Arielle Bernstein wrote a piece for us recently about the KonMari method of decluttering and organizing—which, in part, instructs people to only keep the things that “spark joy.” Bernstein questioned that method from the perspective of the daughter and granddaughter of refugees:
[I]n order to feel comfortable throwing out all your old socks and handbags, you have to feel pretty confident that you can easily get new ones. Embracing a minimalist lifestyle is an act of trust. For a refugee, that trust has not yet been earned. The idea that going through items cheerfully evaluating whether or not objects inspire happiness is fraught for a family like mine, for whom cherished items have historically been taken away. For my grandparents, the question wasn’t whether an item sparked joy, but whether it was necessary for their survival.
Her piece got a lot of great response from readers. This one points out that “many of Marie Kondo’s Japanese compatriots remember, through their parents and grandparents, how difficult things were in post-WWII Japan”:
Japanese people of a certain age know a lot about poverty and hard times, which is partly why clutter and hoarding are problems there.