Tidying Guru Marie Kondo Visited The Clutter Dungeon That Is Anthropologie

Marie “KonMari” Kondo, professional de-clutterer and author of bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, made it in and out of Anthropologie alive and without purchasing any regretful dust-collectors. How did she do that? Anthropologie is a clutter magnet for any woman who dares to meander in, and her presence there is the greatest oxymoron of all. I love their frilly dresses as much as the next person, but no place is more likely to brainwash me into dropping $50 on “whimsical” knickknacks like twee ceramic elephants or imitation geode bookends, only to realize when I get home that they’re useless and I have no space for them. In my latest quest to clean house over the past few months, that store has been public enemy #1. Yet Kondo made it through utterly unfazed, which begs the question of how a professional stuff-purger manages to shop so much more efficiently than a normal.

Kondo’s organizing method is all about emotions, and she prompts her followers to only keep items in their home that “spark joy” while tossing all the rest. She insists you’ll know immediately what’s worth keeping simply by holding it in your hands, and that we keep useless items due to unresolved baggage with our past or fear about the future. She loathes complicated Container Store contraptions and promotes more instinctive storage routines. I tried Kondo’s method a few weeks ago when I did a major purge before packing up for my most recent move, and it was fairly easy to determine which things were “joyful,” especially when it came to clothes. I got rid of at little under half of my possessions, so something definitely worked for me, but I couldn’t help but get a little snarky about the rules now and then – it’s tough to assess whether your kitchen sponge or your iron spark joy! In some situations, a little harsh pragmatism is the only thing that can help you organize your shit, no matter what your heart is telling you about the joy content in your house. Regardless, I liked the mindset shift her book provided me with, and would love to see her write a piece on how to apply it to shopping.

To tide us over in the meantime, Kondo visited the flagship Anthropologie store in Manhattan with the New Yorker in tow to report back to us cluttery commonfolk on how to shop. Kondo approached the store with a visual in mind of exactly what she wanted. She preaches that one of the most important aspects of shopping is making an effort to hold each item before deciding what to purchase. Kondo insisted to the New Yorker that if we’re going to buy something, “we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it … I have to touch everything.” So essentially, shopping KonMari style means applying her purging rules in reverse and looking for joy around every corner. She instructs readers to look through the entire store assessing what they like before trying anything on, and that shopping alone is ideal in order to avoid the stress of impatient company. Oh, and then she launched into a rule I can’t help but bitch about: never wait for something that brings you joy to go on sale. I get that when you want something really badly, it’s worth it to just pay up, but I’m a bargain shopping addict and I’m so not about to give up that routine under the guise of it magically making my home tidier. On-sale junk takes up just as much as space as full-price junk, and that’s never going to change. After touching and trying on ten items, feeling for joy in them, Kondo left with just two dresses that she was unlikely to regret or later view as impulse buys. I guess she’s doing something right. Anthro escape route: touch EVERYTHING and ignore any funny looks.

[The New Yorker]

[Image via Shutterstock]