Marie Kondo Told Us to De-Clutter Our Homes by Disposing of Books. So Why is She Now Selling Us More Clutter?

- by Michael Stillman

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No, it's not a toasted almond donut. It's a sponge.

Last spring, we wrote about the mess tidying-up expert Marie Kondo got herself in when she recommended getting rid of unnecessary books, that is, those that don't “spark joy.” To some, the idea of disposing of books is a sacrilege, while others can't even grasp the concept of a book that does not spark joy. Ms. Kondo is something of a minimalist, an advocate for de-cluttering your house of everything that doesn't provide a clear pathway to joy. It's time to say goodbye to all the knickknacks and other assorted clutter that have become meaningless over the years. Her sin, in the eyes of some, was to suggest books could fall into this category. Such sentiments did not matter to Marie. Out they go, she advised.

 

It has been almost a year now since she committed that cardinal sin, so it's time for a follow up. Now that you have cleared out all of the books and other junk from every space in your house, it is time to start filling it up again. Fortunately, Ms. Kondo has just the answer. She has opened up an online store, The Shop at KonMari. The tidying up expert announced, “I’m thrilled to introduce the shop at KonMari! Many people have asked what I use in my everyday life. This online shop is a collection of my favorite things and items that spark joy for me.”

 

Now, you may say to yourself, Marie Kondo has encouraged me to clean up my clutter, even told me to get rid of most of my books. Now she wants me to start buying things to re-clutter my house? What is the explanation? I will let her explain, since I can't explain this seeming contradiction.

 

“My tidying method isn’t about getting rid of things – it’s about heightening your sensitivity to what brings you joy. Once you’ve completed your tidying, there is room to welcome meaningful objects, people and experiences into your life.

 

“The shop features an assortment of brands with simple, elegant design across categories including kitchenware, decor, entertaining and bath. Each item was selected for its ability to enhance your daily rituals and inspire a joyful lifestyle. There will be tidying products, too – joy-sparking storage solutions and organization items for all areas of the home. They are 'tidy chic' – because even your crumb brush should offer you a thrill of delight.

 

“I hope these items spark joy for you – and for your loved ones! They make beautiful gifts for anyone seeking to establish new routines, elevate their everyday tasks or create a joyful home. Just remember to complete your tidying and to use that experience to purchase mindfully. My intention is that you will cherish these items and use them for years to come.”

 

What sort of joyful things will you find? Well, there's a tuning fork with a rose quartz crystal. Who doesn't need one of these? The theory is that the tone created by striking the fork against the crystal helps to “restore a sense of balance.” Perhaps this means you won't fall over. Just $75. There's a palo santo holder to hold your palo santo for $68. There are prune tree chopsticks for $10, which I assume are carved from very old plumb trees. Now that you've disposed of all those decorative candles people have been giving you for years, you can fill up the empty space with a Queen's Guard candle for $86. You can add some clutter back to your desk with a $75 desktop box. Perhaps one of the most common clutter items is all the old baskets you have collected over the years. Now that you have tossed them away, you can refill the empty space with an apple or pear shaped basket for $119.

 

If washing dishes brings joy to your life, you will need a sponge. This is a very special sponge. It must be. It costs $16.

 

And, of course, now that you have gotten rid of your old books, you can buy some new ones. Marie Kondo has six of them, the books she has written on subjects such as getting rid of the clutter in your home.

 

Is all of this a contradiction? Has she been playing a trick on us all this time? Has she spent the last couple of years convincing us to throw out most of our stuff so she could sell us a new set of unnecessary objects to take their place? Perhaps it is not so much owning things that sparks joy as it is obtaining new possessions. It is the hunt itself, the process of being a consumer that sparks joy. Now it all makes sense, doesn't it? Maybe, but don't you wish you could have those old books you got rid of back again?