what sparks joy?

You might be puzzled as to why a post about the current trend #konmari is categorized in Fighting Bigotry. But I think this article lays out the case quite well.

Confession time for me: Yes I do spend time reorganizing my space, thinking of ways to do things more effectively and naturally in order to get rid of clutter.  This ranges from reading about Swedish Death Cleaning to poring over Container Store magazines, watching helpful YouTubers on the topic and so on. And, of course, because I have a Netflix subscription, watching Marie Kondo’s new series.

As an aside, I have sat zazen for over ten  years now. There’s an awful lot of stuff she does that I immediately recognize from another context, so while non-Western, much of her approach is familiar. And watching how she interacts with the families, I can see her bringing that bit of buddhist philosophy to them, more than anything else. I mean, watch her interact with a fellow Netflix personality as she helps to tidy up Minhaj’s life and home. It isn’t about her cleaning his stuff up for him but helping him figure out what he needs to do.

But of course the backlash is beginning and I have of course seen the 30 books!! outrage. But it misses the mark. In her shows, you see plenty of people with lots of books, or other items (playing cards, musical CDs, DVDs, any kind of collection) and never once does she recommend getting rid of them. She has them ask themselves one question, and to think about it, for them (clothing, books, sentimental items and so on). Does it make them happy? Does it spark joy ?

Then in areas of the house, she make suggestions — tailored to each family as far as I can tell — about how to organize the kitchen, the bathroom, other living areas. All areas that contain items that are necessary but toilet paper does not spark joy. A good place to store toilet paper and a system for making sure I don’t run out, that brings me joy.

But anyway, do read this article. It argues that the Internet reaction to the supposed “30 book prescription” (which, let me repeat, does NOT exist. Marie herself keeps 30 books; she does not tell anyone else they must do the same) smacks of more than a little racism — and I agree.

There’s a real worrying and infuriating underlying current beneath the self-proclaimed love of books, one that seems to say, how dare this woman — who needs an interpreter, who practices woo-woo nonsense — tell us how we’re meant to live. How dare she have the audacity .

Because I have to think that were it anyone else — were it some blond, white, western woman with a soothing voice, or a well-groomed, muscular white man with a twinkle in his eye — people who didn’t agree would say, well, this isn’t for me. And then move on.

But that’s not what’s happened with Marie Kondo. If anything, the outrage has only grown as more and more people have found more ways to completely and sometimes deliberately misinterpret her words.

The author has a real point  here. C’mon. We watch whatsisname scream right in the face of fumbling cooks and make memes about it. We laugh at shows that basically bully people into decluttering their house or wardrobe (or shrug our shoulders and go on) but clutch our pearls here?

I’ve seen plenty of thoughtful pieces that discuss her system as a whole and put it in the context of people for whom tidying up is linked to trauma, or for whom the accumulation of things takes on a different meaning when it comes to those who have lived in poverty, or individuals from certain religious and ethnic minorities. I am not discounting the validity of those critiques.

But I’ve also not seen any of those critiques blithely label Marie Kondo to a monster for words that she didn’t say, or compare her to Mussolini or President Snow for concepts that she in no way mandates you to follow.

At the very least, these critiques seem to have read her book and used basic comprehension skills while doing so.

I’m not saying all her critics should read her book. It wouldn’t bring them joy to do so, and that’s the last thing Marie Kondo would want.

What I would like is for them to stop criticizing her methods as if they have read her book, though. That’d be a great first step. I’d like them to be able to step back and say, this might not be for me, and then move on.

And, really, what I’d like most is for them to take hold of all their feelings of anger and spite and bitterness towards Marie Kondo, hold it up towards the light, and ask themselves: Why does criticizing Marie Kondo bring me so much joy?

And hey? If you’re interested in decluttering and you have Netflix? Go ahead and watch one of her shows.

Marie Kondo isn’t coming for your books, you’re just being xenophobic

Marie Kondo isn’t coming for your books, you’re just being xenophobic

‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ very politely asked if we really needed all those books in our house and the internet lost its damn mind.

Source: www.hypable.com/marie-kondo-isnt-coming-for-your-books-youre-just-being-xenophobic/

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3 Responses to what sparks joy?

  1. Cass Morrison says:

    This seems to be what the internet has degenerated into. People protesting when anyone suggests they be examine and be accountable to … themselves.

    They did a very good cross section of people. I think I might have to do a blog post myself but if you look at it – she really emphasised each person looking at their own stuff and making decisions for themselves. I think the Marie Kondro method could be threatening to a lot of people because of that self examination and letting go of power (I’m thinking of the family that downsized and the woman *still* sorted things for everyone)

  2. BEG says:

    I agree: there’s been a wide variety of families from toddlers to empty nesters (not to mention a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds); people who are welcoming a new addition and people who have lost someone. All kinds of situations. It’s actually pretty interesting to see, even though it is clear to me that the shows only highlight a very small portion of the interactions that must be going on.