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Marie Kondo betrays her whole premise by launching e-commerce store full of junk (avclub.com)
122 points by ilamont 68 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 98 comments



I've seen the question raised whether the "minimalism" (in terms of not owning much) often attributed to Marie Kondo is actually an accurate representation of what she says. The alternative interpretation being something more like "mindful ownership".

I'm in that second camp, slightly confused by people saying things like "Marie Kondo thinks I shouldn't own more than 20 books" or whatever, because that wasn't what I understood. The point is to think about whether that number of books is an effective use of your living space - and the answer can be yes.

So yeah, an online store seems a little odd, but by this point my default position on anything M-K related is "take a second and make sure this isn't misrepresenting her views". Maybe a little shop full of neat things that Marie Kondo likes is... fine? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I think where the confusion comes in is that, at least in the English translation of the book, there is a lot of mixed messaging. The general narrative arc of the chapter on books was, "Sure, if you really love books, I guess you can own a lot of them, but let me now spend 5 pages browbeating you with exposition on how you can't really love more than a handful of books at a time, and talk at length about how how my life was greatly improved by throwing my favorite book, the one book that has brought me the most happiness in life, into the trash."

That said, I'm pretty sure there's nowhere in the book where it said that a 4,096Hz tuning fork - that's the perfect frequency for sparking joy - can't possibly spark joy.

On the other hand, that laptop computer brush. . . I imagine the woman who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the book that argues forcefully that the only good container is either made of cheap clear plastic or an old shoebox, would have advocated for dusting your laptop off with a cleaning rag.

On the other other hand, the woman who wrote that book wasn't a world-famous figure with her own popular series on Netflix.


There is also the way that, in a capitalist system, every message eventually gets swallowed up and transformed into a way to sell products. It's just the nature of the beast. The hippies started out preaching the importance of love over material wealth, and their message ended up getting twisted into a sales pitch for Coca-Cola (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VM2eLhvsSM).

So in the end, it doesn't really matter much what Marie Kondo's message is; once it became popular the system was inevitably going to fold, spindle and mutilate it until it could be used to sell products, because that's what the system does. It deflects critique by absorbing and redirecting it, and it is really damn good at doing so.


Exactly so. And by the same token, every sensory impulse capable of grabbing human attention will eventually be filled to the brim with ads until we can't experience anything without expecting, nay wanting, accompanying banners, jingles, (and no doubt soon; smells) that entice us to buy.

Homo Consumens: https://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Homo%20Consume...


This was perfectly said and articulated, thanks


The key is to not make it popular. Have a barrier to entry.


Capitalism vores everything.


On the other hand, a $14 empty bottle for hand soap, or $180 for a cheese knife... I mean, come on.

There is mindfulness about what you own, and then there is selling overpriced junk using your brand just like everyone else. Sure, you can be mindful and enjoy your MK $220 fruit bowl, but really what you are buying is the brand, not the bowl.

I think there is an implicit "don't buy things just because you want other people to see you bought it", which is contradictory with the idea of selling overpriced knickknacks that only serve to show other people that you bought into some kitchy fad.


I can understand the soap bottle¹. A dedicated reusable glass container instead of a bunch of single-use plastic ones is less wasteful, and looks better, in my opinion. $14 ain't bad for that, price-wise, assuming they're good quality (which is a big "if", in fairness, but still).

$180 for a cheese knife, or $75 for a tuning fork and a crystal the sum of which costs half that on Amazon (let alone Alibaba), is on the other hand quite absurd.

----

¹: Disclaimer: my employer sells (among many other things) glass bottles pretty similar to the ones on shop.konmari.com. something something these are my opinions something something not representative of my employer something something


> or $180 for a cheese knife...

If it costs more, you'll, um, buy fewer of them?


In fairness, her answer to “ it what if I need it later?” is “then you can just buy it again!”

Her shtick has always been “get rid of stuff you don’t need” layered on top of rabid consumerism. This doesn’t seem the slightest bit out of character.


She isn't telling you to buy it brand new from retail. That's the absolute worst way to buy products. Buy it again means turn cash into utility, and if you buy used and sell once you are done with that utility, you can end up at zero net loss.

I moved into an apartment where I had to cut my own grass. I bought a mower for $50 and cut grass all summer. The next spring, I moved to a different apartment without a lawn and sold that mower for $50. If I ever need to cut grass again, I'll be back in the $50 mower market.

