Behold, the face of evil
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is the latest Netflix show to achieve pop culture notoriety. Kondo is an author that has written a couple of books on tidying up your home. Her “KonMari” method basically involves holding each item you own, asking if it sparks joy within you, and then deciding whether to keep or trash it. If you keep it, all is well. If not, you thank the item for it’s service and carefully prepare it for disposal/donation. She then teaches you some next level origami for storing the items you wish to keep.
On a philosophical level, I understand the necessity of clearing away clutter and making our environments more efficient and organized. It can certainly improve your mood to have things tidy, I am totally a neat freak. On the other hand, her method, while trying to appear non-materialistic, is actual the most advanced level of Materialism I’ve ever seen. You are whittling your belongings down to a small number which will then be reflective of you and your life. Instead of the items just being things you have, they are now the things that DEFINE you. You are almost elevating them above yourself. The “joy spark” may feel like you are making it serve you, but you are really subjecting yourself to it’s hold on you. I also take exception to her coaching all of this with some pseudo-eastern spirituality. She begins each cleaning by saying a little prayer to welcome herself into the home. More mumbo jumbo follows as the process proceeds. This cheapens both you and the spirituality itself. Efficiency is great, but don’t lead people to believe that they will achieve some higher level of understanding by organizing their forks. You aren’t going to save a failing marriage by cleaning the garage. It does sell books though.
I, personally, do not look to my sock drawer for the spark of joy, but my books are certainly important. My book collection is not the summation of my life, but I sure as shit ain’t throwing them away. In one episode she mentions 30 books being an ideal number to keep. I have 33 books on just one shelf alone. She has since tried to walk back that comment, but I ain’t buying it. I have several books that I would have no problem donating and I do occasionally thin the herd. The problem is that you never know when an old book will be needed. I’ve had a book sitting on a shelf for 20 years and suddenly had a need to quote/research/re-read it. I can’t tell you the number of times, today even, when I felt the desire to look up something only to remember that I sold that books years ago. Sparking joy is a fine thing. Only keeping the items that spark you “in the now” is a hollow way to evaluate something. It may work for old underwear, but not repositories of knowledge or old family photos.
In summation, Marie Kondo may smack of evil but…
…her sock folding is on point and I will be using it going forward.