So by now, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo or the Kondo-Effect. Kondo has created a little empire around tidying up. She’s written a book. She has a Netflix series. She has a website. She has a franchise. It’s not about getting rid of your crap, it’s about choosing joy.
Let’s just think about that for a minute.
When you last told your kids to “Clean up your room right now, dammit!” were you thinking, hmmm, I wonder how I could turn this into an empire? Or even hmmm, I wonder how I can inspire my kid to choose joy while picking up the dirty clothes, snot rags, food wrappers, dirty mold-covered dishes, and did that dust bunny just move?”*
Yeah. Me, neither. Totally kicking myself right now.
The Kondo-Effect was featured in a recent Vancouver Sun article about how people’s new year’s resolutions to get rid of stuff often means that thrift shops see an uptick in donations in January. Kondo’s Netflix series on tidying up premiered on January 1st. Coincidence? I think not.
None of this is bad. My husband and I recently spent an afternoon emptying a 2-drawer filing cabinet that we wanted to get rid of, which led to us reorganize our 4-drawer filing cabinet. All afternoon. We ended up with four bags of recycling/shredded materials and another box of documents to take to a professional shredder. It felt really, really good! And the little filing cabinet went to a friend, which also felt good.
Kondo’s whole premise is, if it doesn’t give you joy, then get rid of it. Mostly I think she’s right. The one area where I disagree with her is books. She says read it once then give it away. Clearly, she is not a die-hard book lover. Once?! What do you mean, “once”?!
Cleaning out my closet after every season has been something I’ve done for years. If I haven’t worn it in a year, it goes to thrift (or family/friends.) What I’ve noticed in myself in more recent years is that I am becoming more and more discerning in terms of what I bring home in the first place. I still have the occasional impulse-buy but mostly I ask myself the “joy-question” on the front end and – perhaps more importantly – I ask myself if I truly need it.
So Kondo would approve. But that’s the easy part, she starts with clothing and moves her way through your house leaving sentimental items to the very end. (Side bar: I’d LOVE to see her try and talk me and my hubby into parting with sentimental things. That would make for some hilarity on her show, methinks. “But my son drew that picture for me in grade two and now he’s a filmmaker! I can’t possibly part with that!” or “I’ve had this Ottawa Athletic Club towel since I was 22! I loved that job!” – and then you’d hear the story of all the famous people who came into the Ottawa Athletic Club when my husband was on shift and how he knew exactly what all their needs were and… you get the picture.)
So I’m realizing that I’ve intuitively been doing that around which Kondo has built an empire (sigh) but now I need to take it to the next level, moving beyond my clothes and filing cabinets to other rooms are areas in my house.
What I appreciated about the Vancouver Sun article today was a quote from the manager of the Union Gospel Mission thrift shop. Like many thrift shops, they give away a number of items to people who are in need.
“It’s really cool to see that something that may not spark joy anymore being life-changing to another person if you donate it.”
That’s the beauty of thrift, right?
Have you been influenced by the Kondo-Effect? How’s that going for you?
*Disclaimer: I may have exaggerated the state of my/your child’s bedroom. Pretty sure all the dust bunnies that used to live in my son’s room were inert.