Marie Kondo is wrong: Tidying up is not enough

Recently the decluttering guru, Marie Kondo has been made famous by her promise to help people overhaul their homes and their lives. If you simply hold an item up and determine if it sparks joy, you’ll be well on your way to ridding your house of the things you don’t need and your hoarding days will be behind you. But guess what? This isn’t a long term cure or a permanent lifestyle choice. Detashing today’s mess is not enough. 

If you want real joy in your life, stop collecting things and expecting them to make you happy. 

Marie Kondo is wrong: Tidying up is not enough to spark joy

Buying too much stuff is engrained in our American culture. We are so wasteful! In the beauty blogging community I see so much of this. Bloggers are sent entire collections of makeup and beauty products that are far more than they’d be able to use or give away. Beyond receiving press samples, I know there have been many occasions where I’ve relied on “retail therapy” to get me through a hard time. Having a bad day? I’ll buy myself a present or a sweet treat. This isn’t good for my wallet or my waistline. I know I tend to own too many things and get overwhelmed with the piles of things I have in my home. Sending them to a thrift shop is a nice gesture, but I’m still out the money for practically new items I decided against a little too late. And if the resale stores can’t get rid of them, they’ll end up in the landfill. 

One thought that really resonates with me lately is being part of this consumerism culture and how broke it makes me feel. It’s hard not to chase the newest releases, even when stuff in my collection I already have is similar. When you are a blogger and want the chance to be one of the first to cover something new it can give you this constant itch to spend the money since it’s a “business expense.” A mindset shift I’m trying to make is fast forwarding six months down the line in my head before making the purchase at all. How will I feel knowing I spent $50 on this thing, and in a matter of weeks I will lose interest? Especially if I’m buying something to blog about it, and it ends up chucked in a closet or given away…what does that say about my integrity? Is making a buck on ads from my page views a worthwhile trade off to the hundreds I might be spending keeping up with it all? Where would my finances be at a year from now if I put this money in my savings account rather than needlessly spending it?

The bottom line is that we as a culture need to change. The next time you’re thinking about buying something new, think twice. I know I’m on the brink of doing a major tidying up in my own home, but what I really need is to examine why I have all of this stuff in the first place. These earthly possessions in our homes? We can’t take them with us.

What’s really important in your life? For me, it’s my faith, relationships with my family and friends, and creating memories with those I love. These are things that money can’t buy. And they’re the things that truly spark joy. 


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  1. 2.17.19
    Lisette said:

    I love this. Yes, material things spark joy, but family and friends are the biggest joys we have in life.

  2. 2.17.19
    Chelsea said:

    You know, every single time I declutter I think of that exact thing you said- what’s really important to me? I always come back to my relationships and my experiences. It NEVER is that eyeshadow palette or that pair of shoes or that whatever else. It definitely helps me get back in the “consume less live more” mindset!

  3. 2.18.19
    Christina said:

    Very well said and so so true.

  4. 2.28.19
    Mack said:

    But… did you actually read the book? She addresses this exact thing. Within her method (and Shinto in general), stuff has a spirit. When you appreciate that spirit and only keep the things around you that have a spirit that makes you happy, you’re less likely to buy more. When your stuff has a home and when your stuff is treated well, it serves you in a such a way that you won’t need more.

    Marie isn’t wrong. Her method just isn’t for you.

    • 3.11.19
      justina said:

      I didn’t read the book. I like your explanation.

  5. 3.8.19
    Britt said:

    I’m not sure you understand Marie Kondo’s method or her message. If done correctly, KonMari is meant to be a complete lifestyle change. It’s not “simply” holding an item and seeing if it sparks joy. That is only one small part. It’s not just de-cluttering. When done in earnest, KonMari brings about the exact results you are saying it doesn’t.

    • 3.11.19
      justina said:

      You have a great point. I just don’t see most of the people following KonMari making the lifestyle change. Decluttering can’t just be that one time.

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