Holding On

A Study in Contrasts — “Hoarders” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”

I became interested in Marie Kondo some time ago. I bought her book (which I never completely read), watched her television show, and have Kon-Mari-ed my house a couple of times in a desire to purge the excess of our lives from our small house. As a reader and book lover, I have niggling regrets over the number of books I let go of during one of those purges, respectfully thanking each one for the joy it brought to my life. I’ve also laughed at the many anti-Kon-Mari book-lovers memes.


Believe me, I DID NOT whittle my collection of books down to 30. On my nightstand? Yeah.

On the other side, I also have a deep fascination with A&E’s “Hoarders” series. Part of that, and part of the psychology behind my reckless abandonment of a buttload of books, is a fear that I may become a hoarder. My mother had some hoarding tendencies. She had, for example, check registers from 1968 because she, in her words, wanted to compare prices between then and now. The only reason she didn’t become one of those boxes-stacked-to-the-ceiling kind of hoarders was because my father is exactly the opposite. You can fit everything he keeps for sentimental or impractical reasons in a banker’s box. He would never have stood for her making their home into a raven’s nest or a groundhog burrow of junk-lined tunnels.

The point of both of those shows is to demonstrate the concept of letting go.

Sometimes, for your own health, happiness, peace of mind, sanity, you just need to let go. And sometimes, same reasons, you just need to hold on.

I actually like the Kon-Mari concept of letting go of things that don’t directly bring you joy. I suspect there would be a lot fewer hoarders in the world if we hadn’t developed the notion that clinging to things somehow brings us joy. It doesn’t. That didn’t keep me from spending $20 at yard sales last Saturday buying more stuff.

In this months original stories, you’ll find things worth clinging to and things worth letting go and the joy and heartbreak that can come with both.