If You Fold Your Clothes

If you fold your clothes in the formal spark of joy, you can actually make the joy last longer.

~ Marie Kondo

It’s human nature to take the easy route and leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter. Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things.

~ Marie Kondo

There’s no need to let your family know the details of what you throw out or donate. You can leave communal spaces to the end. The first step is to confront your own stuff.

~ Marie Kondo

Have gratitude for the things you’re discarding. By giving gratitude, you’re giving closure to the relationship with that object, and by doing so, it becomes a lot easier to let go.

~ Marie Kondo

It is very natural for me to say thank you to the goods that support us.

~ Marie Kondo

The objects you decide to keep, the ones that gave you the spark of joy? Treasure them from now on. When you put things away, you can actually audibly say, ‘Hey, thank you for the good work today…’ By doing so, it becomes easier for you to put the objects away and treasure them, which prolongs the spark of joy environment.

~ Marie Kondo

PG just went out and said thank you to the cable box and remote control.

He’s trying to think of the right words to express gratitude to his 8 terabyte hard drive.

PG just confessed to the remaining stacks of stuff in his office that he had leaped at storage methods for their former compatriots.

Mrs. PG says she doesn’t care if PG leaps or not so long as his office isn’t placed on a list of Superfund sites.

27 thoughts on “If You Fold Your Clothes”

  1. Um… This thanking of objects is an obvious extension of the Shinto idea that every place and object has a Kami in it, or can develop one; and that objects more than 100 years old can come alive, move, and do poltergeist mischief, especially if not treated with respect. (Which leads to a lot more throwing stuff out before a Kami can develop.)

    So yeah, be careful about adopting ideas wholesale from a very different culture.

    • Wait, you mean they can be haunted if I don’t thank them properly? Because I’ve been suspecting my car keys and reading glasses of that very issue recently. I swear, they’re hiding on me like they’re alive.

      • Actually, the solution to that problem lies in another book. You need to contact Arthur Weasley at the Misuse of Muggle Artifact Office and tell him that some nefarious wizard has enchanted your keys and glasses such that they shrink to microscopic size whenever you try to look for them.

    • Interestingly, we have in our house a big oak ‘press cupboard’ as they were called, that dates from 1626. The date and initials of its original owners are carved into it – it’s almost 200 years older than the house and would have been made by a reasonably wealthy farmer, somewhere in the North of England, for his new wife to keep her linen and plate in. I don’t know if I’d call it ‘haunted’ but when we first acquired it, I spent a couple of weeks wondering if I could live with it, because beautiful as it is, it has such a powerful sensation of age and history about it, even down to the beeswax scent that comes off it, and the small charred places just above the candle shelf where some previous owner has almost had a disaster. It made me feel physically uncomfortable. And then, strange as it may seem, it felt as though it settled down! Now, I love it. I don’t think it’s going to move though. Huge, solid oak, and it took four guys to move it into the house, very very slowly!

      • Interesting story.

        I expect Marie will want to come visit your press cupboard when she hears about it, Catherine.

      • And the guy who made that cupboard in 1626 did it with rough lumber, an axe, square, plane, saw, chisels, hammer, straight edge, and string.

      • And realize that that was the same year (1626) the island of Manhattan was “purchased” for 60 guilders worth of hatchets and kettles. And still looking for that receipt! (maybe lost after tidying up)

    • And here I was thinking, “She’s weird.”

      So yeah, I’m with you.

      Mind you, I do talk to inanimate objects, especially when the computer is doing something I don’t want it to do. Then I speak loudly and with many swear words.

    • Me thinks you wins the internets this day. 😉

      When questioned about my pack-rat-i-ness I simple point out that I’m tired of tossing something – only to need to now buy a replacement I now need six months later (or sooner in a couple of cases.)

    • Agreed. I enjoyed her book, and I think the fact that her name has been verbed in multiple languages indicates there’s a need there that we’ve been talking around.

  2. Prior to reading her book, I thought Marie was just another person looking to cash in on people’s endless desire to organize the cr*p that our consumer culture conditions us to want. Now, I think she’s an absolute genius and I’m so happy I stopped dissing her and actually listened to what she had to say. YMMV of course, but for me, serious joy has been sparked this year as I have attacked my mountains of stuff. More importantly, I’ve even managed to make a dent in my partner’s piles. Now that’s a true miracle!

    • I have to admit I haven’t read any of her books, so I may be barely aware of her full philosophy, J., J. and M.

    • Another method of downsizing your stuff is moving. I moved from an apartment in NJ that I’d been in for years to another one in the next town. Decluttered a lot. Went from NJ to VA, then from one place in VA to another. On each trip I kept less and less, and ultimately now go by the adage, “If you haven’t used it in a year, out it goes.” There are exceptions, of course. Memorabilia, seasonal items, and books. Though I do go through my books from time to time and thin them out as well.

      But I stand by paying by the pound as a life lesson to teach you what you think you need, and what you can live without.

  3. I admit I haven’t read her book but I have long practiced some of her ideas without knowing it. I always thank my car when I put it into the garage, nutty maybe, but I tell lies for a living, so I’m entitled. This week I sent five grocery bags of books to a local church for their garage sale. I reluctantly tried rolling some of my clothes and it works. I can see what I have and it stays tidy. To me tidying is about lowering stress, seeing what you have and using it. I can’t be the first person to buy an item only to find I already have it. To each their own.

  4. About 5 decades ago, I worked in a library that had Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Manchu books. I loved the Chinese section and hated the Japanese sections. No opinion on the others. Why did I hate the Japanese section? Although I had a crush on a Japanese librarian, their books were messy: weird textured and colored bindings, odd sizes. The Chinese section was orderly, long sequences of similar bindings, all in uniform subdued blue bindings with elegant calligraphic titles.

    The Marie Kondo shtick is attractive, but it may be an oversimplification of her cluttered culture.

  5. My mother, who had a lively personality, enjoyed buying the occasional decorative object for her dwellings. She carefully informed me about one, when I was a teenager and assumed to have reached the age of reason, that when you walk into a room and see it, it should make you smile.

    She was exactly right. Certain objects have personality (or are granted such by their owners) and like all persons have an impact upon their surroundings.

  6. If I only kept clothes that gave me joy, I’d be a nudist.

    And that is mighty chilly.

    If my clothes fit, function, and do not make anyone ill, I think they are doing fine.

    • Kondo defines “sparking joy” for many things as performing the function that you very much need them to. A well-balanced hammer can spark joy, if you are someone who needs a hammer.

      On the other hand, if you are someone who would always hire a handyman, perhaps because you + hammer = bruised thumbs, then said hammer (no matter how well balanced) would not spark joy for you.

      Me? I definitely love my tool bench. YMMV.

      • Yes, somewhat of a translation problem here. Apparently, the Japanese word translated as “joy” has meanings that are not encompassed by a single English word. “Satisfaction,” “correct,” etc.

        This happens between any two languages, of course. There is usually an overlap in the concepts being communicated, but almost never a one-to-one relation.

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