Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is inspiring Americans to clean out their closets and spare bedrooms and garages, sending their clutter to thrift stores. I applaud this, because I can’t wait to dig through everyone’s castoffs for treasure.
It’s too soon for anything but anecdotal evidence, of course. A report about a jam-packed Goodwill parking lot here; talk of a line at Buffalo Exchange there. News outlets have already begun making calls to thrift stores who say sure, maybe. But it’s a pretty safe conjecture that a show premiering at a prime time for intentions about fixing one’s life—the show dropped on New Year’s Day!—would encourage people to wander over to their most stuffed closet and make at least a cursory effort at editing their possessions.
Enter magpies like myself! (It is probably not a surprise to anybody who has ever read any article that I’ve ever written on this website that my ideal lazy afternoon is to spend five hours wandering from sprawling antique mall to sprawling antique mall.)
Now, I’m not trying to clutter my own home, here. I swear I fully intend to act with the utmost restraint. It’s just the best possible time to go rambling through brick-and-mortar thrift shops and antique malls and Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist with my running mental list of nice-to-haves: A tiny table to go between the sofa and reading chair; a brass bed frame; lamps; Christmas decorations; a vintage line-green Pyrex like the one my grandmother used to make fudge; and of course, plastic toys, particularly Fisher Price Little People and a cute play kitchen in decent condition. Perhaps Marie Kondo will send these things my way, perhaps not!
Then there are the incidentals that I will not refuse if they cross my path, like a little painted tin that can hold hairpins or pens, or an aesthetically frilly piece of serve-wear easily repurposed to hold outgoing mail, or perhaps candy. You know—grandma stuff. Don’t even get me started on the books I’m going to snap up, by which I mean spiral-bound community cookbooks and handbooks of 1950s sex jokes and hilariously outdated guides to home design.
Unfortunately, I will have plenty of competition, because I am certainly not the only raptor circling. I’m fairly confident collectors are already licking their chops, thinking of all the things they’re going to scoop up. Buy low, sell high! Or just buy low, enjoy. Marie Kondo—thank you.