I happened across the Marie Kondo movement a few years ago, when I snuck into my sister’s bedroom to try and steal a t-shirt- sorry Mia- and noticed that all of her clothes were folded in a peculiar way. Upon asking her, and thus being reprimanded for snooping in her chest of drawers, she told me that Marie Kondo taught her how to fold her clothes so that everything is visible, making it easier to find and choose clothes. I was bemused by this, as I had never fathomed that I was folding my clothes wrong. I pondered it for a while, but quickly forgot about Kondo and her method until this year, when Tidying Up with Marie Kondo premiered on Netflix.
Marie Kondo is attempting to tidy the world
With an army of 2.9 million ‘Konverts’ on Instagram, and a place on Times’ 100 most influential people list, Marie Kondo is attempting to tidy the world. She shot to fame in 2011 with her novel The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, which subsequently has sold over 6 million copies. With her softly spoken instructions and relatively easy to follow method, Kondo wishes to spark joy with everything that we do and own.
The ‘spark joy’ method has fascinated people the world over, the premise being, if you pick up an object or item of clothing in your house and it sparks joy, you may neatly put it away, if not, it goes in the bin. After following her trademarked method, we are supposed to be left with only the things that fill us with unprecedented happiness. The praise for this method came flooding in, with many people’s houses never having looked so organised and clutter free.
However, since the arrival of her new series and a few misplaced comments, her technique has come into heavy debate. In relation to books, Kondo says to a young couple whose house she is Kondo-ing, if you have read it already, then you won’t read it again, and if you haven’t read it yet, you never will; thereby encouraging us to part with our beloved literary collections. This particular snippet of advice did not spark joy with many bibliophiles. In fact, it sparked outrage; myself included. Books are part of our interiors, part of the furnishing of a house; a book can spark joy time and time again and re-reading an old favourite is not an uncommon past time for many people. I understand Kondo’s ideals, and being a minimalist is something that many people aspire to, but in a world where bad news shocks us every day, is there any shame in wanting to re-read Little Women for the ninth time? The comforting power of re-reading a book or re-watching a film is endless, and something that should not be taken for granted.
a book can spark joy time and time again
With the rise of fast fashion and quick-buy culture, Amazon Prime, and ASOS next day, we get upset if our parcel doesn’t arrive within moments of clicking complete order. Maybe a pressure to own only things that spark joy is a welcome change, but I think that Kondo needs to stay far away from our bookshelves if her career is to carry on with the success and predicted longevity that she is currently enjoying.