Unless you’ve been hibernating, you know that Marie Kondo is sweeping the nation (well, nations). I’ve seen countless memes, buy/sell/trade posts, articles, and social media posts about tidying up. Even my inbox isn’t safe!
While the KonMari method has brought me a lot of joy, it has also sparked a lot of sadness for me.
According to Amazon, I purchased “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” on May 26th, 2016. According to my life, I didn’t read it until February of 2018. You want to know what I did with it in the meantime? I left it on my kitchen counter so I wouldn’t forget about it. Is anyone else seeing the immediate irony that I left a book about tidying on my counter for over a year and a half??? I even took it on a plane trip or two so that I’d be forced to read it, but apparently staring out a window for three hours was more alluring than learning how to thank my possessions for all they’ve done for me. My point being, the book itself did not spark joy in me. It made my counter feel even more cluttered than it already was and I had a constant reminder of how I wasn’t progressing.
But then I read the book! Joy was sparked left and right as I parted with twelve garbage bags of stuff from my bedroom (which, for the record, only has clothes and shoes in it) and a couple of car loads worth of junk to Goodwill. I was truly amazed at how easily I was able to part with things because I have a memory attached to each and every object we own. Joy was not sparked as I rolled my eyes at lots of the earthy crunchy ideas in the book and picked apart what I was willing to apply to my life and home. I promptly gifted the book when I was done with it, because Marie Kondo had advised me to only keep items that spark joy and the book itself just wasn’t one of those things. It’s okay though, I think she gave me permission in the book the discard her book. Such a kind soul.
Since February of last year, my life has gone on with a constant donation pile in my dining room that does not spark joy. Instead, it sparks frustration and irritation that my dining room area is perpetually a dump. Other than that, I do feel relatively joyous with my possessions and most of my home.
And then Netflix goes off and decides everyone needs to pet their clothes as they fold them and envision the life they want. I couldn’t escape the hold she had once Netflix got involved! I finally caved and watched the show. And guess what? I thought it was incredibly boring. I fell asleep while watching it on more than one occasion, leaving my anti-declutter-and-organize-and-make-me-get-involved-husband grumpily watched Marie Kondo squeal as she gave hugs and hopped down steps into garages. In my husband’s words, “the opposite of joy was sparked” by watching the show. But I ain’t no quitter, so I watched all eight episodes and made sure to go back and watch whatever I initially slept through.
This isn’t supposed to be a post hating on the KonMari method though. It’s done wonders for my house and has made me more mindful and intentional in several ways. The problem is, she has forced me to see what doesn’t spark joy in my life, whether that’s materialistic or not. Last week, a giant cloud started to follow me and now it’s starting to rain on my life. My most joy-filled possessions aren’t going to make it much longer. Nothing makes me happier than these items. I don’t know how I’ll bare to part with them, even if they are no longer functional. I don’t understand how Marie Kondo can want me to surround myself with items that spark joy and then allow me to watch the greatest joy in my life crumble to the ground.
I very distinctly remember one day in seventh grade that I went to the one clothing store in town with my mom and I got two new pairs of pajama pants. They weren’t anything special at the time, but nineteen years later, they are the pants I pick from my well-folded drawer every time they are clean. They have been so kind so somehow magically grow throughout pregnancies and more dozens of pounds than I’m willing to admit to the internet. They are the pajama pants that get packed for every vacation. Last week, on vacation, I realized there was the start to a hole one pair. Upon further inspection, there is also an area that is beginning to tear. I vow to wear them until their very last day, but every time I put them on I feel a wave of sadness knowing that this might be my last time to spend a night with them and now I solemnly fold laundry while I inspect to see if the damage has worsened. I have a serious grieving process ahead of me.
Moral of the story: proceed with tidying up with caution. As soon as you surround yourself with joy, you only have joyful things to lose. Also, who owns that many white shirts and keeps them white? I’m suddenly feeling very suspicious of you, Miss Marie. I think my next book should be this one, conveniently initially found at the bookstore immediately after I read the joy-killer.