Disclaimer: I am NOT a hoarder, but I do have bit of a reputation for saving every. single. paper. that comes into contact with my life.I can’t help it, what if I need it one day??? Marie Kondo, self confessed tidiness freak, tackles this attitude and many others in her book about how throwing stuff away can make you lose weight. Okay, I’m being glib. It wasn’t that simple, but it kind of was.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese woman who has made a career of helping others declutter their homes, and as a happy positive externality, their lives as well. This is not a revolutionary idea. I’m pretty sure my grandma said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” a time or two in her life… but then again, her nickname was “neat” because she was a very tidy woman. Leaving my trip down memory lane and jumping BACK to Marie Kondo, or Konmari as she styles herself and her message of minimalist living, her method is actually quite simple. Instead of usefulness, practicality, or price as a litmus test of whether to keep things around your home or not, she uses the idea of each possession “sparking joy”. If an item does not “spark joy” you should get rid of it. Now there are categories and sub categories and an order in which you should tackle your tidy lifestyle… but I’ll spare you the details and suggest you buy her book (in her method, I would buy her book, read it, and then get rid of it… if I need it again at some future date, I will need to buy a new copy… NICE TRY Konmari. Nice Try. I am keeping your book and it will clutter my bookshelf for YEARS!!!). She has all sorts of ideas of how to properly store and fold clothing and visualizing the life you want to have, and then achieve that life by tidying. I clearly did not agree with throwing out pictures of all your dead relatives, or getting rid of BOOKS (what monster would suggest that?), but I agree with her overall idea which she did not state terribly succinctly, but I will state here and maybe save you the bother of buying the book. You own your possessions, they do not own you, and you should approach them in that manner.
Konmari tries to force people to acknowledge and let go of certain preconceived notions of who they are and why they are because of what they own. A thing, is just a thing. A particular shirt doesn’t define you. Certain trinkets don’t reveal who you are. She addresses the sentimental attachment we have to items and says if something currently “sparks joy” and allows you to attain the life that you envision for yourself, then you should keep it. By discarding things that do not spark joy, Konmari claims you will achieve mental clarity. I have to say I am on board the Konmari train with this one. When my spaces are de-cluttered, I feel better, I have focus, and I can see what I need to do rather than see the clutter I need to clean… That being said, while I was on board with a majority of her message, this is a book review and the delivery within the book was just not great. For someone who likes things orderly, she certainly didn’t write the book in a clear, concise, or even intuitive fashion. She repeats various points over and over and over, not to re-enforce, but rather to bulk up rather weak content. I would have loved reading this as an article in a journal, or magazine, but her message does not a book make.