Because I’m a self-proclaimed minimalist, people often ask me about Marie Kondo. Most of the time, the people asking are fans of hers, which is where it gets awkward. They assume that I think she’s fabulous, and start getting upset when my response isn’t over-the-top praise. I give them my opinion, and then they jump in, start correcting me, and tell me that I don’t understand. Which, as a side note, is never the way to sway me over to your side. There’s science to back that up.
Marie Kondo Is Not A Minimalist
I have read her book twice, and I just finished watching all 10 episodes of her Netflix show. She and I are not playing the same sport. Her philosophy seems very materialistic to me, whereas my practice is very much a rejection of materialism and consumer culture. There is a fetishization of stuff that is the diametric opposite of what most modern minimalists practice. I’m not going to “wake up” my books, or thank my old clothes for their service. They’re inanimate objects. Stop anthropomorphizing possessions.
On some level I do get the “spark joy” thing, and most minimalists agree that having some decorative items in your home is nice. I have art on the walls, and a stuffed unicorn on my desk. They serve a purpose — they make the space pleasant to be in. But if you keep things because they spark joy, why can’t you just declare that everything sparks joy and keep it? Oh, right, because it’s old, worn out, unnecessary, redundant, and you want more space for other stuff that is useful, necessary, and sparks more joy.
You Do You
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do KonMari if it works for you. This post isn’t meant to slag on people who have found it beneficial. All I want is for people to stop assuming that the journey toward simple living is the same for everyone. Tidying up isn’t minimalism. My simple living isn’t the simple living of Epicurus, or Henry David Thoreau, or the Luddites, or the Amish. And it’s not the obsessive-compulsive tidying up of Marie Kondo.