“Marie Kondo and the Rise of Clutter Shaming,” I read. What the hell is clutter shaming? I thought. So I clicked through to, if nothing else, see if I would learn about more millennial angst-speak.
The author (who freely admits that he would ban straws, won’t buy his kids material presents, and supports taxing everyone into the Stone Age,) says
… thinking that we have too much worthless junk lying around in our landfills and our homes is not the same thing as dressing up a bad argument for minimalism with mystic mumbo-jumbo.WSJ
Well, I certainly don’t buy into the whole Thank The House, Thank Your Stuff aspect of KonMarie. Sorry, I just don’t do the Shinto thing. And while every movement has its wacko fanatics. I’m sure there are plenty of Marie Kondo devotees who believe the path to enlightenment begins (and probably ends) at your wastebasket. Hey, if living in an empty box flips your skirt up, be my guest. But the opposite argument, that clutter is to be cherished, is also to miss the point.
When you look at a book of Victorian interiors, you don’t see minimalism.
No. In the carefully curated pictures of Victorian households, you aren’t looking at “clutter,” per se. You’re looking at photos of families who were so rich, their main pastime was sitting around figuring out who would get married off to whom. These people were so concerned with Staying Upper Class, they invented eugenics. What you’re looking at, in these photos, is the Accumulated Stuff of Generations. The difference between it and clutter is equal parts How Much Is It Worth and family stories like “Oh, Uncle Howard brought that back after he opened an Egyptian pyramid.” Half their stuff are museum pieces.
Drunk-walking wind-up dino? Not so much.
Kondo’s basic philosophy is: your mental well-being is affected by your clutter level, probably in ways you haven’t considered. So, rearranging your stuff is one way to tidy your life in general. She specifically says, don’t just toss it all out. Figure out what’s really important to you and fit it into your life.
Make a commitment. Own it. Don’t waffle about “Well Maybe Someday I’ll Use It.” She’s too polite to say it, but her KonMarie method is summed up in “Shit or get off the pot.”
Clutter-clutchers, defenders of hanging onto your crap, soft-sell wafflers – in the usual Millennial mold, you want someone to tell you it’s okay to just carry on like nothing’s wrong, and your refusal to commit to a decision is cheeky, or even a rebellious act of bravery!
It’s not. Shit or get off the pot.