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thalassa
16 Jul 2017, 08:01
Because I don't want to rain on Jem's blog parade (I'm happy this is working for you Jem, but everytime I see/hear her name my eye twitches), I'm going to put how I am reminded deeply of my issue with the whole "tidying up" thing over here, which can pretty much be summed up in this article (https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/KonMari-Method-Criticism-40617709), and further boiled down to these two paragraphs:


I read both books. It turns out they are full of useful tips and ideas. It also turns out that I hate them. As I read, a fundamental not-okay-ness with the very bedrock of the KonMari Method bubbled up in me, one I knew I would not be able to get past. Here it is: Kondo's philosophy is that by possessing the ideal belongings, even very few of them, one can also achieve the ideal life. An obsession with weeding out all the imperfect stuff until only perfect stuff is left the things that "spark joy" is still an obsession with stuff, when you get right down to it. If there's something really insidious about the KonMari Method, it's just how well it reinforces our wildly consumerist culture while masquerading as some kind of guide to freeing ourselves from it.
And this (I find her book curating nonsense to be the position of someone that is clearly not a book person):

AThe insane foundation for Kondo's philosophy on why we should discard almost all of our books is that no one ever really rereads anything. This is not the case for most lovers of literature. I share my books. I quote my books. I make annual pilgrimages to their pages. In an even more ludicrous moment, she suggests that even if you don't memorize a text word for word, you've "internalized" it as though that's close enough. But it is not even remotely the same thing to sorta, kinda remember "the gist" of a Rumi quote or a Sylvia Plath stanza as to revisit the exact words themselves. Then there's her suggestion to avoid books with "tragic" titles as a way of somehow weeding out negative energy. Like, no. Not gonna. (Kondo doesn't treat all inanimate objects with as much scorn as books. In fact, she shows a real tenderness toward stuffed animals and even, inexplicably, a hammer at one point, encouraging readers to thank such sentimental or previously useful items for all they've done for us before sending them off to the dump.)
TBH, and I'm not exaggerating in my scorn here, I find her position on books to be only slightly less blasphemic than Koran bonfires and 1933 Germany.


And don't even get me started on the terribly space-wasting folding regime--if I'm going to waste my time folding skivvies, boot camp style is much more compact. But I'd rather DO things that spark joy than worry about what my panty drawer looks like and how many pairs I have.

Per Jem's recommendation, I have moved the posts about KonMarie into their own topic.
-Juni

Jembru
16 Jul 2017, 11:25
Because I don't want to rain on Jem's blog parade (I'm happy this is working for you Jem, but everytime I see/hear her name my eye twitches), I'm going to put how I am reminded deeply of my issue with the whole "tidying up" thing over here, which can pretty much be summed up in this article (https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/KonMari-Method-Criticism-40617709), and further boiled down to these two paragraphs:


And this (I find her book curating nonsense to be the position of someone that is clearly not a book person):

TBH, and I'm not exaggerating in my scorn here, I find her position on books to be only slightly less blasphemic than Koran bonfires and 1933 Germany.


And don't even get me started on the terribly space-wasting folding regime--if I'm going to waste my time folding skivvies, boot camp style is much more compact. But I'd rather DO things that spark joy than worry about what my panty drawer looks like and how many pairs I have.

Actually, I'd have preferred that you posted this on my blog because a post here will become buried in a matter of days and so anyone viewing my blog in the future wouldn't get the benefit of seeing another side of the Konmari method.

I might not share them specifically, but I can relate to your feelings. I find a lot of 'lifestyle' fads triggering somehow. In fact, the closer they are to my own preferences while offering a different approach, the more triggering I find them. For example, I do yoga. Good old-fashioned Iyenger. I won't ever join a class because my body knows how long it needs to be in an asana and which sequence suits my current needs. I absolutely HATE Vinyasa yoga. It seems so shallow to me. 'don't stay still too long because gods forbid we don't work up a sweat and all become skinny little ****s' That's NOT yoga in my opinion, it's just exercise. Which is fine.. just don't call it yoga. 'Clean eating' is another trigger. I avoid dairy and try to get the bulk of my nutrition from plants and yet clean eating just rubs me up the wrong way, especially the way they try to police one another. In fact, all lifestyle fads seem to have this. I just did it when I said 'vinyasa isn't yoga'.

