Mari Kondo has built an empire convincing people that they could be happier if they just get rid of nearly everything in their homes by emotionally recognizing the value of the item, thanking it, and letting it go on to some other life. This idea of wellness as owning less is what led me to donate and consign so much of my own clothing that I now find no joy in my own closet between the two pairs of pants and four shirts I actually own. Under the guidance of the KonMari method, I and thousands of others submitted to the belief that happiness and a sense of mental clarity can be attained by having less and keeping only the items that “spark joy.”
Well giving away the secrets to happiness must not have been all that lucrative because now the Marie Kondo online store is up and running. Apparently, we no longer have all the things we need to spark joy in our homes. The shop, which is tidy and designed with calming muted colors, features all the joy-sparking items one could possibly need including this crumb brush. The joy of brushing crumbs off your vintage minimalist table will run you $24 before shipping and taxes, which is not exactly Goop territory but seems expensive for something I can make myself.
The items on the site are supposedly those that Kondo herself believes spark joy, although how much joy one can derive from this sponge is beyond me. So instead of acquiring joy by giving things away, we now have to actually buy it. Not only can joy be purchased on the website, but so can tidiness. Five different octagonal plates to organize your house full of nothing will make everything better.
The site isn’t just selling you the tools for happiness, there are also video guides. In the “Rituals” section of the website, users can learn how to purify their homes, greet their homes, and even bathe joyfully. Not only is Kondo wading into the waters of “wellness,” but she’s also taking a stab at monetizing spirituality. The art of purifying one’s home is deeply personal, involves focus, and specific tools based on one’s objectives and spiritual alignments. I clear my space once a week with palo santo (which you can buy from Marie Kondo for $68), chanting prayers derived from Quran passages, and loud music to wake up the ghosts that definitely live in my apartment and get them out. This weekly routine is designed to honor my ancestors and my specific religious beliefs. There’s no one size fits all manner that Marie Kondo or Gwyneth Paltrow or even Oprah can offer to cleanse a space.
The most expensive thing on the website and there are plenty to choose from, is the $500 annual fee you can pay to become a certified KonMari Consultant. If you’re thinking, hey I absolutely have the time and money to pursue a KonMari consulting career, then all you have to do is read her books, tidy your home, take a course, tidy at least two other people’s homes, and complete an exam. Wow, who knew that happiness could be so accessible? Please excuse me while I go try and rescue all of the things I gave away this year.