Dear Marie Kondo

Dear Marie:

Let me start by saying that I did try to read your book, but failed to get past the first chapter due to an intense desire to smash something. I also tried to watch your show, and our entire family collapsed in snorts of laughter. But I did try.

I have questions.

I could hug all my clothes, and feel for the spark of joy, which you characterized as “ching!” I have a wardrobe full of vanilla, okay clothes that do me just fine, yet do not bring me sparks of joy. There are a few pieces that “ching!” softly but for some of those, the “ching!” is barely audible. What about my non-spark clothes? Do they remain in my wardrobe, or do they occupy a limbo space in a bottom dresser drawer? Do I put them on probation and meditate over them?

Also, if I throw away all my non-spark clothes, what happens when I need to get spark clothes? Will you set up a joy-go-fund-me?

For example, several of my non-ching! items are clothes specific to work and formal situations. I do not love stiff blazers and non-stretch work pants. I bought $500 academic regalia when my then-employer insisted on me wearing regalia to graduations (and then laid me off). I hate my academic regalia. It’s a ridiculous, enormous gown and does nothing for my height and body type. In my present work situation, I do not need too many of these items on a regular basis, so the ching! is faded. But you know how it is under capitalism. You are after all a product of said capitalism. You know jobs are unreliable, and people are forced to be mobile. What happens when I need to wear clothes I do not love for the purpose of making a professional appearance? Do I shop for them again? Do I go back to Josteen’s and buy another non-joy gown?

I am 50. I have been through several sizes, after cancer treatment, and I have no idea what size I’ll be in the next couple of years. Should I dump all my not-quite-fit clothes, hoping I will never need them again?

We can’t shop over and over again, when we change jobs, sizes, tastes, life situations, lifestyles.

Poor people have lots of stuff because they have crappy stuff. Rich people have the luxury of having a small quantity of excellent clothing. They also have the luxury of long and short term storage, so their ching! and non-ching! clothes can escape your judgemental gaze.

So quit telling me it’s my fault I have too much stuff or non-joy stuff, or I’m not folding it right, or not thanking my house enough. We are doing our f***ing best.

Instead, go visit Bezos, Gates, the Kochs, Murdoch, and Musk and tell them they’ve robbed us of our joy. They’re holding our ching! hostage.

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