Both literal and figurative.
“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
Marie Kondo, the cleanliness consultant and cult leader of the KonMari method of tidying up said that. This week, I got to live it. Again.
When I moved overseas last June, I prepared by re-reading Kondo’s Spark Joy: An Illustrated Masterclass on the Art of Organizing and Tidying-Up. To say I went overboard is an understatement. I took a lifetime’s worth of memories and weird possessions (historically, I hoard bad clothing) and upon asking myself “Does this spark joy ou non?” I threw away 99 percent of my things, and boarded a plane with naught but a suitcase and gym bag.
I was liberated. I was light in spirit and luggage. I didn’t even mind that I’d be wearing the same jeans, four tees, and one nightgown-that-works-as-day-gown every day for the foreseeable future. But once I got settled in, I realized that LA has cheap vintage everywhere and began hoarding again.
Fast forward to this week: I was packing once more to move in with my partner and dog-child. “DOES THIS EVEN SPARK JOY?!” I was asking myself on repeat, at full volume, in front of the piles of cool LA shit I’ve collected. “I hope that sparks joy!” I was snapping at said partner upon inspection of her pack-job. I had decided I was in charge of decorating and the vibe was apparently “barely there.”
Then something happened. I moved in and started decorating. I saw a little “Australia” magnet on the fridge. There were colorful posters in every room. My stuff was co-mingling with someone else’s stuff. Instead of freaking out about having double the stuff, I was moved by it; it was bowerbird-esque. We were building something.
Attachment and fear don’t go away when you KonMari your surroundings, and I doubt KonMari-ing your heart and mind is ever going to work—what with being a human being and all.
I would rather make peace with that. I have a past—of course I am attached to it, and I’d like to work out why, not tidy through it. I want to look at my “stuff” and and see that—and learn from what I’m expressing.
My hopes, memories, fears, all of it. Actually, ours.
Originally published as a newsletter for Girlboss.