Of course, I recognise that this is just my opinion and the reality of it is that people clearly DO get some kind of benefit from vinyasa yoga, or clean eating. I just don't and on an intellectual level at least, I get that. I guess the KonMari is the same for a lot of people. Personally, I don't like conventional minimalism. Again, I understand that for those who do get something out of minimalism, detachment from 'things' is a good thing. For me, I believe I'm here to enjoy my life as best I can and if that means having boxes of stickers that's fine. I don't see the harm in having an attachment to my belongings. I'm neither a shop-a-holic, materialist nor a hoarder. I just really like stationary.

Which actually brings me to the point I most wanted to make; I think there might be more than one translation of the book because the fact that she doesn't make people get rid of books that they genuinely like, reread and flick through is what triggers the minimalists so much, so the point the article makes is contradictory to the version of the book I'm aware of. There is a video of a lecture Marie gave where there were pictures of rooms with packed bookcases spanning the length of a post-KonMari room and the minimalists were moaning about it. If you watch the 'what's wrong with the KonMari method' videos the minimalists put out, the hoarding of things because they 'spark joy' is one of the most common complaints.

As an example, this is an image from a Japanese blog about the KonMari method;

https://house-service.suumo.jp/article/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/---SUUMOhs---1511_----------------------------------------------------------------_01-300x197.jpg

I did get rid of around a 3rd of my books during the process, but they really were just shelf-filler. For me personally, although I still have quite a lot of books, it feels really good to look at the shelf and know every single book there means something to me. I mean, I kept The Onion Girl and there is a chance I'll never read it again, but I'd never let it go because that story means so much to me. I definitely never got the impression from Marie that such a book should be discarded. Very much the opposite.

I can't comment on the folding though because I don't know how to fold military style but if they can be stored so that I can see everything when I open a drawer than I'd be willing to give it a go. My clothes do take up much less space using the KonMari folding method. The plastic chest in my wardrobe didn't used to fit my jeans in for example, and while I threw out a fair few items, most were on hangers or already in storage. It's weird because it looks like there's less in the drawers, yet there's actually more. I can't quite get my head around it. The biggest charm is in being able to see everything and not have items buried at the bottom of a pile. If there's a better method that ticks all these boxes, then I'd gladly use that (so long as it isn't time consuming because Marie's method is very quick).

I'm not trying to change your mind by the way. I won't ever like vinyasa yoga, clean eating or minimalism and likewise, I don't think the KonMari method would bring you the same joy it's bringing me. We're very different personalities after all.

thalassa
16 Jul 2017, 12:06
I'm not trying to change your mind by the way. I won't ever like vinyasa yoga, clean eating or minimalism and likewise, I don't think the KonMari method would bring you the same joy it's bringing me. We're very different personalities after all.

Lol, I understand, and that's why I didn't want to post my rant in your blog. Its YOURS, for your journey...not for my grinching!!

I like my stuff, I'm picky about what I buy and very little of my belongings aren't actually useful (or will be useful once I get to whatever project they were purchased for) or meaningful. The exception to this is the kids' stuff. Kids' stuff is an entirely different thing.

Prickly Pear
16 Jul 2017, 13:18
I think Marie Kondo's relationship to books is a common one. If you buy books because you want to be the kind of person who reads books, but you really aren't, her advice is sound. It sounds like sacrilege to those of us who love books and read like breathing, but for many people reading is a tedious chore. In my experience, they shift between respect for true readers for tackling such an onerous chore, and disdain that we read when we could be doing something. Sometimes they are right. Our house is about fifty/fifty. It is an unspoken and bitter division. We generally try not to provoke each other.