Net cost is zero to me and I have only just enough utility as I ever need, which is exactly what kondo envisions. No rabid corporate machine has been fed with my transient lawn care needs, just more circulation around the hyperlocal economy that is removed from globalism.


What she knows is that you often don't need it later.


I agree. It seems perfectly in line to get rid of all the things you actually don't like (but failed to notice in daily life) and replace them with things that make you happy.


Do the items in this store come with a guarantee they'll make you happy?

If they don't, how can anyone be sure they won't end up in the "Random crap I bought for no good reason and never really wanted or needed" pile?


They don't "make you happy", they "spark joy" :P

In all serioursness, after having "studied" the Minimalists, Marie Kondo, and having read plenty of Stoics' works, they all (more or less) point to the same direction (in my interpretation): lead the life YOU want. Don't get carried away in owning what others mandate, but what you need, don't do what others want you do but only what fulfills you, etc.

I tell my friends that I avoid things (items) that change my state. I want ME to change my state. I want people to change my state (to the positive preferably). A laptop won't make me happy. Skyping with friends via the laptop will.

A pile of books is only useful as one uses it. Having a bookcase filled with books I will never read again won't make me happy. Giving them away and keeping a one-in-one-out system will. (at least for me). Piles can be as good as non-piles can be. It's all with what we do with them :)


For the people that derive joy from throwing out junk...


I get what you're saying, but it also seems like a bit of a stretch to describe her "philosophy" as nothing more than "own anything that you like."

It would be odd if a popular advocate of healthy dieting opened a store selling a bunch of addictive junk food, and people jumped in and claimed that the person's philosophy is really just "mindful eating" and that if you think about what diet will make you happy, the answer might be a bunch of addictive junk food, and maybe that's fine!


> it also seems like a bit of a stretch to describe her "philosophy" as nothing more than "own anything that you like."

That's not really what he said. Mindful ownership isn't "anything you like".


I've decided to limit myself to one bookcase full of books, for similar reasons. Similarly, I'm trying to get rid of any technology that I can readily go buy another one at a reasonably cost anywhere.


A room full of books sparks joy in me.


I've always thought about whether I really need any given thing every time I move.


Kondo summarized: "If it doesn't bring you joy, throw it out."


Minimalism is something only the truly rich can actually afford to do: https://priceonomics.com/post/45447777955/is-minimalism-just...

Money is the ultimate backup for missing things or for things that are needed infrequently. Regular people can't afford to keep minimal, once you have paid for the item, it needs to be kept for future uses, even if those are very infrequent.


I think that is painting with a fairly broad brush. Head into Target, and somewhere near the centerish of the store, diagonal to the greeting cards and cosmetics, is aisles and aisles of stuff.

Not sheets, or plates, just stuff. Decorations to go on an end table, whos likely purpose is only to hold the decoration. Knick Knacks to go on that one wall with too much empty space.

But lets go back to sheets and plates. How many sets of sheets do you own per bed? Is there a reason for that number? For years, the answer was "More than 4" for my bed. There was "The good sheets", "The warm sheets" and the rest were sheets that I used because the good sheets were in laundry pile and I havent done laundry yet. Even then, why have the other pair of sheets?

Minimalism isn't necessarily "Dont own a drill you dont need it", but more of "Dont buy stuff to put on shelves that you bought for the sole purpose of putting stuff on but you had more shelf than space so you bought more stuff but now its too much and you need another shelf"


>Minimalism is something only the truly rich can actually afford to do

Hardly. I know lots of minimalist people that barely make ends meet (and could have loaded their credit cards to get a house full of junk like other people I know, but they didn't) -- you just have to get out of the rat race.

A writer that lives in a bare apartment, doesn't even have a TV set, doesn't need a designer espresso machine, or to stuff the house full of IKEA, is not a "truly rich" person.

Some such people I know make like 20-40K/year (US equivalent, they are in Europe, but I'm pretty certain tons of people like that exist in the US too. E.g., does this person look "truly rich": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfmfz_8b5fA ).

And yes, this includes people with kids.

It's also not about having few but hella expensive "quality" things. E.g. you don't need a Macbook to be a minimalist, you can do it with a knackered PC laptop you use for 10 years.


Maintenance is a big catch. You can either pay other people to maintain your things, or you can maintain them yourself. The former is expensive, the latter involves keeping an array of tools & materials. Cooking is another, and similar.

