Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mary Kenny: are we decluttering our history?

The Marie Kondo fad for tidying is a real threat to family archives

Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Why is it that a couple of Japanese books about TIDYING have swept the western world, and their 31-year-old author, Marie Kondo, has become an adored guru?

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Perhaps the simple answer lies in the designer Orla Kiely's recent observation that we all have too much stuff nowadays. 'Stuff' is coming out of our ears, and cluttering up our homes and our minds, and so Ms Kondo's oeuvre The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and its follow-up Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying have appeared at exactly the right moment.

While KonMari (as Marie Kondo also signs herself) advocates some sensible tactics for, literally, getting your house in order, much of what she says is so blindingly obvious that it hardly bears repeating. Arranging possessions by category is obviously practical. But "a place for everything and everything in its place," was a copybook heading when my granny was in infants' school. It's a wise old saw, and when people grow old, it's almost life-saving advice: if you always hang the front-door key on a key-hook in the hall, it will always be there.

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