By now, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and her organizational methods. They involve getting rid of anything that, when you hold it, doesn’t “spark joy.” It’s about cherishing what you have and letting go of what doesn’t make you feel good.
She’s written four books and just launched a Netflix series called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” that is surprisingly touching and sweet. And memes abound.
I watched it thinking I’d learn how to fold my clothes better and create more space on my bookshelves (I mean, the online bourgeoisie just about broke the internet from ire after she suggested giving up books, so I was preparing my bibliophile self emotionally).
I started taking note of the things I have that I need not, like books that collect more dust than curious eyes, and clothes I haven’t worn in, well, sometimes ever.
Three can openers? Two of those certainly aren’t sparking joy (or opening cans), so thank you, but goodbye.
The ends of wrapping paper rolls that aren’t big enough to cover a present? You take up space in my garage, but not in my heart, so I hope your recycled life brings you incredible meaning.
To the half bowl of cereal in the box: You’re disrespecting my bowl. Gracias. And ta-ta.
This is a therapeutic exercise, one that doesn’t have to end with objects in my kitchen or garage. I began to look around me, unearthing some broader joy-suck (new word!), and I started listing all of the things I beheld that didn’t “spark joy.”
I started with that horrendous sound people make when eating a banana. (I can’t even believe they’re allowed in public) and then added superfluous or impossible-to-open packaging (why are scissors always so far away?).
I got on a roll:
Endless threads of unnecessary reply-all emails (UNSUBSCRIBE).
People walking backward in crowded places (don’t let my toes be the undeserving recipients of your lack of direction).
Kids’ toys that don’t have volume control (dang it, bud, Mommy accidentally hit that with a hammer — thrice).
That person who, despite your blinker and three-minute wait, zips in and takes your parking spot (they’re in your capable hands now, Karma).
The narrow constraints of professional attire (increased discomfort = decreased performance, fools!).
The requirement that ads for pharmaceuticals have to list ANY AND ALL potential side effects (pro tip: “May cause death” is not a strong selling point).
My heart was racing and the ideas were flowing. I could barely keep up. And then everything seemed to escalate. We were far beyond unread books and banana eating now.
What about that bill in the Legislature that would deny people the right to change their gender marker on their birth certificate (why do the rest of us get to have our documents reflect our true selves?).
Or, even bigger, that women of the world lack any autonomy (kindly remove your unwanted parts and policy from invading our bodies).
And the lawmakers who act like marionettes controlled by the strings of their religious faith.
Or that Utah still allows conversion therapy, a devastatingly flawed practice that is literally killing our young people.
The list went on (and included more and perhaps spicier items than I could include here), but ended with: a president whose ego is only outsized by his inability, and whose disregard for truth and goodness will — without intervention — be among the most detrimental to the stability of life on Earth.
Um, Marie Kondo, I’m not sure I’m I doing this right?
Marina Gomberg is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.