There's always the option of simply not doing maintenance and eating unhealthy, of course. But I wouldn't' consider that successful minimalism.


>Maintenance is a big catch. You can either pay other people to maintain your things, or you can maintain them yourself. The former is expensive, the latter involves keeping an array of tools & materials. Cooking is another, and similar.

But how is minimalism related to maintenance? I mean, minimalist just have/feel the need for less stuff. They still take their cars for service (if they have a car), wash their clothes, call the plumber, etc.

In that sense, minimalist is the opposite of consumerism. It's not about fixing your fridge yourself or making your own furniture. It's more about buying less furniture.

Same for eating. A minimalism and a non-minimalism can eat exactly the same, there's nothing much about minimalism as commonly understood that dictates how to eat.

Minimalist just says you don't need 50+ kitchen gadgets, fancy coffee makers, etc. A simple kitchen (with an oven, fridge, pans, microwave, etc) will do. And you can always cook (if you have the time regarding work) or eat out. Minimalism doesn't say anything about not eating out. Just says "don't amass stuff / consume less clothes/furniture/gadgets/shoes/etc / simplify your surroundings".


> They still take their cars for service

But not every car owner takes their car for service! That's the point.

Some car owners service their own cars, for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that it can be quite a bit cheaper.

I think this goes back to the point about needing money to afford having less stuff.

I have a set of ramps, an oil drain pan, a jug for returning the old oil, a specialized filter wrench, and a ratchet. That's about $200 in stuff, and then I pay $20 for oil and $4 for a filter each time. As opposed to $65 at the oil-change place or $80 at the dealer, because they both charge a mindboggling markup for using full-synthetic oil. (And I'm not confident the place on the corner actually puts in what they claim to anyway.)

Since I count this as something of a hobby, I don't count a dollar value for the time I spend doing it. Which means I'm saving roughly $50 each time, and the tools are paid for after 4 oil changes. After that it's pure savings. If I wanted to have less stuff, I'd pay quite a bit more for the privilege.

I assert that minimalism is directly at odds with self-sufficiency.


>I assert that minimalism is directly at odds with self-sufficiency.

No, you've proven that it's not. Many people equate minimalism to just not having stuff. Minimalism means you have the minimum amount of stuff for the task at hand.

You have one set of ramps, one oil pan, one jug, one specialized filter wrench only for your car, and a ratchet that fits that filter. Exactly the tooling you need for the job, and nothing more. That is very minimalist.

A non minimalist person who changes their oil might have a half dozen old jugs half filled with oil in their garage, a drawer full of misc filter wrenches, and redundant ratchets.


>But not every car owner takes their car for service! That's the point.

That's ~a~ point, but it's not tied to minimalism. That's more about the savings.

And in this day and age, with modern cars being quite unserviceable, I don't know many (whether poor or not) that fix their own cars, except for very basic things (changing oils, and so on. Not many tools needed for those).

>Since I count this as something of a hobby, I don't count a dollar value for the time I spend doing it. Which means I'm saving roughly $50 each time, and the tools are paid for after 4 oil changes. After that it's pure savings. If I wanted to have less stuff, I'd pay quite a bit more for the privilege.

Well, that's still like a small set of stuff, at best fitting in a small box and forgetting about it. So it's not really outside minimalism.

A person who is a minimalist but also a carpenter could have 10x the devices and still be a minimalist.

It's all about not getting more than you need to get the job done, which many people, whether in their regular decoration/life/job/etc, or in their hobbies, do (e.g. related to "gear acquisition syndrome").

In other words, it's like the idea of "minimum viable product", but applied to buying stuff. Orthogonal to how much that product must cost.

Sure, if someone is rich enough to oursource all of their life (e.g. have chefs deliver them food) then they don't need a kitchen at all, and can have a more minimal house this way.

But that's in no way a requirement for being a minimalist, or applying minimalism to one's house.

And in most cases it's the inverse: people with more money get a bloated kitchen with all kinds of crap they don't need ("juice squishier" anyone?) compared to people with less. But people with less are hardly minimalists either. You can overbuy stuff and fill your house even on a very basic wage (30-40K say).

>I assert that minimalism is directly at odds with self-sufficiency.

It's really orthogonal. What you describe as self-sufficiency example consists of buying all kind of tools to save $200 a year or less (and that's if one doesn't count their own time's value).

But even a person making $40K could still pay those $200 -- and they mostly do, minimalists or not.

