Book lovers are not happy about the way organization guru Marie Kondo recommends handling books in her new Netflix series “Tidying Up.”
What’s “Tidying Up”: Based on Kondo’s wildly popular book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” released in 2011, “Tidying Up” follows Kondo as she helps regular people transform their living spaces through the minimalist organization.
- Dubbed the KonMari method, Kondo’s organization system focuses on tackling categories — books, clothes, papers — rather than rooms.
- Kondo instructs cleaners to pick up each item they own and ask themselves if that item sparks joy. If it does, she says, keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service and toss it.
Why book lovers are upset: In her book and on the show, Kondo says the value of books lies in the information they contain and that “there is no meaning in them just being on your shelves.”
- If you have a lot of unread books or books you hang onto in the belief you’ll reread them one day, Kondo recommends getting rid of them.
- She says that as a result of practicing the KonMari method herself, she owns no more than 30 books. Kondo personally considers that number ideal.
- In her book, Kondo writes that she once ripped relevant pages out of books that she found sparked some joy. It was an experiment that ultimately didn't work for her and resulted in those pages being discarded later.
The response: Kondo’s advice was not well-received by many book lovers or collectors, who took to Twitter this week to express their grievances with Kondo’s method.
- Novelist Anakana Schofield called the idea that books should spark joy “ludicrous.”
- “Literature does not exist only to comfort and placate us. It should disturb + perturb us,” Schofield tweeted.
Do NOT listen to Marie Kondo or Konmari in relation to books. Fill your apartment & world with them. I don’t give a shite if you throw out your knickers and Tupperware but the woman is very misguided about BOOKS. Every human needs a v extensive library not clean, boring shelves— Anakana Schofield (@AnakanaSchofiel) January 3, 2019
Lots of readers expressed dismay at the idea of getting rid of their books or ripping pages from books.
Wait Marie Kondo is telling people to toss their books? THEIR BOOKS? pic.twitter.com/QQxAXwk3Sq— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) January 4, 2019
I don’t think Marie Kondo and I would see eye to eye, given that my definition of happiness is being able to reach out from literally anywhere in my apartment and lay hands on a book or five.— Amber Sparks (@ambernoelle) January 5, 2019
With my apologies to @MarieKondo I have spent the morning reorganizing my library and I don’t plan on getting rid of any books. Rather I resolve not to acquire any more until I’ve extracted the full wealth of words I’m privileged to have in my home. #amreading pic.twitter.com/io7mcrqtQZ— Mark Lewis (@marklewismd) January 5, 2019
I’m not sure whether I should love or hate Marie Kondo right now. But she did advise that one can rip out pages from their favorite books & throw away the rest so they can... “keep only the words they like”. So, hate it is. pic.twitter.com/PzYHlmyh1q— Cleve Arguelles (@CleveArguelles) January 6, 2019
Nobody’s getting rid of my books, Marie Kondo. No way. pic.twitter.com/6AvEyRFX10— Lorna (@florilegia) January 4, 2019
I am trying to Marie Kondo my clothes and so forth. But about the books: pic.twitter.com/qu169fYmHV— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) January 5, 2019
In contrast, others jokingly referred to the angry responses as overreactions or insisted upset readers were missing the point.
People who take violent offense to marie kondo asking you to consider getting rid of books that no longer spark something inside you are just afraid to confront there's a possibility they are basing their life on hoarding things that might not hold the same meaning anymore. Sad.— Shattered-Earth @ AX L2/L3 (@Shattered_Earth) January 5, 2019
Marie Kondo: h-— betty felon (@bettyfelon) January 4, 2019
People With Too Many Books: I CANT BELIEVE YOURE FORCING ME TO BURN ALL OF MY BOOKS
I cant believe Marie Kondo said to destroy all books and then broke into peoples’ houses individually and made them eat all their books and then when they tried to protest she said “don’t talk with your mouth full of books, bookmouth” and all the cool kids laughed at them.— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) January 5, 2019
Librarians were quick to jump on the scene with some gentle humor and encouragement for those willing to take Kondo’s advice.
#Librarians reading Marie Kondo's #book advice:— American Library Association (@ALALibrary) January 4, 2019
50% are confused by the concept of a book that doesn't spark joy,
40% are fangirling about her organizational powers.
And 10% are preparing for the inevitable increase of encyclopedia donations this weekend. https://t.co/UBgnLfVxOT
If you're getting rid of old books, Marie Kondo-style or otherwise, consider donating them to your local library! Many branches have Friends groups that put on book sales with donated items. Contact your library to see if they're accepting donations: https://t.co/c9UKjTcu9y pic.twitter.com/KvU4xnJtjG— Fairfax Library (@fairfaxlibrary) January 10, 2019
What do you think about Kondo’s book advice?