Dear Marie Kondo,
I am a fan. Since being introduced to you by a friend, I have read of you, read you, watched your videos and simultaneously slipped into a reverie of being in a decluttered, cherry-blossomed Japan too.
And when you say that tidying up is life-changing, dear God, you are not fooling around! At first, I was tentative, but then as I folded away t-shirts and socks and gave away magenta ribbons, I was inexorably drawn to the prescient value of what you preach.
“Ms Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic.”, says the New York Times. I could n’t have said it better. In fact, I COULD NOT even have said it because “animistic”. Also, “hortatory”. (Times why you do this to me?)
Anyhoo, I thought I was an “organization” all-star person till you happened.
KonMari, that’s Japanese, not Hindi
What if we liked less stuff? And where is minimalism a well-understood concept? Nowhere, that’s where. I have in one day shopped for
- A charpoy (since it was collapsible, it was collapsed immediately upon purchase, how it stays till today)
- An automated garden sprinkler (for a large garden comprising four pots of coriander and basil)
- A German mop operated over the Internet (this one though)
- An annual subscription to badyogi.com (which requires me to attend a retreat in Auckland first)
- A Zara scarf on discount (which is hideous on the inside and the outside)
- A clicker for dog training (for a fully trained dog, who just shook his head in resignation)
- Any Fisher-Price/ ethically responsible toy which my child rejected straight-away for an old bucket
- Top hits of Mithun da you missed (the real gem in this disastrous list so far)
When I started journaling (buying a spanking spiral notepad, because the few million I had stashed fell short), then I saw the destructive pattern. And I turned to KonMari, your patented take-no-prisoners cleaning-up diktat. “Unless something sparks joy, it has no place in your home or your life.”
DISCARD, DISCARD, DISCARD
This is the spring cleaning that I am used to – selling three things online every year, giving Kamala amma clothes apologetically and sending the rest to my mother. You put the focus back on just how much accumulation mankind can do, left undeterred. Me, as Exhibit A.
It starts with letting go of (or responsibly donating) your less loved wardrobe items, kitchen pans, bath salts, free ketchup sachets, the ugly stuffed-toy pangolin in the living room. You have helped clients go lighter by over a million individual things! It also goes onto relationships that are unnecessary and exhausting. I knew you were the true apostle of organization when a client wrote in that she got a divorce, as part of her tidying-up quest.
And ah the ritual. The act of saying thank you to that thing you bought and used little or sparingly, and then bidding adieu. When I first said goodbye to my origami papers, it felt mildly crazy. Now, it’s like a one-armed bro hug.
I wonder though how that client said bye to the husband. “Hey you were good and kind and a husband. Our paths must separate now. I must declutter of you. Thank you. Here is your copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and also, my forwarding address. Long live and prosper.”