Apparently, “decluttering” is a big thing now. There’s even a show on Netflix called, Tidying Up, for people looking for expert advice on the topic. Marie Kondo, a giggly, sweet young woman hosts the program, and seems to charm pack-rats like a dog whisperer for humans. She promotes clearing out the clutter and choosing joy.
I may not be an expert on much, but even I could host this show. Although, I’d probably be a bit too abrasive for the easily offended bunch of pansies we’ve raised in the last couple decades. Telling them to quit buying stuff or clean their house would definitely strike them the wrong way. There would be tears and hurt feelings and I’d have to send them to the quiet room to gather themselves and calm their little beating hearts.
Sadly, this soft-spoken woman who appears to go door-to-door in an endeavor to spread the new religion of minimalism is speaking mostly to millennial Westerners, where credit cards are used like a video game controller and stuff is collected faster than self-important coffee connoisseurs collect Starbucks cups on the floors of their cars.
Heaven forbid our kitchen cupboards contain an outdated color of Tupperware that just doesn’t give off the JOY vibe anymore. Or maybe the thirty-something youngster still living in your basement has stock-piled too many t-shirts depicting his favorite super hero and the drawers of his dressers no longer close properly, so the floor is covered in a rainbow of crumpled cotton.
I know there is a need for simple-simon instructions for the modern American. The dumbing down of America we’ve feared for so long is at an all-time high. Young people get out of college and have no idea how to thread a needle to sew on a button without viewing a ten-minute YouTube video. And who has time for that? Consequently, there are lots of joyless shirts in basement closets, missing buttons.
I’ve heard Ms. Kondo also has some kind of silly limit on book ownership. As though you can only find joy in the books you’re currently reading. That is just blatant ignorance. I don’t have to hug each book or meditate over them to know they are worthy of continued space in my home. But that shouldn’t be a problem for most people, since very few seem to read books anymore.
If I hosted the show, it would be more like a combination of Scared Straight and Judge Judy. Instead of soft words and smiling suggestions, I’d yell, “Pull on your big girl pants and stop sniveling! We’ve got work to do! Give your old clothes to Salvation Army, donate those vinyl records you no longer have a player for, toss those plastic containers stained with tomato sauce, and for heaven’s sake scrub your bathroom!”
You don’t need a reality show host looking through all your cabinets to know that.
But in a world of angry twitter comments and shouting news commentary, a tiny woman with a sweet smile and soft voice, suggesting you pick up the mess is probably much more attractive.
I used to think my mom yelling at me to clean my room or pick up my toys or take out the garbage was unnecessary. But truthfully, most kids don’t react to soft spoken requests. They ignore you. I know. I’ve lived both sides of it. I was a kid once and I raised kids. When mom raises her voice, you know you better get up and do it or else.
The people on this Tidying Up show might hug Marie and tell her thank you for helping me throw away my collection of old pantyhose I haven’t worn for two decades, but I guarantee as soon as she’s out the door they are out back of the house pulling stockings out of the dumpster. Their bank account is overdrawn, their credit cards are maxed out and it’s time for dinner. Their only option… to pull a stocking over their face and rob McDonalds.
Thanks for stopping. Leave a comment and say hello or tell us about your hoarding weakness. Mine is NOT books. (clarification: Books cannot be hoarded. They are collected.)