Who is Marie Kondo?
I kept noticing a beautiful Japanese woman popping up on various news programs and talk shows. Her name is Marie Kondo and, apparently, I’m late to her fan base. Marie Kondo has written a best seller titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and has a hit show on Netflix.
That book title grabbed my attention. I’m known among family and friends for being a stickler for cleanliness. So, I investigated her website to learn more about this woman. Marie Kondo, as it turns out, is making a fortune encouraging people to clean up and simplify their surroundings by choosing to keep only the things that give joy.
The concept was intriguing. Even as I type, I’m looking around and realizing that, if I were to take her words to heart, I would get rid of several things, just in this one room. I’m sixty. I’ve been married for thirty-eight years and we have accumulated a lot of “stuff.”
Six rules for a tidy life
Marie Kondo has six basic rules to tidying:
- Commit yourself to tidying.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category, not by location.
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Marie teaches, “If you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.” (And yes, I checked. She does have children.)
A lot of what she teaches makes good sense. I started making a home in the 1980s. Back in those days, we couldn’t put enough “stuff” on our shelves. Every stack of books required a small brass pot with a plant on top. And every wall was to be a collage of something rather than one giant canvas of one giant flower. And, we were taught to find our joy in God and in people, not things.
God’s rules for a tidy life
I teach Bible and therefore believe that the highest joy is a product of knowing God and walking in a right relationship with our Creator. But the Bible also teaches about the importance of simplicity and not being consumed by the “stuff” of life.
Paul taught Timothy to keep things simple in his life, writing, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:6–8). I think people in our culture would be happier today if we took these verses to heart in our lives.
Interestingly, Marie Kondo teaches that the first place a person should simplify is their clothes closet. The second step is their books. I’ll be honest, I’m really “tidy” except for my clothes and my books. Maybe Marie is onto something here! I don’t think I will become a Marie Kondo disciple anytime soon, but I do think she inspires some healthy thinking.
If you are like me, you probably have too much “stuff” cluttering your life and home as well. Maybe spring cleaning this year should be a little larger in scale.
A clean life and a clean soul
A few weeks ago, I sent around an idea on my Facebook page. A friend had shared the idea with me and I thought it was a great one.
Christians have a tradition of “giving up” something for Lent. The season of Lent begins in one week. The Facebook post suggests that we all take boxes and bags, and, for the forty days of Lent, give up at least one thing we don’t use anymore, that someone else could. At the end of those forty days, we can donate those things to a ministry or resale center.
As I look around my home, I could probably do this every day for a year! One thing, each day, that we can give to someone else. How will that choice simplify our lives and bless others?
To that I would add this idea: The “stuff” Christians give shouldn’t always be material. What would happen if we added a second commitment?
What words can you give away each day as well? Easter is a time when people are more aware of Jesus and his sacrificial gift of salvation. Whom can you share the joyful hope of Easter with this year?
Marie Kondo instructs people to only keep those things that give them joy. I think there is some value in her thinking. But, there is a higher value in God’s thinking, and I want to close with his words.
Isaiah 55:1–3 reveals the compassion of God for his people. God told Isaiah to tell us:
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live.
I’m going to choose something nice each day of the Lenten season that I can give away to someone who needs it more. I also want to commit to inclining my ear to God’s voice for those forty days. I want my closet and home to look a little better by Easter, but, even more, I would like my soul to be better as well.
Will you join me in choosing some of Marie Kondo’s advice and all of God’s?
We can bless other people with what we give up and give away. Our homes, our lives, and our souls will look a lot better for Easter this year if we make that commitment for the season of Lent.