If you’ve been on the Internet at any point this week, you know the big news, which is that Marie Kondo – the tidying, Shinto guru who went famous after her books were turned into a made-for-Netflix TV series – opened … wait for it … a store of housewares.
The greatest part about this is that people of all walks of life are going BERSERK. I mean crazy. Like hundreds of comments calling her hogwash, claiming her a fraud, calling out this huge conspiracy to get people to throw away their stuff just so that she can sell them more (as if there aren’t other retailers out there who sell things like reusable water bottles and bamboo drawer organizers).
Even major mass media publications are posting online with captions like this one:
[Insert loud cancelation buzzer noise.]
Anyone that actually took the time to read Marie Kondo’s book, or even just sort of pay attention during the explanations, narrations, and intermittent side talks with Kondo on the TV show, knows the reality of the KonMari Method. It isn’t about getting rid of stuff, or having less. It is not – let’s say it a little louder for those in the back, NOT – about minimalism. It’s simply about only keeping things which spark joy or even joy-through-usefulness in your life stuff.
Let’s say this a little louder for you guys, just in case:
It isn’t about getting rid of stuff, or having less. It is not – let’s say it a little louder for those in the back, NOT – about minimalism. It’s simply about only keeping things which spark joy or even joy-through-usefulness in your life.
Did we get it this time?
It then follows that if Kondo opens a housewares shop online, the critics – large and small – are making themselves look like complete morons for the simple fact that they clearly never took to the time to actually know or understand what she proposes in her Shinto-based philosophy.
So while I think that just about everything in her shop is cute, but grossly overpriced, that is a criticism in and of itself, and has nothing to do – at all – with the spark joy belief system she has become so famous for.
Other critics of Kondo have said that she largely overlooks matters of inequality and instead proposes a belief system for people of privilege. Again, I think we’ve largely missed the mark on what she is saying. If you take her philosophy down to the bare bones of it all, the Shinto belief system, what she teaches is gratitude for the things that you have and no longer find a use, and joy or appreciation for the things you keep. If you are in a low income family and have three pairs of scissors, and read that Kondo suggests you consider paring that down to just one pair…you have to read the entirety of the philosophy, and focus also on the words she actually uses, like consider. Her rules are not hard and fast, rather things to think about. Consider that your three scissors do have usefulness, and moreover bring you joy in knowing that if one pair breaks, you will not feel the economic stress of having to come up with the money to replace them. You have two others stored away, which – I’ll add – she has gads of advice on doing as well in such a way that life is organized and people can spend more time enjoying it.
So I think we all need to take a deep breath and just simmer down.
I, personally, read both of her books about two years ago, and began to implement her method in my daily life. To say that it was life changing is an understatement for one reason, and one reason only: while I did get rid of a lot of stuff that was simply cluttering up my life, it broke open a daily and consistently reaffirming gratitude within me in every day life for every single thing that I have, material and otherwise. My entire life and outlook has changed because of the way decluttering and tidying by her method made me look at the world differently.
(And for those interested, there are a lot of things about her tidying methods I have chosen to ignore…in particular, the folding ones – who has time for that?!)
So she opened a store and everything in it can be boiled down as: overpriced dust pans. So don’t shop there. Her movement is not a movement of minimalism, so who is to say those overpriced dust pans fail to spark joy in at least some people? Calling her a hypocrite is still incorrect.
This is one of those rare times that I feel like evoking the old adage that we should not judge a book by its cover. In this particular case, I would go on to add: especially if you didn’t even read it.