Forget decluttering. KonMari is now all about re-cluttering.
Famous Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo has ruffled many feathers this week with the announcement of a new online store. People can now purchase elegant home furnishings that have passed her 'joy check', her signature test to detect if something 'sparks joy' and should therefore remain in one's possession. Presumably, these new items will fill the empty spaces freed up by the decluttering they've done at her behest.
The counterintuitive announcement was made in the Wall Street Journal, where Kondo conducted an interview through a translator. She explained that roughly half the products come from Japan, which contributes to "an aesthetic and sensibility that is undeniably Japanese in its simplicity and earthiness." She hopes to introduce people to Japanese tea ceremonies and bathing rituals through these purchases. (But aren't we supposed to not buy stuff for our future or imaginary selves, but rather shop based on current interests?)What makes it more confusing is what the items are. If you're looking for an $86 candle, a $150 handheld brass mirror, a $200 tea storage container, a $74 towel, and a $175 countertop compost holder, you've come to the right place. Kondo does not even use all of these products for herself, but says they are
"founded on [her company] KonMari’s world view, if you will, which really encourages you to choose what sparks joy for you and really cherish what you buy and what you surround yourself with."
I can understand wanting to build a collection of nice items for one's home, but I have always believed that much of the pleasure comes from discovering them yourself, such as the stunning hand-painted bowls I bought in an Istanbul market, the magnificent painting from a local gallery, the gorgeous quilt made by my grandmother, the wooden desk that my dad made for me when I was a kid. The things in my home that spark the greatest joy have a story behind them about people or skills or faraway places; they're not the kinds of things that arrive by FedEx truck on my doorstep, even if Marie Kondo chose them herself.
George Monbiot, the great British environmental writer, has no patience for this nonsense. He tweeted, "The entire economic model – which depends on the endless growth in consumption – relies on buying things you don't need, throwing them away, then replacing them with more things you don't need.
#MarieKondo is merely following its inexorable logic." Others are treating it with more humour:
Persevere with your #MarieKondo clear out and with the eBay sales you can perhaps purchase a $180 cheese knife from her new store 👏🙄— Morag Macdonald (@mogstolsta) November 19, 2019
But it's pretty clear that KonMari has let us down.