Me (in the white sweater I will soon earn) and my hedgehog.
The Demi Kondo. The Quasi KonMari. The partial Marie. Whatever you call that time when you have started to declutter your life with the KonMari Method as created by #1 New York Times best-selling author and Japanese simplifying guru, Marie Kondo, but have only completed part of Tidying Up—only sparked a blip of joy. This is where I dwell.
I’m trying to practice more self love, so I’m likening this time to an Olympic skating competition. In this fantasy, I’m a world-class athlete attempting a quadruple toe loop but I‘m a little wonky going into it, and I only land a double. The crowd’s cheers are tepid and the haters snort and say, “I told you she couldn’t do it!” But it’s still a double toe loop, you guys! That’s not easy! You try it after a zamboni just buttered the ground! I dare you!
This is the 2nd time I’ve Kon Mari-ed (It clearly begs to be a verb.). The first time was four years ago. That time I gave away four garbage bags of clothes (four bags, Woot! Woot!) and 12 boxes of books (somebody start The Wave!) But I lost momentum at the papers. The twelve story zombie that is my file cabinet. The crates of important things, like my kids’ kindergarten homework packets and Christmas cards from Y2K. Like a good pupil, I dumped the expired coupons and Instruction booklets for appliances I no longer own, but at some point, I lost control, leaned back on my skates, and flipped over the wall, never to re-enter the ice. I forewent the roses (Would they have been tomatoes? Stop that! They were roses!).
I look back now and think, I wasn’t ready to embrace universal tidiness. Some part of me must revel in chaos. Like a cat rolling on a pile of clean laundry, a piece of me seeks the forbidden realm of disorder—the same part of me that craved a third child or, as Jim Gaffigan puts it, When you’re drowning and you ask someone to hand you a baby.
Be that as it may, this time I’m determined to complete a full KonMari—Two Quads in quick succession. So I watch Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, for motivation. I’m normally a look-forward type of person, but I have to say, I wish this show would have debuted five years ago—things might have ended differently in my first tidying contest—I might have quadruple axeled my way to glory. Because when I see the Marie Kondo in action, it all makes sense. Four years ago I would grumble, “Well of course she can fit her whole life in a cracker box, she doesn’t have three kids and a lifetime of psychological baggage!” But now, I get it. Seeing cute Marie in her perfect white sweaters, I imagine the possibilities. Every t-shirt in my drawer can be an adorable package! I can love every sock! I will choose a small collection of my least staticky yoga pants and send the rest on their merry way! Because Marie is a tiny and lovely human. As cute as the cutest darn button you ever did see. She is Japanese Tinkerbelle. And she wants me to succeed. But also, she has kids now, so my excuse is no longer valid. I’m determined to channel Marie the mother. And when it’s all over, I will reward myself with a new white sweater.
For KonMari Dos, I released five garbage bags of clothes into the wilds of Good Will (Can I get an AMEN?) I observed that many of the items I dumped this time were in my maybe pile four years ago. I looked at my current gargantuan maybe pile and thought, do I sense a pattern? So I left the maybe mountain on the end of my bed for two weeks, and waited for the spark of joy to decide its fate. The spark never came. But I still wasn’t ready to make a decision. I was stuck. I had Konmar-alysis.
Since I’m a problem-solver (Shout Out to Me, Myself and I!), I resolved my predicament by tweeking the rule, because sparking joy? Please. It’s so mood dependent for me. There are days when you couldn’t spark my joy if you packed an Airbus with my favorite people and said, We’re all moving to Bali with our spouses, our kids, our cats and our hedgehogs. You in? But I’m proud to admit, lately there are more days when I find strawberry frosting on the fan blades and teenage daughter was extra super late for her curfew the night before and middle daughter called me Satan with her eyes when I asked her to match five pairs of socks—fine, THREE! and smallest daughter is watching sketchy shows on Youtube that I fear may be infecting her character, and I say, Alexa, play the Electric Boogie! Because life’s too short to be angry, sad and scared all the time. More time should be spent line dancing. And also, tidying.
I believe a more apt question would be: does this item spark revulsion? Do I cringe when I touch this robe with the hole in the armpit and the very small pomegranate stain directly under my chin even though it is so so very very soft? Yes? Then out you go, robe. No? Then get yourself back in my closet with the rest of the maybes. In this house, it’s all a win. Plus, I’ll know where to find you in four more years if I look the other way this time.
Next up is books. I still read paper, so I have truckloads of them. Thing is, I know I can attain glory, because I’m perfect just how I am, and I’ve got this.
I’m going to look slick in my new white sweater.