In 2014, Marie Kondo wrote the book on decluttering. Literally. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Fans are devoted to Kondo’s “KonMari” method for organizing their homes.
You will not find Kondo’s book perched in my extensive bookshelves. If you look long and hard enough, however, you might locate a ripped-out New York Times page printed with Dominique Browning’s 2015 article, “Let’s Celebrate the Art of Clutter.” I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Check the floor!
Anyway, I’ve decided that whether you’re a minimalist neat freak like Kondo or a maximalist packrat like me, you should commit to the lifestyle fully. Keep nothing or keep everything. (Obviously, if you’re on the “everything” side, stay within the limits of sanity. No animal carcasses, please.) It’s a mistake to keep practically everything and then — in a brief, crazy moment of “uncluttering” — toss one or two items. Whenever I do that, I don’t free up any meaningful space, but do manage to lose something with meaning. I’m still scouring eBay for the silver Todd Oldham t-shirt that I wore in the early 1990s.
This week, I searched in vain for a button (or a badge, depending on the word you prefer) that I got around the same time as the Oldham top. I did find three other buttons.
The “I Care” button is probably from 1993 or 1994, the years I did AIDS Dance-a-Thons. I’m pretty sure I got the top two at a pro-choice march on Washington in 1992. That would have been the same time and place I got the button that said something like, “Vote for Hillary’s Husband.” I thought that would be an interesting artifact to share ahead of next week’s election, but it is nowhere to be found. I’m also missing a button that I got in the mid-’80s that said, “It’s Frank Sinatra’s world. We just live in it.” (It was hilarious to me at the time.) I’m sure I had those two buttons till relatively recently and I’m convinced that in a fleeting KonMari instant, I thought, “Wow, it will really tidy things up if I get rid of these two buttons.” Yeah right. That made a YUGE difference around here!