Marie Kondo, who became a billionaire by telling us that the only way to be happy was to empty the houses of the superfluous, therefore of everything, and keep only socks, underpants and pots (books too), has surrendered to entropy, even she accumulates clothes and books and superfluous possessions in the corners of the rooms, under the beds, inside the carpets, and she doesn’t iron, and doesn’t fold, and doesn’t fold. Her children (three of hers) have scrambled her priorities, shortened her days, exhausted her energy, and so dominating chaos no longer matters to it, or rather it does care but it does it differently, no longer exiling it, but sitting on it, inside it, sinking into it with pleasure as we all do. She said that the only thing that matters to her now is spending more time with her children, and she said it when she presented her next book, which belies the previous one, the 2018 best seller (The magical power of tidying up, Vallardi ), which the New York Times reviewed as the manual of a miracle within everyone’s reach, a Gospel. Now she has changed her mind, and her new philosophy is Kurashi, i.e. a more serene acceptance of disorder (the book is called Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life): a very Italian compromise, a mediation between minimalist obsession and accumulating compulsion.
You will remember the moment when Marie Kondo, guru without looking like it, fell into our lives telling us that to be happy we would have to give up the superfluous, crumple it up and throw it away, mercilessly, in defiance of nostalgia, fetishism, animism, and, once the great cleanup was done, we would have to go on tidying up the few remaining essential material possessions. It was four years ago, before Covid, before what remained of lightheartedness was lost forever, irreparably. Fake news enjoyed robust health, and magical thinking too: we were already gullible enough to believe that a thirty-four-year-old Japanese girl had found the key to happiness and that happiness was putting us in order to sort out drawers. We still liked happy fairy tales, goodnights for rebellious girls, of course, but above all manuals for soft, private, individual revolutions. Environmentalism was less demanding, and we settled into the idea that to do good for the world it was enough to do good for our home, our sofa, our bedside table. And in fact she arrived, candid, clean, precise, combed, perhaps fireproof, and told us that we lived on excesses, that living surrounded by objects that reminded us of the past, as well as making dust, anchored us in the past, made us gray, destabilized us . She proposed to take everything out and down and interrogate every little ghost, every letter, every record, every book, hold it close and understand, in a few minutes, what vibrations it gave us back, and proceed to eliminate it if those vibrations were negative. And she convinced us. We all have at least one friend who has applied Kondo’s manual and has also come to tell us that he has become better, more sensitive, deeper, more spiritual.
As long as the world locked itself up at home due to Covid and objects became important, animated, alive, friends, and it became even more important to redefine spaces, obtain new and additional ones in apartments that had become cramped, because since they were dormitories they ended up being squares and offices and restaurants. And we all re-discussed the priorities and we all had to focus on the essential, visible or invisible, after a year of forced collective prison, and just as she resigned from the objects, we resigned from work, from relationships toxic, from polluted cities – or at least we tried. And we have become (a little more) radical, just as she wanted us to be, while she has softened, and has done so as a mother, knowing that this is a world that does not forgive those who change their minds, unless they do it in the name of the children, because this is a world that considers children incompatible with the absolute.