Is your home now bare and desolated because you watched one too many episodes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo? Good job for cleaning up your act!
A seismic void in your living quarters, maybe it’s time to throw in some new stuff to occupy all that glorious space. What say you, newly-minted minimalist? Does the prospect bring a renewed sense of retail excitement? Most importantly, does it… spark joy?
I’m not pointing to the run-of-the-mill, grey-scaled, homeware at the pseudo-Japanese setup near your place, with its white walls covered with “kaizen” and “ikigai” posters.
I’m talking about Marie Kondo’s very own store under her KonMari lifestyle brand, which focuses on “a suite of products, services, and content designed to help organize your home and bring joy to your life,” as explained in the brand’s website.
What exactly are these products, you ask? Why would an advocate of tidiness and minimalism hop on the train of capitalism and encourage – the horror – home clutter?
Well, Kondo did explain in a WSJ interview that her method is not about “getting rid of things,” but rather keeping things that bring you joy. That means if your favorite spoon is now at the recycling line waiting for reincarnation, you can buy a new one at Kondo’s for US$64.
Like most of the products on the site, the brass cutlery is handmade by Ruka “Lue” Kikuchi in the Japanese city of Setouchi. Kikuchi is a second-generation metalsmith who specializes in brass work.
“This handmade serving spoon is an elegant addition to any table. Each step of its making – from cutting and hammering to welding and polishing – is carried out by Kikuchi himself, creating a useful and enduring keepsake,” the description reads.
There’s also a brass plate with hammered marks throughout, creating a personalized look that ages with time. All for a price of US$52. It’s currently sold out, though.
The items on sale cover household needs, and expectedly, with a focus on organization. Find candlesticks, slippers, trays, boxes, cans, bins, brushes and more –– all of which are rather steep in pricing.
Since the store launch, Kondo has received her fair share of criticism on social media, and understandingly so. The general sentiment lambasted the Netflix star for the obvious irony since she has been encouraging people to rid of clutter in her books and TV shows.
In her defense, Kondo further explained to WSJ that she isn’t encouraging people to replace meaningful and personal things in their lives, and if they continue to “spark joy”, they should keep them.
“What’s most important to me is that you surround yourself with items that spark joy. If the bowl you’re using currently sparks joy for you, I don’t encourage replacing it at all.”
By no means are the products affordable, especially when it fulfils a need as basic as holding a toothbrush. One can argue the hypocrisy in Kondo’s online store, but going beyond the noise, the goods are indeed well-designed and made for those who are entirely fine with spending a little more for their homes.
When it comes down to it, it’s really a matter of choices. If spending half your paycheck on a hexagon-shaped coaster, erm, sparks joy in your life, then go for it. If you think that the money is better off splurged on Baby Yoda merch, more power to you.