So it's not like "changing oil self-sufficiency" or the need to save money on oil changes prevents one from being a minimalist. Or proves that you need to be "ultra rich" (the claim at the start of this thread) to be one.


> And in this day and age, with modern cars being quite unserviceable, I don't know many (whether poor or not) that fix their own cars, except for very basic things (changing oils, and so on. Not many tools needed for those).

Well, you just met one. Aside from pulling the engine, which would need a hoist I don't own, or body work (I've never been much good with sheet metal), there isn't a job I can't do on my car, which is a 2012 hybrid. Diagnostics are a USB dongle instead of a stethoscope now, and tweaks are likewise software-based, but here on HN of all places, this should not be surprising. Bearings are still bearings, tires are still tires, and the whole thing is held together with clips and screws and glue just like every other car in the history of cars. It's hardly rocket science.


It seems contradictory to attribute savings to owning your own tools when you admit you are not using the same oil. The dealer probably doesn't use the same filter either.


I think you read it backwards -- the shop on the corner is probably putting in _cheaper_ oil. If anything, I'm overpaying for oil and still saving.


A minimalist as currently known in popular culture doesn't own a chest of tools for repairing their car or bicycle, or pans & knives & cooking spoons & such. They don't have monkey wrenches & a pipe sweating kit. They pay a mechanic or a restaurant or a plumber. Which is where the current complaint that you have to have money to be a minimalist comes from.


I understand where it comes from but I hardly see the point as real for several reasons:

1) The argument at the start of this thread was that you have to be "ultra rich" (exact wording) to be a minimalist. It's hardly just the "ultra rich" that "pay a mechanic" or pay a plumber, and you hardly need to be one to afford to do so. If anything it might be only the ultra poor that can't afford those things.

2) Almost every middle class and most working class people I know pays mechanics and plumbers. And according to what I've read, poor people are more likely to eat e.g. fast food and such than sit and cook (many just don't have the time/will due to working hard for one).

3) Even if all the above weren't true, it's still a moot point. If only the things that prevented people from being minimalists where "monkey wrenches & a pipe sweating kit" and such "chest of tools for repairing their car or bicycle, or pans & knives & cooking spoons & such". It's all the other BS that fills every room of every house...

4) I also don't know where the weird notion comes from that "aA minimalist as currently known in popular culture" doesn't own tools, or pans and knives and cooking spoons and such. Minimalists can own all of those things. They just get rid of BS stuff we all have but don't need.


This feels like a very narrow definition and I find it sad if this is the broader interpretation of minimalism in our society.

I don't find Kondo's advice in any way incompatible with a definition of minimalism that includes retaining the kinds of basic tools people use to perform common repair tasks. Certainly anybody who reads her book and decides to discard their tools and materials, being sure that they have the resources to replace them, is not a person who takes a very considered approach to consumption.

But I took away something different. Junk is something that is not useful, whose very creation is likely wasteful. Redundant items and keepsakes, unused gadgets, things that truly have no use and even whose decorative and sentimental value is lost (ie they do not spark joy). To me, implied in getting rid of junk, is also a dedication to not acquiring or creating junk, thus reducing the overall waste of resources one generates. Such a view should actually highly value preserving truly useful and reusable items since it results in fewer wasted resources.

Maybe that isn't the message most take from her work, or the message she intended, but to me it seems like a form of minimalism we could all aspire to.


I think the point is that people who cannot afford to just pay to have important items fixed or replaced must own a lot of additional tools simply to maintain the important items that they own.

In other words, someone with more money can own a minimal set of important items, but someone with less money could own that same minimal set of important items but would also need to own more items to maintain the important items.


In my experience, people having too much shit, is not because they have "additional tools simply to maintain the important items that they own", but because they buy all kinds of unnecessary shit. I've seen less poor people with "tools to maintain the important items that they own" and more middle class / rich people with BS tools and sheds full of tooling that they rarely if ever use + all kinds of other consumer crap that is not related to tools.

If someone needs "additional tools simply to maintain the important items that they own" the can still be totally minimalist.


On the other hand one very easy way to tell a wealthy household from a poor household is that the poor household will have a shed full of rarely-used tools, things bought cheap at a flea market with the idea that when they are needed they will already be paid for, and odds and ends leftover from some earlier project that might be useful later.


Definitely thought that the backyard was gonna be filled with stuff hahaha.

ps. You don't need tools if you don't own a car, and you don't need to be rich to not own a car, especially if you live somewhere with decent public transport and bike infrastructure.


