The life changing magic of giving up
FEBRUARY 1 — The strangest thing I’ve seen this week was the inordinate glee at Marie Kondo, she who sparks joy with her tidying tips, admitting her house is a lot messier now with three children.
Some people were even saying she owed them an apology for her prescriptions on tidying that were just not applicable to their own lives.
I am a big fan of self-organisational books and before “does this spark joy” became a meme, I had already purchased Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
The thing about Kondo’s advice is that it’s just that — advice.
She talks about things that worked for her but are not guaranteed to work for every single person and it was just off-putting that numerous articles painted her as this overzealous, minimalistic shrew who thought everyone should learn to get by with just a pair of chopsticks and a dustpan.
Marie Kondo admitted her house is a lot messier now with three children. — Picture via Instagram/Marie Kondo
Kondo’s way of folding has made my clothes organisation a lot simpler. It takes a lot less space to roll up clothing items and arrange them in a drawer.
Alas, my least-favourite cat decimated my wardrobe drawers. What’s left of my clothes are now hanging up safe from terrible animals.
So in a way I can relate to Kondo’s change of circumstance. It’s easy to keep things clean and tidy when it’s just you and a careful selection of household items.
Throw in children or pets, or even both into the mix, and you up the difficulty setting to max.
Kondo has pivoted instead to helping people find ways to find happiness in their daily lives.
That acceptance of her new circumstances and willingness to adapt, as well as find new purpose — isn’t that admirable?
Being inflexible and unwilling to reassess your priorities as needed is limiting.
Yet some lessons remain — that sometimes you really need to rethink what’s worth holding onto, whether possessions or mindsets.
What is evident though is that letting go of the need to be perfect or live our lives to match some unattainable social media ideal is perhaps far more essential to our well-being than some people can admit to themselves.
To the people obsessed with Kondo’s (imagined) slights, perhaps you need to ask yourself why you are projecting your lack of joy on other people.
In the end, a little cleaning isn’t a bad thing and neither is deciding the tidying can wait for you to find out what really is making you unhappy.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.