Marie Kondo is a rock star. The diminutive, soft-spoken Japanese invaded America in a way Hirohito could only dream of.
Do we need to “Kondomari” our lives as well as our homes?
Kondo wrote the book The Magic of Tidying Up. The marketing manipulators at Netflix launched her into fame with by paring her with new year resolutions. Her program Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is a hit.
Everyone now dumps closets, caresses camisoles, and folds socks in a way that doesn’t hurt their feelings. People have disposed of libraries and glorify in empty rooms.
“Kondomaring” has boosted donations to thrift stores by almost 50%. Bibliophiles roast her for “burning books” (although she never advocates this practice).
Hers is only the building of a wave of minimalism in Western culture.
Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism preaches the need to strip life down to the basics. He advises learning a new word to handle life. No.
Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism carries the same flag. The thesis is simple. We have junked up our psyches with digital trash. (Note: I will review the book at the end of February.)
This “toss it out” mentality flows from decades of marketing (or is the word propaganda?) creating automatons of consumerism. You can buy two of a worthless something for the price of one. Everyone has this gadget. Have you signed up for the latest social media app? It’s what digital nomads are into.
Jesus targets the problem with consumerism. He told the story of a rich man who looked forward to a full and long life. His rings eternal yet ominous warning.
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
Our issue is not with possessions but with accumulation and its underlying reason. The one with the most toys wins. The larger our bank accounts, the richer the life. That’s the cultural standard.
So we pack our lives until we cannot move, think, or have time to sit and reflect. We spend our lives taking care of things that never last.
Kondomaring only deals with your physical. Once you enter the closet of your heart and life, it is even junkier. We accumulate thoughts, habits, beliefs, and traits. Some are worthwhile, but most are clothes that do not fit.
Life hands us an opportunity every day to open that closet, the one we like to nail shut, the one that all the lost hopes and dreams will fall out of. It’s that closet we need to empty, hold our tenets and patterns in our hands and think, “do I really need this?”
Once we get past our physical stuff to our spiritual stuff we have no criteria with which to measure. We can’t try it and struggle to button the buttons. Neither can we poke fingers through holes.
Marie Kondo asks “does it spark joy?” That question doesn’t fit when you test habits, thoughts, and attitudes.
Here are other questions that might help.
What’s the Value?
Value is what something does for you. A woman cut the roast in half before she would cook it. Her daughter asked her, “why do you cut the roast?” Her reply was, “that’s the way to do it.” Not satisfied with the answer, the girl pressed her mother. The answer was, “it’s because that’s how my mother did it.”
She decided to ask her mother. “Why did you cut the roast in half when we were kids?” It was a shocking response. “It’s because the pan we owned could only hold a half.”
Clay Christensen proposes to use value to check the use of technology. “What did you hire it for?” A cell phone can help you make a call, hail an Uber driver, and give you directions. That’s what we “hired” it for. Yet, when it wastes our time and lives, we need to find out the “why.”
If you hired an employee for $1000 who did nothing but sit in a chair and waste your time, would you keep him?
Is It Positive or Negative?
This is about improvement. I kick myself for doing something dumb. (Don’t be shocked. I do plenty of silly things and get s lot of exercise doing high kicks!) The question is, does it help me do better? Do I improve?
The question is does it assist or hinder your life, your faith, and your family? Why would you keep something that hurts you rather than helps you?
What Direction Is It Taking You?
Many times, we don’t think about the tides that push our lives. Ocean swimmers must sense the direction of the flow lest they are swept out to see.
The Bible book of Genesis tells the tale of Lot’s choices and their consequences. As a young man, he made a financial decision that would give him abundance. It required him to move his family to the cities of the plain, two of which were Sodom and Gomorrah.
The choice changed him in unexpected and shocking ways. His life took on a grisly tenor. He offered his daughters to an abusive mob to be gang-raped and then sired his own grandsons.
Few people consider “second generation” decisions. We choose based on the attraction of the moment but never think of the unintended consequences of the future.
Some cases of diabetes and obesity are the consequence of small decisions made over time. No one sets out to be sick. They just eat a donut….and another…and another…and another.
If I continue to do and think as I do, will it get me to where I want to go? Do you want that as a destination?
Until you do a “deep clean,” you never know how good it feels. Should you sweep clean the detritus of your life and experience true freedom?