Except most of the non urban places I have lived, you Do need a car, you Do need tools. Uber is beyond expensive, no public transport, but I should just live in the city? This is classist bullshit.


"Need". I have friends who live in Whitehorse who bike year round. If you physically can do it, then you can do it.


I disagree, I was a minimalist when I made 16k per year in a high COL area as a graduate student. Minimalism is about reducing spending, getting rid of pointless (and cheap) knick knacks, and de-cluttering your life. The poor and the rich can both do this...it's not some definitional quality of the poor that they can't have few possessions, in fact they are probably much less likely to own a lot of possessions.


they are probably much less likely to own a lot of possessions

My observation has been the more hard up someone is, the larger their collection of almost worthless stuff "just in case". That used to be me, too.


It’s more about having a scarcity mindset than necessarily being poor. (Although the two are closely related.) As a grad student in a high COL area who posts on HN, you probably did not have a scarcity mindset.


How can spending less and being mindful of what you own a thing only rich can do?

Sure, if you're throwing away useful items and replacing them constantly then you're wasting money. But if you're buying only what you need, discarding items that haven't been used in 18 months, and constantly being mindful of purchases/items you own, there is no way it's "only for the rich".

What an absurd sentiment.


It's simple: because the richer you are, the more you can replace storing items with just-in-time throwaway purchases or services. You can easily throw away stuff you haven't used in 6 or even 3 months, if you can afford buying them on the spot when needed. You don't need tools or appliances if you can afford paying for a service. Etc.


I haven’t used my plunger in 18 months. Should I throw it away?


I didn't buy a gimmicky As Seen On TV kitchen gadget I'd use once and store in the garage for the rest of my life, am I a rich person?


No. Every time you use a plunger, it sparks joy as soon as you see the water level drop and realize you don't need to call a plumber.


It's difficult to see this as good-faith engagement with Kondo's advice of asking whether a particular item is useful or "sparks joy".


From the person I responded to:

> But if you're buying only what you need, discarding items that haven't been used in 18 months, and constantly being mindful of purchases/items you own, there is no way it's "only for the rich".

By their logic, I should throw away my plunger since I haven't used it in the last year and a half. But obviously I need to keep my plunger around in case of emergencies.

If you're not wealthy, you need to keep possessions around in case of emergencies. You need a car because you can't afford to Uber around everywhere. Or a thick winter jacket in case it becomes extremely cold out (even if that only happens every few years). Or an air conditioner/header because you can't afford an apartment with central AC. Or an old laptop because you can't afford to go out a buy a new one should your current laptop break.

Another example: I have an office job that lets me use work printers for personal purposes. I could get by with not having a printer at home. If you're less wealthy, you're more likely to not have an office job. Even if you do have an office job, it's possible that they are stricter wrt. printer rules. Another example of the disparity between wealthy people and non-wealthy people wrt. minimalism.


Well a rich person and a poor person are both going to keep the plunger, so here we are again starting at 0. You're not really making any sort of point.

If you haven't used your printer in 18 months you're probably okay getting by with the one at the library.


No, but you shouldn't buy one for every bathroom.


Owning things comes with its own cost - the cost of storage, care, and upkeep. The more complex the item, typically the more expensive it is to store it decently.

Getting rid of things and keeping a smaller amount of possessions can be cost saving - but it does require you to invest in better possessions. If you're only going to keep one pair of scissors on hand, you want to be pretty sure those scissors will do anything you need and not fall apart.

That's not necessarily more expensive overall but it can require more initial investment - and that can be the rub for many people.


> Owning things comes with its own cost - the cost of storage, care, and upkeep.

Care/upkeep is usually very minimal, especially with "dumb" items. As for storage, this is an inflexible cost. Your apartment has a fixed surface area for which you pay, and on a day-to-day basis, you only manage how dense you pack it with stuff. If you decide to throw away some stuff, you can't just shrink your house down and pay smaller rent.

This is why poor people tend to own a lot of stuff - because it's really hard to fill your living space to capacity with things, which makes stuff ownership effectively free on the margin.


"it's really hard to fill your living space to capacity with things"

This depends on the size of your living space, which varies greatly. Is it really that difficult to fill a 900 sq ft apartment, assuming you don't want to put a lot of boxes in the middle of your living room?

I notice that there are a lot of storage rental places, including major chains.


> assuming you don't want to put a lot of boxes in the middle of your living room?

