Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week, you’ve probably heard that Netflix has got a brand new docu-style show everyone’s talking about. Tidying With Marie Kondo follows Japanese organising consultant Marie - you’ll remember her as the one who wrote the best-selling The Life Changing Magic of Tidying - as she visits various American homesteads, helping families, couples and singletons alike to declutter their homes and re-discover which of their belongings ‘spark joy,’ getting rid of the ones that don’t.
Like most semi-basic millennials, I’ve lapped this show up. Seeing an ever-smiling Marie and her translator bounce into people’s homes, helping them to fall in love with where they live again, is just the sort of heart-warming, hug-for-the-soul television we need during this miserable, cold time of year. But unlike what feels like everyone else watching, I have absolutely no desire to use her methods myself. Sorry, not sorry.
My tidying style is most akin to that of widow Margie Hodges from Episode Four. On entering her house it appears to be extremely organised – almost show home-esque – but scratch beneath the surface and it’s a whole other story as Marie discovers she’s hoarding boxes of belongings and has whole rooms dedicated to things she needs to sort. Which is kind of like the drawers under my bed (full of trinkets) or the cupboards in my living room (full of trinkets).
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While Marie uses the five categories - clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental - to help streamline the organising process, I believe the majority of my belongings fall under glamorously named category of ‘assorted crap.’ From decorative bowls (too many to count), to a collection of curling tongs, sunglasses, beauty products, old birthday cards, a plant pot I stole from a Be At One (sorry)… The list could go on. I have a lot of things. Things in boxes, things hanging up, things in bags and drawers and jumbled wicker baskets.
Things I’ve bought for myself, things I’ve had bought for me, things I’ve borrowed from people and forgotten to give back. Things from my childhood and from my 15 years living out of home. But each time I think about getting rid of them, I can’t. I think my love of things stems from my childhood, when I didn’t have many. Growing up on a remote island off the coast of Cornwall, shopping was something that we did only once a year and, as my family didn’t have huge amounts of money, it was heavily restricted.
I longed for the silly items that I own now; prints to hang on the wall and glass ornaments, twirling but not-at-all-practical jewellery stands and decorative cushions. Things which I certainly don’t need but that I want. So when I think of getting rid of them it reminds me of how hard I had to work to get them in the first place. Even though, undoubtedly, like the people on Marie’s show, over the years I have accumulated what might be considered to be too many.
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On a more serious level though, I also can’t help but feel that being told that we should all live a minimalist lifestyle is just another thing for us to feel potential shame about. We’ve grown up as part of a generation that was endlessly shamed for not having enough; the latest phone, the latest shoes or the latest bag and now we’re older we’re told to shun fast fashion, fast furniture and do away with the disposable.
But what if the disposable is all you have but you love those things anyway? And after years of being told that we must have everything now is it so wrong to actually take enjoyment from owning these items even if you don’t use them every day? Maybe I just have a huge capacity for sparking joy from everything I own or maybe it’s just that I don’t want to get rid of something I might later regret, but all I know is, I won’t be Marie Kondo’ing my house any time soon and I won’t be feeling bad about it either.