While millions of people throw away their junk, it seems no one can agree on exactly what Marie Kondo really means and suddenly everyone has an opinion about it. The popularity of Kondo’s new Netflix series Tidying Up is indisputable, but what the craze says about American culture is something else entirely. And one mom thinks the whole thing might be a giant humble brag in disguise.
Writing for Romper, Crystal Henry says that Kondo’s method is tricky for messy parents because “it’s much harder to identify what sparks joy when everything you own is hard-won.” This opens up an interesting and thoughtful essay on the socioeconomics of who exactly gets really pumped about the Kondo-craze. Though nuanced, essentially, Henry’s argument comes to a head in one great line “the trend toward a minimalist lifestyle is privileged.”
This means that from her point-of-view, Instagram posts in which people are getting rid of garbage bags full of joyless objects are more often than not, posted by people who can afford to throw out a bunch of stuff. Junk, of course, isn’t only an affliction of the rich, but Henry’s essay implies there’s a performative aspect to all of this, that comes across like a humblebrag.
Naturally, there’s no way Kondo could have been ready for so many different interpretations of her methods, but the price of her popularity seems to rapidly be creating camps of different kinds of organizers. Still, something essential and true resonates when Henry writes “I’m afraid to get rid of anything because I worked so hard to get those things.”
Hardworking parents everywhere can surely relate.