Parenting

I Can't Get On Board With The KonMari Method, And Here's Why

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Elizabeth Broadbent

I know KonMari is your News Year’s resolution, and I am stalking Goodwill.

Because, let’s face it: I will never, ever KonMari.

To be clear, I have no issue with people who do partake in this method and find that it brings them happiness and decreased anxiety. I find Maria to be lovely too.

It’s just that my house is stuffed with stuff. That stuff includes everyday stuff, the toys and dishes and clothing and bathroom stuff. This stuff also includes all the art things: the craft stuff. The sewing stuff. The stuff for making mats for the homeless. It includes all the fossil stuff: the fossils themselves, the fossil preparation stuff, the buckets of excavation dirt, the Rikker boxes for displaying them. There’s the homeschool stuff. The camping stuff. My husband’s fishing stuff, which most assuredly does not spark my joy.

There is inherited stuff. We have lots of inherited stuff. In the same year we bought our house, my great-aunt died, my husband’s parents moved into the house his great-grandfather built, and his great-aunt move into a nursing home. That is a lot of displaced stuff. We were a very convenient dumping ground for said stuff.

I own no less than three sets of fine china, four if you count the Christmas stuff. I could easily ditch one of them; I’m just too lazy to dig it out of the attic, but the other two have to stay (because family). We have two sets of very nice silverware. We have glorious antiques and tchotckes —my husband’s grandfather used to own a brass company, and I used to collect antique marbles.

I am currently staring at matching horse brasses hanging on my wall. They do not bring me joy. In fact, they’re kind of ugly. But they’re family. We’ve rubbed off the harsh edges of each other, me and those horse brasses. They mean something to my husband, who was taught that throwing out things meant throwing out the people and memories associated with them. He probably needs some kind of therapy for this. But we need therapy for a lot of things, and that one’s pretty far down the list. So, the horse brasses stay.

Yeah, I do the closet-purging. I buy a lot of clothes. Except a year later, I’ll want that t-shirt, and I won’t be able to find it, and I’ll realize I ditched it. Most of it, of course, I’m super glad to have jettisoned off. But there’s always that one t-shirt. Every. Single. Time.

I think the KonMari people lie. You always regret that one awesome t-shirt. Maybe it doesn’t spark joy at the moment, because what’s sparking your joy is throwing things out, but in six months, you’re going to think, “Whatever happened to my Zildjan Drums shirt?”

Don’t lie to me, KonMari fans.

I went to Goodwill the other day. I found a shirt with a mostly-lace back and a henley front. I will probably only wear it a handful of times. But those four times will be great and I’ll definitely get my money’s worth.

I also have what you might delicately call a mug problem. I love mugs. We collect mugs from state parks, plus mugs we think are just generally awesome. I bought another one yesterday. I paid way too much for it, but it has a quote from my favorite show: “You all look like you did a crime last night.” It will spark joy in me when I use it, like, every two weeks or so. That’s probably not enough.

Slow your roll, KonMari fanatics. Because my other favorite mug tells me that I am fucking magical, and I need it. I feel like I need all of them, actually.

Then there’s the book problem. We have shelves and shelves and shelves of books, many of which we never ever read. But guess what — you never know when you might want to pick up a copy of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, Ernest Gaines’ A Gathering of Old Men, or Harry Crewes’ The Mulching of America (which I need to dig off the shelves, because now I want to read it). This does not count the multiple editions of Harry Potter and all our signed first editions of things. Don’t talk to me about libraries. My reading whims needs are desperate and fickle as the weather.

I also have lots of coffee table books. I have no coffee table.

So I am waiting, KonMari people. I am stalking. I know your good shit is coming soon to a thrift store near me and I can’t wait. I will dig through all the things that no longer bring you joy. So will my kids. They will bring us joy for a short time, begin to annoy me, and I will re-donate them. The cycle will continue. And we will buy more books and fossils and camping gear and craft stuff and god forbid fishing crap. We will not donate these things, they will just be added to our many collections.

My clutter and all this excess “stuff” comfort me. I live in a cozy cocoon of familiar clutter. And I like it that way, damn it. I guess you could say my clutter brings me joy. I think Marie would be okay with that.

And maybe, in that way, I am a teensy bit of a KonMari person.

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