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Is Marie Kondo Crazy?

KondocoverIf there is a cult of Marie Kondo, then after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I would have gladly become a follower and started singing Kondo's praises on a street corner. The book, if you've somehow missed it, is a revolutionary approach to de-cluttering and organization that uses an emotional guide for choosing what stays and what goes. It's really kind of amazing how well it works. 

But then came the follow up book, Spark Joy: The Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I don't know, maybe it was the pressure--publishers love nothing more than a runaway bestseller. Unless it's a second runaway bestseller. And ASAP.

Spark Joy is like Kondo's first book... on crack. There are instructions for, I kid you not, how to fold your underwear--illustrated by a line drawing of a pair of granny panties being folded into thirds. I get that optimizing space is the goal, but seriously? 

PanThe other part that made me think some marbles have fallen out of Kondo's otherwise very organized bag concerns items that may not give us joy, but which we might consider necessary. Case in point, a hammer. Kondo recounts a typical exchange with a client who says she needs to keep her hammer because, even though it brings no feelings of joy, it is useful. Well, Kondo has a hammer story of her own to share: after she threw out a hammer because of a worn out handle (um, how does that even happen?) she used a frying pan to pound nails. I know you are picturing this right now. I certainly did. And that's when I decided that Marie Kondo had jumped the shark. 

I'm glad I read the first book first--if I'd started out with Spark Joy, I would have thought the approach was WAY too much work and a little bit insane and I would still have three closets and two dressers full of clothes I don't need (or, as it turns out, really want). So if you've heard about this tidying magic thing but haven't dipped into either book yet, take my advice and stick with the original--you, and your hammer, will thank me later.


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