Assuming. If you're a poor person with a place to live, you don't assume; you put the box.

Where I live, we have nothing like the popularity storage rental has in the US so I can't extrapolate, but I'd guess that it's something that lets you declutter your living space if you can afford it, thereby reinforcing the original point.


You wrote in the previous comment that "poor people" own lots of stuff because it's free to store. Having your living space taken up by stuff that you're not even benefiting from is a significant cost, so it's not free.

At least where I am, cheaper apartments tend not to have garages, where many people put all the stuff they are hoarding instead of their car.

As far as storage rental goes, it's generally available month-to-month, and can be useful when moving. Also, it comes in various sizes, from small lockers to garage-sized, so the expense varies. Say €60-€160/month.


> Minimalism is something only the truly rich can actually afford to do

I disagree. I was forced to be minimalist because I had to live in a tiny space since I didn't have money to rent a bigger one.

You also need money to be able to accumulate things in the first place, like people who have 10 pairs of shoes or a huge wardrobe. I only buy clothes if I actually don't have enough and it causes me to do laundry too often.


"You also need money to be able to accumulate things in the first place"

Or time.


Meh, not really, it's more of a mindset. I don't own much and I'm far from rich, I'm not poor either, I could own more stuff I just don't like it. I'm always surprised when I visit people and see all the shit they accumulated over the years, it's like entering ali baba's cave. Almost as if there isn't a single week going by without adding more gadgets or useless things into their life.

I will move to a new place in a few days and I could probably transport all my stuff in a regular car with foldable back seats. Actually the only thing that would fit your description is that I'll have to buy a washing machine, I'd gladly use public ones if they were not so expensive.


I lived in a city park without an apartment for 2 years, mostly Toronto and SF. It didn't require much ($CAD unless stated otherwise):

access to a kitchen once per day. a list of fave cafes. layered clothing. wool socks. 4 sets of undershirts/wear. 2 outerwear variants. tupperware. hammock tent ($100). bike ($400). bike lock ($60). bike multitool ($15). hand bike pump ($20). small backcountry backpack ($100). sleeping bag ($100). scrubba laundry bag ($50). leatherman utility knife ($60). spork ($5). white male privilege. single. $400/mo for groceries and entertainment. planet fitness membership ($22/mo). PO box ($400/yr). unlimited data plan (USD$10/mo).

yes, i was lucky to be able to do it easily, but no, true minimalism certainly does not require boat loads money, just the above, plus planning and commitment and some social capital as a safety net :)


the most unbelievable part of that is where in sweet gigabyte do you get unlimited data for $10 in Canada?


Good thing Kondo isn't espousing minimalism, then.


To be fair, I think her shtick is throwing useless stuff away, not avoiding acquiring it in the first place (because if you didn't have, you wouldn't need to discard it). With this new store, she profits from both ends of the junk lifecycle.


Marie Kondo's main criterion for keeping stuff is whether it makes you happy to have it. "Does this spark joy?" It has nothing to do with the utility of the items in question.


Does it spark joy?!? I don't have a toliet brush because I find it joyful...it's a utility...


Because I own a toilet brush I feel a tiny amount of joy each time I don't have to use my bare hands to clean the toilet.

Your preference may be different and that's ok.


Interesting digression: In Japan there was a recent fad of cleaning toilets with bare hands. A sort of hyper-stoic discipline exercise. It's not as big as western media makes it out to be, the story mainly revolved around a volunteer group that cleans public toilets with their hands.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/the-tao-o...


And, surprise, she discusses this exact retort to a simplistic summary of her method in the book.

It's fascinating how many people in this thread have never read anything she wrote, take a pithy sentence some other non-reader put forward as an accurate representation of what she stands for, and then "rebuts" her with the most glaringly obvious counter-example.


I read her books.


well, hoarders would love her, because all their garbage spark joy!


I honestly don't get the problem. If they had read the book, it should be obvious that throwing away "useless"(as in utility) stuff isn't the point of it. Sure, Marie presses hard, but she doesn't compel you to throw away things you like, just the stuff you think you like or you liked or may like in the future. In general, things that have no purpose being in the house.

Calling her store a site full of junk shows just how much some people got out of the book. I mean, she is just selling some novelties and if something on there sparks joy for someone, that's their business.

This utility only, multitool, male fantasy kind of minimalism that people want to believe Marie is all about is honestly very annoying.