I read my books repeatedly. I used to keep them grouped chronologically, and I could revisit the things I was thinking about at different times. I have moved them a few times recently, and realized that many of them can go now. I will still keep waaaay more than thirty books, but they will be ones that I expect to revisit.

To highlight the difference, I mentioned to one of the non-book people that I had plans to cull my books. She suggested that I take the old books, cut them up with an exacto knife and make sculptures out of them. I gasped out a horrified "NO!". She was offended; I am still in a sort of painful shock at the idea. I will do my best to pass them on to other happy readers. And let us be fully clear, this is a child raised in a home full of books, where there was at least one adult who read lots. The depth of our differences was never so stark. We will have to dance politely around each other for some time.

The people who try the folding method seem to really like it once they do. I figure that I will give it a shot. But I was never in the military, if I had been, I would probably have a hard time giving up military folding. I am, in fact, a messy folder. I figure trying Marie Kondo's way will be good for me. Folding like that will never work for my husband, as he has a paralyzed arm. He would hang socks and underwear if he could figure out a way. He can organize his clothes in a way that works for him.

I don't know that this method does particularly promote consumerism. I see a lot of people interpreting it as they choose, or working in denial of their addiction to things. It is like some of the capsule wardrobe business. It is supposedly a minimalist concept, but if you look it up, so many people are creating multiple capsules. A capsule for each season, fully accessorized, plus a capsule for each of 5 kinds of vacations. A new capsule every season of every year. This is not how it was originally intended. I have to admit that planning these is like colorful suduko, so maybe that's where it ends for a lot of people.

If you throw out your toilet brush because it brings you no joy, then you are going to have one unjoyful toilet situation. However, when your toilet brush wears out, it doesn't hurt to think about finding a brush that does a better job of reaching the odd corners, or distributes the cleaner better, or fits your hand better, or doesn't fall apart every two weeks. You don't need a designer toilet brush. Just one that does the job to your satisfaction. I just did this. I am happier, and I don't feel guilty about it. I sure don't expect to win a Nobel prize, or reach Nirvana because of it. Nor do I think Marie Kondo would expect me to. I can just get the toilet cleaner, faster, and with less frustration.

To be honest, I was resistant as could be to Marie Kondo. I thought it was like a pro-anorexia plan but for cleaning/organizing. But as I look at the basic concepts and steps, I think doing them forces you to really think about your own consumerism. Plenty of people are going to interpret it as throw out everything you own and replace it with very expensive "quality" stuff. But I don't know that that is what it says at all. It points out that there is a psychological process going on when we accumulate things. Sometimes it is unhealthy, or even unsafe. It is often financially burdensome, as well. Sometimes it is good. We just need to know the difference.

It may seem elitist to worry about having too many things, but it we cannot sustain what we are doing now. We need to do the hard thinking, and sorry, the hard feeling.

I also think this is in line with some thoughts that coalesced for me after reading a book called Braiding Sweetgrass. It is the thought that if we don't take the time to see the valuable things all around us, we will destroy them seeking what we think we need, but already have. It is a deep part of my spiritual path, so that is how I approach the Marie Kondo book. Other people will probably approach it differently.

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I'll try to keep this brief because my last post was kind of a ramble. Did you realize that there is also a divide between tree people and non tree people?

I was talking to my neighbors the other night. We have a suburban yard, with more trees than most of our neighbors. The ones I was talking to have a nice lawn, a big veggie patch, and no trees. I was telling them that one of our trees was a bit of work, but that it makes us so happy that we plan on keeping it anyway. One neighbor said, "I guess you get something out of those trees. Shade?" I replied "Oxygen". I just didn't know how to explain the joy of a tree to someone who just didn't get it.

I bet hard-core football (American) fans feel the same way when I talk to them.

Jembru
16 Jul 2017, 18:49
Lol, I understand, and that's why I didn't want to post my rant in your blog. Its YOURS, for your journey...not for my grinching!!

