I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a couple years ago. As a long-term minimalist, I was underwhelmed. Partly it was her (or her translator’s) use of the words “always” and “never” when referring to what her clients were to do and how they felt about it. Except for the maxim that we will all die, I tend to see human feelings and behaviors on a continuum, not as absolutes. And then there was the chapter that had her attorney clients destroying all their paper documents. I have no idea what the requirements for document storage is in Japan, but I know that attorneys in the United States are required to keep client documents for years after they close their practices, as well as for an active practice.
So, I kind of wrote her off as a means-well minimalist, still too young to have gotten into too much trouble. I read she got married, and thought, “Okay, now things will get interesting.” Then she had a couple of girls, both under my radar. Now she has a Netflix show. And I am smitten.
First of all, she is just a joy to watch. She has a manner of moving and speaking that is a combination of serene and playful that makes whatever she is doing on camera fun. She smiles like the Buddha as she tells the cluttered Americans to pile all their clothing on the bed. And you know, you just know, that as the mountain of clothes reaches toward the ceiling, she is probably giggling on the inside knowing that she is going to give them the homework of touching every article of clothing before deciding what to do with it.
I love watching her “greet” the house, which appears to be a meditation where she connects with the energy of the house. Kudos to the one American family who greeted their house with her.
I could do less with the greetings of the humans at the doorways every time she and her interpreter arrive or leave. I would rather see more of the house inhabitants talking about their internal process as they deal with their accumulated stuff. But there is plenty of that too.
I like the variety of the families that have been chosen for the show: preparing for a baby, letting go of a deceased family member’s things, marrying the objects of young couples. There are lessons for all of us. And it was good to see her be flexible with one of her clients who wished to do this out of the “proper” order.
I like listening to Marie tell us and show us in her studio home how to deal with particularly challenging items like children’s toys and paper documents. And I like that she has apparently created a uniform for herself: White tops/jackets, skirts and dresses and black tights with black flat shoes. She is a charming persona and I am delighted with the show.
I still have questions about the Konmari folding. It seems to me that every time you pull out a T-shirt folded to stand on it’s end, it will inevitably have wrinkles in it. And lumping kitchen, bathroom and garage under a “miscellaneous” category seems unwieldly large to me. But I guess the shows producers can keep everybody on track for the length of filming. You would probably want to keep all those things separated out if you were doing your own place by yourselves, on the weekends.
How about you all? Are you fans of the book or the show?