The Origin Story of Marie Kondoâ€™s Decluttering Empire
Joyce Park stashed this in Ranch house
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Was the KonMari method inspired by Shinto, tsunami, or Muji?
Perhaps it was inspired by all three.Â
As a recovering clutterbug myselfâ€”though not a minimalist and not a fan generally of the how-to genreâ€™s Manichean, one-size-fits-all prescriptionsâ€”I admit I find aspects of the so-called KonMari Method (a contraction of Kondo Mariko, her name in the Japanese style) compelling, if not altogether original. The methodâ€™s anchoring principle, that we hang onto only what â€śsparks joy,â€ť deftly reconfigures the notion of tidying and decluttering as mere throwing away: transformative existential keeping seems to be Kondoâ€™s lesson. There are echoes, too, of Joseph Campbellâ€™s dictum, â€śFollow your bliss.â€ť Kondoâ€™s other main strategy finesses the pangs of letting go by calling for a considered, thankful hail and farewellâ€”a ceremony, not a ham-fisted trash-bagging. Clutter, the English psychoanalyst and design teacher Jane Graves wrote in â€śThe Secret Life of Objects,â€ť is always about memory, and so emotion and sentiment. Tidying, then, is intimate work, and therefore sensitive to conceptualizing and to the subtleties of slogans. A veteran New York design journalist told me that her daughter was a KonMari convert because she felt not reproach but rather an embracing, cheery respect. This conspicuous respect extends to the clutterer, the cluttered premises, and the clutter-objects themselves. It brings a light animism to even your old socks.