I like my stuff, I'm picky about what I buy and very little of my belongings aren't actually useful (or will be useful once I get to whatever project they were purchased for) or meaningful. The exception to this is the kids' stuff. Kids' stuff is an entirely different thing.

In that case, maybe it would be an idea to have a thread for the KonMari method in Hearth and Home. It's obvious from my blog that I am enjoying the process but there are definitely mixed feelings out there. My blog only presents the positives because I'm so fired up and excited. It is only right that anyone curious enough to consider buying the book gets to hear all points of view to avoid disappointment. When I'm not at work (and assuming I remember) I'll start a thread and copy our conversation over as quotes.


I think Marie Kondo's relationship to books is a common one. If you buy books because you want to be the kind of person who reads books, but you really aren't, her advice is sound. It sounds like sacrilege to those of us who love books and read like breathing, but for many people reading is a tedious chore. In my experience, they shift between respect for true readers for tackling such an onerous chore, and disdain that we read when we could be doing something. Sometimes they are right. Our house is about fifty/fifty. It is an unspoken and bitter division. We generally try not to provoke each other.

I read my books repeatedly. I used to keep them grouped chronologically, and I could revisit the things I was thinking about at different times. I have moved them a few times recently, and realized that many of them can go now. I will still keep waaaay more than thirty books, but they will be ones that I expect to revisit.

To highlight the difference, I mentioned to one of the non-book people that I had plans to cull my books. She suggested that I take the old books, cut them up with an exacto knife and make sculptures out of them. I gasped out a horrified "NO!". She was offended; I am still in a sort of painful shock at the idea. I will do my best to pass them on to other happy readers. And let us be fully clear, this is a child raised in a home full of books, where there was at least one adult who read lots. The depth of our differences was never so stark. We will have to dance politely around each other for some time.

The people who try the folding method seem to really like it once they do. I figure that I will give it a shot. But I was never in the military, if I had been, I would probably have a hard time giving up military folding. I am, in fact, a messy folder. I figure trying Marie Kondo's way will be good for me. Folding like that will never work for my husband, as he has a paralyzed arm. He would hang socks and underwear if he could figure out a way. He can organize his clothes in a way that works for him.

I don't know that this method does particularly promote consumerism. I see a lot of people interpreting it as they choose, or working in denial of their addiction to things. It is like some of the capsule wardrobe business. It is supposedly a minimalist concept, but if you look it up, so many people are creating multiple capsules. A capsule for each season, fully accessorized, plus a capsule for each of 5 kinds of vacations. A new capsule every season of every year. This is not how it was originally intended. I have to admit that planning these is like colorful suduko, so maybe that's where it ends for a lot of people.

If you throw out your toilet brush because it brings you no joy, then you are going to have one unjoyful toilet situation. However, when your toilet brush wears out, it doesn't hurt to think about finding a brush that does a better job of reaching the odd corners, or distributes the cleaner better, or fits your hand better, or doesn't fall apart every two weeks. You don't need a designer toilet brush. Just one that does the job to your satisfaction. I just did this. I am happier, and I don't feel guilty about it. I sure don't expect to win a Nobel prize, or reach Nirvana because of it. Nor do I think Marie Kondo would expect me to. I can just get the toilet cleaner, faster, and with less frustration.

To be honest, I was resistant as could be to Marie Kondo. I thought it was like a pro-anorexia plan but for cleaning/organizing. But as I look at the basic concepts and steps, I think doing them forces you to really think about your own consumerism. Plenty of people are going to interpret it as throw out everything you own and replace it with very expensive "quality" stuff. But I don't know that that is what it says at all. It points out that there is a psychological process going on when we accumulate things. Sometimes it is unhealthy, or even unsafe. It is often financially burdensome, as well. Sometimes it is good. We just need to know the difference.

It may seem elitist to worry about having too many things, but it we cannot sustain what we are doing now. We need to do the hard thinking, and sorry, the hard feeling.

