When Tidying Queen Marie Kondo said her house isn’t so tidy anymore, the Internet went abuzz. I can only imagine the confusion from the Konmari method enthusiasts, and maybe a sense of validation from parents of young kids everywhere.
Author of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and someone who called herself a “professional tidier”, Kondo also had a Netflix series Tidying Up — so there’s no dispute that she truly is (or was?) The Tidying Queen.
Her motto — keep only what sparks joy, has been well received and served as guidance for many who embark on the task of decluttering. By committing yourself to tidying up, discarding stuff, and following her approach, the KonMari Method is supposed to ensure “you will never again relapse into clutter.”
My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my lifeMarie Kondo
So what now? Should we all give up too?
I think what we can learn here is while the method itself may not be universal (i.e. if you are a mother of two young kids you shouldn’t be expected to be in a level of tidiness the book pushes for), the philosophy might still be. At the end of it all, it should be about choosing what sparks joy in you. This varies from person to person, and could even be different for you at different stages in your life.
Hearing about her statements actually made me search for books that actually stood the test of time in terms of relevance. At first, it turned up classic literary works like Romeo and Juliet (so ill-fated love stories are actually timeless, I guess) and Odyssey.
But after refining my Google search to non-fiction, I got some memoirs and biographies as top entries in the best non-fiction books of all times. There are so many fascinating titles here that I wish I had more time to read! I can only hope that after adding some of them to my reading list, they also get turned into Netflix productions in the future!
Oh and I also learned that there were discontinued Dr Seuss books because of their hurtful portrayals and racist imagery.
What’s striking (but still understandable) is that there are not many self-help books that stood the test of time. Aside from the fast-paced changes that are occurring around us, I think we’re also shifting in terms of the way we think. What was acceptable before may be considered vulgar and offensive now. What’s considered normal then could be utterly criminal right now. What’s good advice then maybe the reason you fail now.
As for tidying up, chasing after a level of tidiness dictated to you by someone who does not truly understand the nuances of your life can be stressful. You may just feel overwhelmed by a long list of things to do and a barrage of thoughts constantly fighting for airtime in your mind.
And judging from the many memes I’ve come across last week, it’s evident that a lot of people have just started to realise that. Netizens actually shared both new memes and memes that have been around for some time. I have to say, some were pretty funny.
The year is 2035. Marie Kondo holds up the condemned man to the crowd. “Does this man spark joy?” The crowd jeers, “No he does not!” She nods silently and throws him into the pit.— they/them might be giants ☭ (@babadookspinoza) January 13, 2019
Nonetheless, her admission is still an act of courage and authenticity. And I’m glad people are embracing her for that. It seems her display of vulnerability turned out to be something good for her brand.
So yeah, I guess it comes down to applying the core message of her books rather than the details of it. Especially if your life is overwhelming right now. It doesn’t have to be about motherhood even. It could be about work, relationships, self-healing, or some other reasons you are struggling to survive on your own terms.
Each of us faces difficulties no one may know about. And trying to follow a method that does not take into consideration the factors in your life that matter simply won’t spark joy.