Marie Kondo’s Netflix show ‘Tidying Up’ is all the rage lately. People can’t wait to declutter and purge unnecessary stress and anxiety from their lives. I am one of them.
Following her signature advice to toss that which does not spark joy, the show traces Kondo’s experiences helping families get a grip on organizing both their material possessions and their sanity. And while I’ll admit that after just 15 minutes into the first episode, I was more inspired to light a match and start over than to dump all our clothing into one large pile to start the sorting process (as my husband said, “The only good reason to do that is if you’re about to pour some accelerant on it and walk away”), investigating Kondo’s practice has encouraged us to get started on some eviction of our own stuff.
But despite the inevitable freedom that may come with disposing of that which no longer ignites happiness within us, there are also other considerations we should be making when beginning the decluttering process. Considerations Rachel Kenney so eloquently highlighted in a recent post to Facebook.
Kenney’s post begins:
KonMari to your hearts’ content, people. I probably will, too, because damn it if Marie Kondo isn’t adorably convincing…especially when she treats your home like a person she cherishes and also recommends cute, tiny baskets and boxes. It really is probably a better way to live our lives, this whole reminding ourselves of simplicity, efficiency, and little joys.
Amen to that. Rather than coming in like a drill sergeant, Kondo exudes gentleness and respect in her approach to decrapifying, reminding us that while we can be appreciative of the usefulness of the things we’ve collected over time, living minimally has its perks. It’s no wonder people are drawn to her philosophy.
But Kenney’s post continues with some poignant reminders about what all those things we’re disposing of might mean to someone else:
When you get rid of Coats #4-6 because they don’t make you feel fabulous anymore, remember that they might be great for a kid at your local school who doesn’t even have Coat #1 to “spark” warmth at the bus stop. And maybe a couple of that kid’s friends, too.
When you de-shelve all the books that no longer inspire you, remember that there might be a local teacher with students whose minds have yet to be “sparked” by the ideas between those covers.
When you finally make enough room in your kitchen cabinets that you can open them without Tupperware barfing itself all over the place, remember that a woman living at a local shelter might be able to use your extra gadgets and doo-dads to “spark” some independence from whomever or whatever is holding her down.
YES, YES, and YES! I try to be mindful of the points Kenney makes, which is probably why I have been unsuccessful in truly purging so far. And while I make it a point to donate as much as possible, we all know what often happens during that process: You box it up, set it aside to drop off at Goodwill or the Salvation Army, and then forget about it for 8-36 months. Instead of cleaning out, you end up merely moving your junk around the house from one place to another, never really clearing the clutter of your home or your mind.
It’s Kenney’s final point, though, that really hits home:
And even after you’re feeling accomplished and lighter with bare linen closets, empty shelves, and sock drawers that close properly, remember that Mother Earth can’t KonMari ANY of the sh*t she might inherit from you.
BAM. The ultimate truth. While simply collecting clutter in boxes I forget to take to donation centers is one reason I’m decidedly a Marie Kondo flunkee, it’s the thought of littering landfills with even more of my crap that really prevents me from getting rid of my things. I can’t stand the thought that by reducing my own stress at home, I’m adding more to the Earth.
So what’s the takeaway? Simple.
Instead of just dumping things in boxes or the trash can, really be mindful of where those things might prove useful. Contact local shelters, schools, and philathropic agencies and ask what they need. And then organize your donation bins accordingly and make it a point to GET THOSE THINGS THERE IN A TIMELY MANNER .
Sure, it’s going to take a lot more work and determination than swiftly chucking items into a dumpster or hiding them away in a storage closet, but at the end of the day, not only will your house be clutter-free; so will your conscience.