Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up premiered on Netflix on January 1 and people have Opinions. Of course they do. How dare she suggest we remove that from our lives which no longer serves a purpose? I’m going to eat that pizza eventually! Kondo’s organization method, called KonMari and outlined in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, involves five categories. They are: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items. The idea behind her method is that individuals looking to tidy their home takes each item into their hands one by one and determine whether each item “sparks joy,” or gives them a warm, happy feeling. If it does, it can stay. If not, it has to go. All well and good, right? WRONG. It’s wrong because this means we have to throw out books. The horror.
Lots of people on Twitter also felt outrage at this concept.
But also, how dare Marie Kondo. How dare.
Books are not to be thrown away. It’s just plain wrong. In the fifth episode, “From Students to Improvements,” Kondo even says, “Books are the reflection of our thoughts and values.”* So, what, are our thoughts and values meaningless? Do we just throw them out, too?
I cannot—cannot—believe the audacity.
Look, I’m a librarian. I love books. I LOVE them. I come home from being a librarian and either read or write for Book Riot because 40 hours a week of books** just isn’t enough for this book lover.
And Marie Kondo is wrong. We shouldn’t throw books away!***
We should recycle them.
*Taken out of context.
**This is a gross misunderstanding of librarianship for humor. I only wish my life was such. Don’t at me.
***The reality is, lots of folks are totally misconstruing Kondo here. (Though lots aren’t, as evidenced in the Twitterverse.) It is fine and good to remove books from your life that no longer serve you. This might come as a surprise, so prepare yourself, but—libraries do this all the time. It is literally in my job description to manage the collection, which means (get ready) getting rid of books.