It's the same simplistic interpretation of financial frugality, or just plain old sound money management. People like to present is as hair-shirts and gruel, and depriving yourself for no reason other than the accumulation of wealth for its own sake. But the whole point of good money management is so that you have the money to spend on the stuff you really care about, rather than wasting it on that which you don't.


yeah, i think its mostly just a humorous title.


She’s pragmatic and has to somehow capitalize on her success. And the very reason everyone owns so much crap is because this is the way you can easily do that. Selling cheap shit to the masses. She was never preaching an end to consumerism or actual social change. She just had a cute pitch for a role that could provide her fame so she could get a payday.

No doubt tons of fans of hers will fill their houses with her crap-ware and the irony will be lost on them. But what does it matter? They’ll buy it because they want to express their alignment with her image through their spending. Just like they bought an exercise bike because they wanted to seem fit. And then they threw it out because she told them it was what they should do and they listened and now she’s saying buy tuning forks and they’ll listen.


Went through the e-commerce site they reference. Besides spiritualist tools like tuning forks (useless to some, some people dig it, I try not to hate on fandoms of any flavor), I wouldn't call anything in there completely useless.

Maybe overpriced, but overpriced, high quality, purposefully minimalistically designed items are a staple now. Given the number of questions you can find on /r/minimalism of "what is the most minimalistic toothbrush", this is mostly harmless in the way capitalism tends to be.

The store is for people trying to deal with their anxiety by adjusting their environment to be more like a luxury spa/hygge cottage in the Alps. At the point where buying things from her website sounds awesome, I'm guessing you've already read the books and gotten something out of them.



Included in the collection is a Lego container--now thats something to spark joy and be tidy about it.

https://shop.konmari.com/collections/tidying-organization/pr...


To play Devil's Advocate:

Maybe the reason why this junk is so expensive is specifically to discourage people from cluttering their lives with it? Some of the more-obviously-useful stuff is more reasonably priced (organizers, soap bottles, etc.; there's a markup, sure, but it ain't extreme for a "premium" brand like Marie Kondo might be trying to establish). Meanwhile, the useless-looking junk is almost universally priced high.

Marie Kondo's playing a joy-sparking 4D chess game while we're here playing checkers.


It's certainly stuff that I would never purchase, but if they spark joy for her, it seems perfecty aligned with her philosophy. Tastes differ. Meh.


The Guardian covers the story entertainingly https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2019/nov/...


She's not buying junk. She's selling. If that's not walking the walk, I don't know what is.


Throw away crap so you can make room to buy NEW crap? Genius. That sounds like an idea straight from SV


TO rehash an old line: I put her book in my hand, and it did not bring me joy. So I binned it.


Why is the author picking on the tuning fork? The author even quotes Kondo explaining why the tuning fork has importance for her. Is it just that the author does not agree with the explanation?


Probably because it and the accompanying crystal are 1) marked up 100% relative to the comparable equivalents on e.g. Amazon and 2) seem to be aimed squarely at homeopathic "alternative" "medicine", within which 4096Hz tuning forks and quartz crystals and essential oils are all the rage.

In Kondo's defense, though, at least the product descriptions stick with vague weasel words like "believed to help restore a sense of balance" instead of actually making borderline-FDA-enforceable medical claims like snake^Wessential oil peddlers do.


She never claimed to be a minimalist. She only claimed to be tidy.


I'm not judging, but I'm honestly surprised we care what Marie Kondo does and how she betrays her whole premise. Sure, I heard about her, but is she considered to be a respectable lifestyle guru in USA now, or what? I thought, she is just some media-entertaiment celebrity for housewives, and it's not like it is unusual for a celebrity (or anybody else, for that matter) to betray his whole premise about 500 times a day...


Maybe she should have a nicer 'minimalist' trash can available to buy on her site ...


This is to be expected, it's part and parcel of capitalism. If you have an audience, you will eventually feel the pressure to sell something to them while the iron is hot, as maintaining an audience is work after all.

It's the same as Youtubers pitching phone skins and makeup brands. Or bloggers pitching their books or filling their posts with affiliate links?


You would have nothing that gives you no joy otherwise


One person’s junk is another person’s treasure


.... But earned 150$ from me just now


She betrayed her whole premise when she did a 10 paragraph idea into a whole TV series, books, and so on...


>Sure, nobody should fault Kondo for being a capitalist, and props to her for introducing some Eastern spirituality staples to Western sensibilities.

Why on earth not?




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