Marie Kondo’s Magical Tidying Irks Me

Pixabay. Stevepb. Free for comm use; no attrib. req'd

There’s something about Marie Kondo’s joy-sparking-tidying-up success that irks me. 

Maybe it’s that she’s making a fortune as a Tidying Coach, a job that didn’t exist when I was younger. I might’ve embraced it, if it had, given my childhood tidying tendencies.

Maybe it’s because tidying up seems like something we should’ve learned along the hallways of life. Ok, maybe not joyfully, but still. Some adult in our life should’ve set some tidying standard for us to live up to so we could learn our tidying skills along the way.

Or maybe her approach reminds me of ambivalence around my own stuff. Given a society that encourages getting ever more, acquiring is supposed to be good.  And yet, have you ever felt confused overwhelm as stuff stacks up in closets, cupboards and garages? If buying stuff is supposed to feel good, why does being surrounded by all our stuff sometimes feel like crap?

Sometimes I think we like to buy more than necessarily own, but that’s just me.

When Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book came out in 2011, the desire to declutter and organize wasn’t a new idea. There are bookshelves full on the subject, published over decades. Given that the theme and suggested solutions survive and thrive, I imagine we hope there’s a magic-bean solution to dealing with our stuff. We’re sure the next idea will be the path to the promised land.

Kondo’s book was the next idea. It hit at the perfect storm of opportunity: boomers getting older—facing their own and aging parents’ stuff—while simultaneously realizing their kids don’t want multiple-generations of accumulated stuff. Now what.

Now what is Marie Kondo: diminutive, cute, Japanese-speaking with an element of the exotic. She offers magic and joy and life changing results. How could we not fall in love this new idea? We are sure—absolutely positive—that this system—this approach from another culture, imbued with an eastern religion promise—will solve our clutter and disorganization problems. 

It could become our new faith.

And it’s easy, too, right? We love easy.  Ask the question: “does this spark joy?” Yes? It stays, No? It goes.

After we spend half a lifetime acquiring stuff, Marie Kondo promises to help us get rid of it. Not only easily and without feeling guilty, but—hallelujah—with joy!  We can be redeemed from our sins of overconsumption.  We can continue to enjoy acquiring stuff, knowing Kondo will help us enjoy getting rid of it.

No wonder she irks western-religion-raised me.  Where’s the guilt in that?

Photo source: stevepb on Pixabay


A Conversational Pearl

Pixabay EliasSch Free for comm use No attrib requ'd

Bubba and I have a handy two-word conversational pearl that lubricates our conversations; it affably suggests agreement while is simultaneously totally non-committal.  Even though we both know the truth behind our use of it, like flattery, it works.

Me: “I think the air quality is going to be good today.”

Bubba: “Could be.”

Could be.

No argument. So agreeable. Yet so much wiggle room for the possibility that Bubba doesn’t agree.

Bubba: “I think the couch would look better on the other side of the room.”

Me: “Could be.”

How lovely that you have that opinion. It’s possible the couch would look better there. But for now, while I mull it over, let’s just leave it be.

It’s an excellent response to an opinion or to anything that can’t be immediately proven.

It obviously doesn’t fit all situations, but when it does, it’s perfect. Used at the right moment, it has proven its brilliance at preserving our loving relationship, preventing conversations from hitting sandpaper, and usually making us laugh. 

Photo source: EliasSch on Pixabay


Costco Shopping Daze

Clark Young, UnsplashI like to think when I walk into a retail store that I’m going to walk in, stride over to what I need, check out, and go home.

Rarely does it go that smoothly.

Retail stores know how to entice. Their shelves and displays, with their temptations, sale signs, and ever-changing inventory, pull me in and before I know it, I’m in a shopper’s daze.

Costco is fiercely adept at this retail game: they constantly move products around; provide no signage, forcing wayward wandering; go big on seasonal displays; and eliminate products with enough randomness to suggest the idea of future scarcity.  Must. Buy. Now.

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Pain and the Impromptu Gift

18_gift1-e1521327996389.jpgI was talking with a woman I knew marginally, our interactions connected to our non-profit work. As we finished up, she caught site of a ring I was wearing. I don’t wear rings often. This one gets more use than others because I’m particularly fond of it.

“That’s beautiful!” she said, and asked if she could try it on. I handed it to her.  She put it on her right finger, commenting that it fit perfectly.

I did something out of character: I looked at her and said “keep it.”

“What?” she said, startled.

“Keep it,” I responded, “it’s yours.”

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