So you just binged-watched Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” and got inspired to turn your house down and hunt for clutter to clear up your space and adapt a new minimal lifestyle. The best-selling author and decluttering consultant suggests viewers to follow her “KonMari method,” which begins by piling up all your things and touching each item one by one. If it “sparks joy,” it stays, but if it doesn’t you thank it and put it gently in a bin for disposal or donation.
While this has been therapeutic for a lot of people and it has made many homes more organized, clean, and happier, there are still some issues that were left in the air:
The culture of excess
Emma Brockes is not convinced and wrote an article titled “De-cluttering is the enemy of humankind” on The Guardian, which reads, “Throwing stuff out is a trap. It forces you to keep buying and you’ll never ever be free ever be free.” Can we really rid ourselves of this culture of excess? What we need is a real change in mindset and not so much as the thought of getting rid of things. Though Kondo emphasizes that one should focus on what to keep instead of things to throw away, this still calls attention for us to be conscious about the environment in general and not just our homes. Can we rid ourselves of the cycle of buying, accumulating, and eventually decluttering?
Are books clutter?
In one episode of the show, Kondo visited a couple who are both writers. Naturally, their shelves were spilling out with books. She advised them to keep ones they treasure most. This part sparked rage among book lovers instead of joy.
Anakana Schofield, an Irish-Canadian writer, who won the 2012 Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction in 2013 for her debut novel Malarky, wrote scathing words against the KonMari method on Twitter.
Books carry not just the owner’s tastes and acquired knowledge, they also represent stories, history, and feelings of writers and their inspirations. Even if one or two have been sitting on the shelf and gathering dust, isn’t the best solution to simply dust them off? Another alternative is to arrange for a book swap or keep them for use of your family’s generations to come.
Putting the burden on somebody else
The usual destination of those who have cleared their closets and cabinets is the donation center or secondhand shops. Donating is of course, a good thing, but are we sure that what we give away is something useful for another person to use? Are we really donating for the sake of helping others or just making ourselves feel better and our homes lighter? As for the secondhand shops, what happens to the items that will not get sold? Will they be recycled or thrown into the landfills?
Marie Kondo may be the most adorable thing on earth, and it’s simply hard to hate on her, but viewers and readers need to think about these issues before following her method. Her decluttering ways truly work, but one must consider long-term plans to not only maintain a more organized home, but also if any, the negative effects of this practice. To some extent, her philosophy really does make sense. Then again, we must first ask, “What does joy really mean for oneself?”