I still have my little altars of objects and treasured things. We still have hundreds of books. No one is ever going to walk into this house and say, “Are you a minimalist?”
I feel that’s important to make clear before I again mention that most trendy of lifestyle phenomenon names Marie Kondo and confess I am reading her book.
You may not be surprised because last time I talked about her show, in which my favorite thing was her greeting of the house.
In fact, my favorite thing about her book is her way of thinking about objects. With all the memes and loud headlines, you’d think Kondo hates your stuff. But she has a reverence for your things.
She talks about letting your clothes know you look forward to wearing them and how we keep our socks on edge and how we can free our things from the prisons we put them in. She wakes things up. She greets a house and thanks things for their service. I suppose it sounds like a whole lot of woo.
But I felt recognition because I did some of these things already. I realize her ideas come in part from Shinto, which I know next to nothing about. But clearly some of this belief system resides here in the US whenever you see someone name their car or proclaim their love for a favorite, beautiful bowl. Or when someone shouts at their computer, “Why do you hate me?”
I have always said hello and goodbye to homes I have moved into and out of. In our last apartment I walked through and said goodbye to every room. When we moved into our house, I patted the doorframe and said hello. When I have had to throw away (or perhaps, put to rest) a favorite pair of shoes or jeans, I have always told them they were good and would be greatly missed.
So, I have a relationship of sorts with all the things we live with, and frankly, while many of these things are loved and welcome in my life, some of these relationships have to end. There are things in my house that must leave.
Currently our bookshelves look better (still with literally hundreds of books!), our closets look better, our guest room looks better, and our laundry room looks better. And I’m still not a minimalist.
But sometimes we become like that garbage lady in Labyrinth.
Our things can bring us joy and they can weigh us down. My mother who moved every single year knew how to let things go. My grandmother who liked more room for sunlight than for objects didn’t even let that much into her house. The MariKondo method may or may not have an impact on your life, but a reminder to say goodbye when the time comes is not a bad thing.
I think our inability to say goodbye when we should resides at the heart of many problems (along with a few other issues crowded all together in there). People don’t say goodbye to relationships that are actually over, to jobs they’ve outgrown, or to eras and their toxic legacies.
But that’s a discussion for another day. At the moment I need to take some things to Goodwill, where I hope they will strike up new relationships and be appreciated in the way they deserve. And later I’ll say my final farewells to other, worn-out things. May they rest in peace.
And thank you for reading!