Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2020 Issue

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

1e19b095-2209-4073-b9f7-726a72f593fb

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?


Posted On: 2020-03-01 17:32
User Name: Bkwoman

I loved this article. Being a bookseller and my husband a collector of vintage maritime books, our home is very library-like. We aren't hoarders, we just have a lot of "stuff" that we've collected after 48 years of marriage and 30+ years in the book business. Her ideas strike hilarity in my heart. Just one question, what is a palo santo? Cheerio, Karen Wright, The Wright Book


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber—Imitating Norman Rockwell's "Triple self-portrait,"</i> acrylic, watercolor & colored pencil, 2002. Sold June 2021 for $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jane Russell, archive of letters written during a whaling voyage, 1840s. Sold July 2021 for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Guild of Women Binders, exhibition binding of A.F. Pollard’s <i>Henry VIII,</i> London, 1902. Sold July 2021 for $12,350.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Robert Frost, <i>Collected Poems,</i> author’s presentation copy, signed, with entirety of <i>Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening</i> inscribed, NY, 1930. Sold June 2021 for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> James Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> deluxe limited issue, signed, London, 1936. Sold June 2021 for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Mercator [family], <i>[World and Continents],</i> 5 double-page maps, Amsterdam, c. 1633. Sold June 2021 for $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Schlegel, <i>New York, Taken from Central Park,</i> hand-finished color-tinted lithograph, 1874. Sold June 2021 for $11,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolaus Copernicus, <i>De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium,</i> second edition, Basel, 1566. Sold April 2021 for $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Book of Hours, Use of Utrecht, illuminated manuscript, c. 1435-45. Sold April 2021 for $60,000.
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 20. ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY. Letter to the editors of the Boston Atlas on slavery and its political ramifications, 1842. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 208. HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>A Farewell To Arms.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929. First edition. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 237. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "Now Remember-act casual." $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 4. SMITH, ADAM. <i>An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.</i> Philadelphia, 1789. The first American edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 131. BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VON. <i>Cinquieme Sinfonie en ut mineur: C Moll de Louis Van Beethoven. Oeuvre 67.</i> First edition of the complete score. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 73. Chinese Export Painting. Album of twenty-three original Chinese natural history studies of flowers and insects. Likely Canton: circa 1850. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>September 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 241. GOREY, EDWARD. Original drawing "Cat Drawing Wallpaper." Signed in Pencil in lower right margin. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 36. LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Autograph note signed instructing Edwin Stanton to meet with the important African American abolitionist and officer Martin Delany. [Washington:] 21 February 1865. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 112. JONSON, BEN. <i>Workes</i>. London: William Stansby, 1616; Together with <i>Workes.</i> London: Richard Meighen,1640-41. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 161. STURGIS, LEE. <i>Salmon Fishing on Cain River, New Brunswick.</i> (Chicago:) Privately printed (for the author by Ralph Fletcher Seymour), 1919. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Rosellini (Ippolito). <i>I Monumenti dell Egitto e Della Nubia,</i> Plate Volumes 1, 11 & 111, 3 vols. Elephant folio. €50,000 to €80,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Curtis (William), 1746 - 179, & other Editors. <i>The Botanical Magazine: or, The Flower Garden Displayed.</i> London 1793 - 1982-83. Together 184 vols. [with] other botanical material. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Berkeley (George). <i>A Treatise Concerning the principles of Human Knowledge, wherein the chief Causes of Error and Difficulty in the Sciences…</i> Part I, Dublin, 1710 Rare First Edn. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Ruskin (John). A large finely executed Pencil Drawing, captioned <i>Oxford Cathedral, The Choir,</i> & Signed 'J. Ruskin Ch. Ch. 1838. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Sir Edward L. Lutyens. Howth Castle Plans: A Series of 10 Original Architects Drawings and Sketches, Alterations and Additions for J.C. Gaisford St. Lawrence, County Dublin, Ireland. €8,000 to €12,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Newman (Rev. Fr. John Henry, later Cardinal, now Saint) A very good collection of 24 A.L.S. to [Thomas] Gaisford of the Gaisford St. Lawrence family of Howth Castle. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Manuscript Atlas: Hodges, Smith & Co. <i>The Estate of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Howth Situate in the County of Dublin,</i> lg. atlas folio Dublin (Hodges, Smith & Co.) 1863. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Anon. <i>Herbolario Volgare: nel quale se dimostra conoscer le herbe et le sue vrtu…</i> Sm. 8vo Venice (Gio Maria Palamides) 1539. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Baron (Caesar). <i>Annales Ecclesiastici</i>. [With] <i>Annalium Ecclesiasticorum Caesaris Baronii... Apparatus.</i> [With] <i>Index Universalis Rerum Omnium</i> [and one other]. 38 vols total. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b><center>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>The Library of Howth Castle<br>September 22nd & 23rd, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Log Books of Three British Warships. Three folio Volumes, containing meticulously arranged logs of the voyages of Royal Navy Ships from 1876 – 1881. €1,200 to €1,800.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Walpole (Robert). <i>Memoirs Relating to European and Asiatic Turkey,</i> lg. 4to Lond. 1817. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Sep. 22-23:</b> Bosio (Antonio). <i>Roma Sotteranea,</i> Opera Postuma. Large thick folio Rome (Guglielmo Facciotti) 1632. €1,000 to €1,500.
  • <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> ZEILER, Martin - <i>Topographiae Italiae.</i> Francoforte: Mattheus Merian, 1688. €3,500 to €4,500.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> HAMILTON, William, Sir -- HANCARVILLE, Pierre-Francois HUGUES - Collection of Etruscan, Greek and Roman Antiquities from the Cabinet of the Hon. William Hamilton. Napoli: Francois Morelli, 1766-67. €38,000 to €48,000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> [ASTRONOMIA] - Manoscritto astronomico. Italia: 1650. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Il Ponte, Sep. 21:</b> DALI, Salvador - <i>Biblia Sacra vulgatae editionis.</i> Edizione “Ad Personam” Milano: Rizzoli, 1967. €40,000 to €60,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions