People Are Furious at Tidying Guru Marie Kondo Over This One Rule
Her stance on books is generating a lot of controversy.
Tidying guru Marie Kondo’s new hit Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” is a rare piece of entertainment, if only because it actually gets you off the couch instead of keeping you on it. If you’re anything like me, the show instantly reveals that you’re not as tidy as you think you are, and that you should definitely purge from your life the objects that don’t “spark joy.” (Tons of viewers have been inspired to get up and start cleaning and organizing—and thanking their old stuff before tossing it in the garbage.)
But, as beloved as she and her teachings are, her attitude toward at least one area of your home is sparking quite a bit of backlash: your books.
In her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she wrote that she caps her book collection to no more than 30 at a time. But some viewers are taking issue with the idea that you should throw out any books at all.
was very intrigued by marie kondo’s konmari method until she got to the category of throwing out books…………. pic.twitter.com/GrEtCDefPB
— hudacris (@_hudahassan) January 5, 2019
And the jokes are rolling in.
MARIE KONDO: hold this book and see if it sparks joy
ME: wow, it does
MARIE KONDO (removing fake book jacket): that book was mein kampf
— Ben Rosen (@ben_rosen) January 3, 2019
But some are also arguing that the backlash against Kondo misinterprets her original intention.
Marie Kondo threw a hot coffee in my face and burned all the books in my home
— Ira (@ira) January 5, 2019
After all, she’s not suggesting you get rid of all of your books…
Wait Marie Kondo is telling people to toss their books? THEIR BOOKS? pic.twitter.com/QQxAXwk3Sq
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) January 4, 2019
Rather, just the ones that no longer spark joy. (It’s Japanese minimalism!)
Japanese minimalism, as both a design aesthetic and normalized context for living, is hundreds of years old. It likely traces its roots to the arrival of what came to be known as Japanese Zen Buddhism.
— Studio Glibly (@NoTotally) January 14, 2019
Obviously, this is a a great idea for some people, especially if they’re surrounded by books they haven’t read that elicit feelings of guilt instead of joy. But there are plenty of beautiful ways to arrange your home that don’t require a book ban. Kondo agrees with this. After all, her practice of keep 30 books (or less) is simply what works for her. The tidying guru even took the step of clarifying this position in a recent interview with the site IndieWire:
“The most important part of this process of tidying is to always think about what you have and about the discovery of your sense of value, what you value that is important. So it’s not so much what I personally think about books. The question you should be asking is what do you think about books. If the image of someone getting rid of books or having only a few books makes you angry, that should tell you how passionate you are about books, what’s clearly so important in your life. If that riles you up, that tells you something you about that. That in itself is a very important benefit of this process.”
In the same interview, she also explained her own decision to limit her books.
“I grew up in Japan, and the climate there is very humid. So it’s damp and the moisture in the air causes lots of damage to the books. It’s not great to have a lot of damaged books. The books themselves won’t even open, they’re so damaged. So if you’re retaining so many that you’re not reading, you might have to let go of some. But I’ve learned through this experience that’s very different in a foreign country where the climate is very different, and you’re able to keep the books in beautiful condition. Plus, you have more space to keep them, and that’s perfectly fine, so that’s one of the biggest things I learned through this process.”
Decluttering your life—as her Netflix show has routinely shown—can have enormous positive effects on your daily life, your happiness, and even your relationships with those in your family. So if your personal library makes you happy—then, by all means, feel free to stock up that library. (Maybe even organize them beautifully in your attic!)
If you do, one caveat: your flashy library may not make necessarily everyone joyful.
Marie Kondo has proved irrefutably that no one is more annoying than people who think owning a lot of books is a personality.
— Fruitonthebottom (@FruitOnBottom) January 14, 2019
And for more great advice for making your home look inspired and amazing, don’t miss these 23 Affordable Ways to Completely Re-Do Your Home.
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