I also think this is in line with some thoughts that coalesced for me after reading a book called Braiding Sweetgrass. It is the thought that if we don't take the time to see the valuable things all around us, we will destroy them seeking what we think we need, but already have. It is a deep part of my spiritual path, so that is how I approach the Marie Kondo book. Other people will probably approach it differently.



Reading this has made me realise something, it seems that the KonMari method might simply be open to interpretation. This might be why it seems that there are multiple translations of the book*. Maybe there aren't but the material is presented in such a way that the reader understands the words differently. When I think back to the section about books for example, I can recall Marie talking about a businessman who had stacks of books around his office that he insisted he would read 'someday'. She explained that 'someday' never comes and was eventually able to convince him to let go of much of his collection, keeping only the books he really used, needed or loved. You could totally read that from the point of view that she pressures her clients into letting go of as many books as possible, if that's how you want to. For me, I'd already been talking to my belongings and sorting out things I didn't really need for a while, so the KonMari method just seemed to reinforce what I was already doing. It was therefore easy for me to filter it through my own lens and interpret it as 'let go of shelf-filler so that those books I love and have a deep connection to aren't drowned out in the 'noise' but are instead all singing cheerfully to me whenever I walk past my shelves'.

That might just be the secret of this method's success.

*Although if there are it would explain a lot. I'm studying translations of books alongside the original text to improve my translation skills and the results are shocking. I've been thinking translation is something I have to wait to be 'good enough' to do, but it turns out any old stab in the dark is good enough to get published!

thalassa
17 Jul 2017, 05:19
To highlight the difference, I mentioned to one of the non-book people that I had plans to cull my books. She suggested that I take the old books, cut them up with an exacto knife and make sculptures out of them. I gasped out a horrified "NO!". She was offended; I am still in a sort of painful shock at the idea. I will do my best to pass them on to other happy readers. And let us be fully clear, this is a child raised in a home full of books, where there was at least one adult who read lots. The depth of our differences was never so stark. We will have to dance politely around each other for some time.

Yeah, I'd have your reaction too. I've only ever thrown out or otherwise permanently disposed of a handful of books in my life, most of which were a result of water damage and mold growth. I've thrown away several copies of the same book (actually several books by the same authors) (https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/the-abusive-teachings-of-michael-and-debi-pearl), because I go out of my way to buy them for the expressed purpose of disposing of them when I see them at the used book store, thrift store, etc., because they advocate straight up child abuse.

I either take books I've read and don't plan to reread or want available to reference or that the kids have outgrown (with a few exceptions, like The Lorax, which you can never outgrow) to the used book store to trade in (the Chamblin Bookmine is my nirvana (https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Chamblin+Bookmine+Jacksonville+FL&FORM=RESTAB)) or to the Habitat for Humanity thrift store. Those weird book carving and whatever craft projects make me cringe (although, some of the art journals that turn a book into another book are fine). We keep our library at a manageable size through the judicious use of ebooks instead of buying mass-market paperbacks.



The people who try the folding method seem to really like it once they do. I figure that I will give it a shot. But I was never in the military, if I had been, I would probably have a hard time giving up military folding. I am, in fact, a messy folder. I figure trying Marie Kondo's way will be good for me. Folding like that will never work for my husband, as he has a paralyzed arm. He would hang socks and underwear if he could figure out a way. He can organize his clothes in a way that works for him.


Actually, my reaction to military folding is that I have a lingerie drawer set--one for undies and a few pairs of tights/hose in a basket in the corner, one for sports bras and tank tops, one for regular bras, one for socks with a divider for white socks on one side and dark and colored/patterned socks on the other, and one for...fun things. None of it is folded. Heck no, absolutely not. My mingly, unfolded drawer party makes me delighted.:D

Also, I hate hangers. When I have a house, I want a top row of hooks for shirts that need to be hung up and a bottom row with a "trouser rod" for skirts and pants, and drawers and shelves for everything else.

Prickly Pear
17 Jul 2017, 07:36
How did I know that link would be about the Pearls?

