondo does NOT address: the lifelong regret when you wish you had something that you discarded / donated / threw away. Yes, we can re-purchase some of the items but that does not support responsible consumerism. Some items are gone forever, once out of our hands. Can you live with only the memory of a treasured heirloom? If the answer is YES then go ahead and KonMari your life away. I will still look for a sane, middle-of-the-road solution.
2 thoughts on “Marie Kondo 2021 – Take it and Shove it !”
Thoughtful stuff. I think we have to give credit to Kondo (who I have yet to watch) for initiating the conversation.
As someone who likes to flee the country, I’m always torn. Will I sell this or store it? Storage costs being what they are, it’s frequently cheaper to sell and re-buy. But that’s only if I have time to sell at a fair price. Otherwise, I have to donate or give it away. Nice, but expensive.
Another thing that rang true for me was hearing Ramit Sethi (“I Will Teach You to Be Rich”) talk about what spending sparks joy for him, and that’s anything that brings convenience and time. Luckily, that’s not always something tangible.
In your case, it sounds like you’re not throwing things away because those items spark joy. Doesn’t that mean you’re following her advice?
What a thoughtful comment! And yes, the items “spark joy” as I clean then, store them or even sell or donate them.
But I appreciate the time to spend time with my item, before it moves on. The Kondo approach of “pile it high so that you get sick” does not apply to my situation. It is geared to trigger an emotional response; I already have determined that my possessions need to move on. It is just a matter of finding homes for them, and treasuring the memory.
As a side note, clothing should be donated more quickly than other items. The garments need to be in good shape so that they can be used by the next person, I own several thrift store Hawaiian shirts and I thank their previous owners for allowing me to share the “joy” of their shirts! Makes it easy to send your own good-condition items onward.
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