So what have I been up to maybe someone wonders? So much. I’ve been watching Netflix, and there is this tiny Japanese lady named Marie Kondo who organizes stuff for clueless Americans (like me!) When I first saw her show, “Tidying Up” I said “She is so cute, it’s like I could put her in my pocket!” And Thing Two who loves all things Japanese said, “I know, right?” So we watched her program. This is a girl who is really into mess. I mean she gets super excited and bounces up and down. She really needs to come to my house. I could have this chick in hysterics.
First she wrote a book called “Tidying up” because “tidy” sounds better than “Throwing away a lot of crap”. I have not read her book yet, but it sounds like one of those you either really love or hate. Apparently, some Americans aren’t impressed with practical advice coupled with blessing your socks and whatnot. But there’s more, so much more!
Like she has her own T.V. show on Netflix, as I said, and she doesn’t even speak English. She has an interpreter follow her around who I guess tells her whatever nonsense the American homeowner is saying, though we rarely see her doing this interpreting to Marie. I think it’s because the interpreter mostly just makes that hand motion of “blah blah blah” and Marie’s like, got it, and smiles and nods her head a lot, which is enough to satisfy her customers.
So what makes Marie different from other organizing gurus besides being so cute -omg one time she hopped on a decorative carousel horse which would crack under my weight but practically floated under her – and Japanese? It turns out Japanese people are different from us. They are tiny because they have tiny houses on a tiny island. Also, they eat a lot of rice and veggies and possibly poisonous seafood instead of cows. So without a lot of space, you can only store so much stuff. Their solution is to keep most of their stuff in enormous stores selling Hello Kitty and only Hello Kitty.
Yet we only have the option of expensive storage units that people raid on TV here, so we have to figure out how to clean out the big messes we can’t afford in the big houses we can’t afford. Japanese people are not only different than us, they also think differently. I took a class years ago on Non-Western world literature that freaked out most of my classmates because we had to make “paradigm shifts” to understand another culture. (I never hear “paradigm shift” anymore, so maybe it’s called something like “Special Snowflake Shift”.) In Japan they have Shinto, and no that is not a restaurant (pretty sure?) It’s like a religion, but not a religion, so kind of more like Buddhism, though it’s not that either. Basically you just have it as a way of life, got it? Great.
Marie takes aspects of Shintoism that are really nutso, like paying respect for your possessions. In one episode, she gets on her knees to understand the house (So sorry these people messed you up!) and the family awkwardly closes their eyes like they are doing the same thing, though I know the parents are secretly wondering how their Tinder profiles are doing.
This inanimate object stuff is really big with Marie, though. First you take, say, all your clothes and throw them in a one big pile (this has to be ouchy for the clothes I’d think) and then you pick up one piece at a time and decide if it “sparks joy” for you. If you aren’t sparked, you are supposed to thank it for serving you (oh thank underwear for hiding my butt) and put it in the “get rid of” pile. I love watching the men especially thank their T-shirts, etc., cause you know as soon as Marie leaves they are going back to tossing it at the nearest pile.
She also likes folding, and by folding I mean she makes clothes into tiny napkin rings and places them neatly in a drawer. If I went to that much trouble folding my clothes, I’m not sure if I’d ever wear them again. Maybe that’s the secret? I haven’t seen it on the show yet, but apparently in the book Marie is super concerned for socks, describing how they have to protect your feet from brutal beatings and deserve a rest. I can only imagine what she thinks about our underwear. Maybe we should just immediately make them funeral pyres out of mercy.
I know this all sounds weird, but that’s because she’s weird, only her weird comes in handy. She tells about being a child of five who entertained herself by reading cleaning magazines and advising her mother on how to better clean their house. I bet that went over well. Her method of cleaning even has a name, the “KonMari Method” taken from her name. Yup, she thought that up herself. She has plenty of fans who are even stranger though, calling themselves “Konverts” (get it?) and purging their houses in fits of “Kondomania”.
I realize I’ve poked fun at little Marie, but I honestly kind of like her style. Is it that bad to be thankful that we do have so much crap we have to get rid of it? My anxiety peaks while walking around my messy house, which I see much more of now. I long for a nice, peaceful empty space free of dust and piles of clutter. I love my things, though, and there’s just no way I’m getting a “minimalist” house that looks like an art museum (1 painting per white room) with a husband, kids, and myself in the way. And that’s okay. Maybe I could just make a start.
As soon as I’m finished watching the latest episode.