My son's reaction to the book kerfuffle? "Yeah, that was destined to happen. The sad thing is neither one of you was really wrong." Little diplomat.

I had an e-reader. It got bundled up in the sheets and washed. If I can find a place to sell some of my books, I will do that and put the money towards a new one. Our libraries are pretty vibrant parts of the community, but they are definitely putting a big portion of budget towards e-books. The shelves look so empty.

Jembru
17 Jul 2017, 10:53
How did I know that link would be about the Pearls?

My son's reaction to the book kerfuffle? "Yeah, that was destined to happen. The sad thing is neither one of you was really wrong." Little diplomat.

I had an e-reader. It got bundled up in the sheets and washed. If I can find a place to sell some of my books, I will do that and put the money towards a new one. Our libraries are pretty vibrant parts of the community, but they are definitely putting a big portion of budget towards e-books. The shelves look so empty.

I've thought about getting an e-reader but so far I can't bring myself to do it. My desire for more space isn't as strong as my need to hold an actual book in my hands. It's not just the colour of the paper so a paper white still won't cut it. There's something about the smell. New book, old book, musty book, there are so many lovely scents that I'd miss if I started reading electronically.

JP has the same repulsion when he sees those book sculptures. I'm personally indifferent but I don't like them enough to want to buy one and I couldn't bring myself to do it myself. That said, I have no qualms with writing notes in the margin of a reference book in pencil. I had an ex who blew up with me for doing this, but I was just like 'look, it's my book and this is how I love my books!'.

I'm starting to wonder if the audio book is abridged to keep it shorter so I too am ordering a copy from the library. That is the only way I can be sure of how much BS is actually circulating about the book. I listened to the section on books again because the things in that article just seemed so alien.

Here's what I learnt;

She says NOTHING.. not anywhere, not even hinted at, about not having unpleasant sounding titles. Unless there is another version of the book, this is absolutely made up. She is a self-confessed book lover herself and admits that the only reason she has been so severe about discarding books is because tidying is her profession so she wanted to reach perfection. She keeps her collection to 30 books (which is far more than most minimalists could tolerate), but it took her years to get to that level. She tried everything from writing down her favourite quotes from books by hand, to photocopying pages and keeping them in a binder, before she realised that she never even goes back and looks at those copies. The point is, she really does sympathise with the need to hold onto books. She just wants you to hold onto only the ones you honestly love. If that's all of the books you own, fine.

When I listened again, she is mainly focused on those books you buy because you might read them one day but then for whatever reason, don't. Or that you start reading and can't finish. These books clearly aren't giving you joy because if they did, you'd have read them cover to cover when you first got them and they would have their place in what the translator called the 'Hall of Fame' (i.e. the books you will keep forever).

All Marie asks in her book is that you hold each book in your hands, without flicking through the content, and ask yourself honestly, 'does this spark joy'. A book you couldn't finish, or bought on the recommendation of a friend but just weren't excited enough to actually read, just isn't going to, so why not pass it onto someone who will love the book? Is this really such a mean way to treat a book? Surely letting it collect dust on that shelf you reserve for your least favourite books because it's hard to reach, is the worst thing you can do to a book.

Some quotes from the book section;

'Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books you love'...'For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?'

'Take a moment to count the number of favourite books you have actually read more than once. For some people that could be as few as 5, while for some exceptional readers it could be as many as 100.'

'Keep only those books that will make you happy just to see them on your shelves. The ones you really love.'

I also can't recall anything about showing affection towards a hammer. In fact, one of my frustrations was that the book doesn't explain how you're meant to deal with things that you need but that don't spark joy because they're just a tool. So I think I'd remember the hammer. I'm listening to each section again as I apply it to my own things so I'll keep an eye out for it.

Honestly, I think some people simply don't like the method. It just triggers something in them, like Vinyasa yoga does for me. That's fine by me, but I do wish they'd actually read the book instead of claiming to when they clearly haven't and are just paraphrasing some other blogger they read who also don't like the method. Because I do like the method, I'm finding myself very defensive of the truth over here!