The Magic of Not Hating Humanity

So, I’ve completely drunk the Marie Kondo  Kool Aid. I think she’s a little crazy and a lot of her ideas wouldn’t work in the U.S. but her basic premise is a good one. Her philosophy is solid. We really SHOULD surround ourselves with only the things that spark joy, with only the things that we need. Says the woman with a shelf full of Costco toilet paper and tissues.

She doesn’t touch much on how to do this tidying when you share a house with kids who just by their very existence make messes. Or spread their playthings all over creation. So, not every corner of the house can be touched by her magic wand. Yet.

During the week-long snow “holiday”, when I wasn’t working, I tidied the shit out of certain areas. I posted a couple items for sale and two sold immediately. I took a beloved but neglected collectible doll to a doll store and sold her. If you love it, set it free.

Kondo states that there are two reasons we have trouble getting rid of things: we either have an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. We either have a strong nostalgic pull for something we really don’t need anymore or we fear that if we get rid of it, we’ll need it. You know how that goes. But I’m defending my stock pile of toilet paper because I have kids and we go through a lot and even though it takes up space in the closet, making that one trip every three months is better than buying it continually. I’m American. I stock pile.

So, even though I loved that doll, my kids had no interest in her. They never played with this doll much and won’t miss it. I might, a little, but she needed to be rehomed and loved by someone else. In the Kondo way, I thanked her for being my doll for 40 years and for the moments of happiness she gave me when I was a child.

Then I posted another item on local FB yard sale pages and OMFG. I nearly went crazy trying to get rid of it. It’s a chest. In perfect condition. I priced it to move. It took 5 tries to sell it and in the end, I nearly died from second hand smoke asphyxiation.

First up was The Flake. She really, really, really wanted it and called me on the phone and went on and on about how she had to have it and was coming by the next night and was not one of those flakes who say they want something and then disappear. Well, the weather was looking a bit iffy but nothing had fallen out of the sky yet. She decided to wait until things cleared up. Once my driveway was cleared, a few days later, I called and messaged her and….guess what? She vanished! In the meantime, people were commenting “me next!”

On to #2, Ms On My Own Schedule. She wanted to come by Saturday morning. Okay, what time? She didn’t know. She needed to go to the dump. Then she’d know. Well, okay, but I also have plans and I could meet her at this place around this time. She didn’t know when she’d be leaving her house. Well…..maybe she could figure that out? I would be going into town in the afternoon. No reply. Okay, I’m going to get groceries. I’ll be home between 12 and 2. No answer. No answer. No answer. Fuck it. Next!

On to #3. Ms Tough Day. I’d just sold her something and the transaction went flawlessly. Thought I could trust that this would happen again. She was going to come by after work. But nope! Kids had a tough day. She’d have to pass. Sigh.

On to #4. Ms Bait and Switch. She had to have it and when could we meet? She could meet me in town. Okay, great. I could meet her at X before 8:30. Okay, she would meet me at Y at 8:20. Well, but I can’t guarantee I could be there at exactly 8:20 because of buses, traffic, trains, etc. but I’d do my best. Would I take a check? SIGH. Sure. I didn’t really want to but I really wanted to get rid of this thing. I’d already put it in the car for Tough Day. B&S comes back and says do I want to trade it for her son’s DS Lite? Seriously? I don’t answer. I’m a little taken aback. I didn’t post the chest on Local Barter Page. I go do things I need to do. She wants to know do we have a deal. No. We don’t. And actually I’d prefer cash. Because by now, I no longer trust her. Well sorry she can’t get to the bank before 8:20, etc. And I guess it never occurred to her that I could meet her later in the day. It’s not really my problem that she wants a thing but doesn’t have cash. I’m making myself available to her but I don’t want a DS. We HAVE a DS. I’m trying to sell things. For money. Well that fizzles out. Fine.

By morning, I’m pretty much done with humanity.

On to #5. Almost Not Worth It. Almost and I went round and round about when and where to meet. I had the damn thing in my car still. Maybe Almost could meet me near work and come get it. Almost wanted it but was working (like I’m not) and went off to see if his/her mother could meet me somewhere. Time was ticking away. I had another appointment soon. Almost came back. Could I drop it off at grandma’s? Who lives nearby? Gah. Really? Sure. Whatever. I’ll take it to grandma’s. Since it’s close. Thanks!

The other shoe drops: would I take $20? Instead of $25? Are. You. Kidding. Me. No. $25. I’m delivering it to your grandma, after all. I drive to grandma’s house and I can already smell the cigarette smoke leaking out of the house before the front door is even open. I hoist the chest out of my car and wait to see if she’ll at least hold the door open for me while a thick plume of smoke roils out like a dragon lives inside. She kind of does. I deposit the chest, she hands over the money (some in quarters) and I escape. I now smell like smoke. My hair, my coat, my pants. I need a shower. I was only over the threshold for seconds and now I’m dead.

Not sure any of it was worth it but the item is no longer in the house and I’m that much closer to affording Dusty’s band trip to Busch Gardens. Jesus. Christ.

So, there are fewer things in the house, things I neither have a strong sentimental attachment to nor a fear of not having in the future. I still have tons more things to off load and a closet to finish tidying and a shrine to build on a bookshelf but I feel lighter. I’ve also decided that I need to paint over the red wall in my bedroom. I need the whole room grey. The energy’s just wrong. When I’ll get that done, I don’t know.

And of course, it’s snowing again and we’re all home again and winter is now officially endless even if February isn’t. But at least I’m figuring out what sparks joy in my house, right?


7 thoughts on “The Magic of Not Hating Humanity

  1. Does Kondo have an answer for what if you get rid of it and then you need it? Because that has happened almost every time I’ve gotten rid of a piece of furniture.
    I love your caricatures of people you’ve never–or just barely–met.

    • She says you can just replace them. I don’t know if she’s referring to furniture exactly. She mainly discusses papers and things (which I think is a cultural difference – I’m not tossing all my statements, etc.). But there really are too many plastic containers, candles, etc. in our houses. I think it’s more a matter of winnowing down rather than tossing everything. I don’t worry too much about furniture. I don’t have much and can usually replace something I get rid of with something better. Tons of second-hand places around here.

  2. Again, her view is not everyone’s. She’s a little nuts. But, we really do live with too much, in general. It’s a matter of ending up with only the stuff you love and need.

  3. This entry reminds me why I do not participate in community yard sales and the like and generally just donate things instead of trying to sell them. People are crazy and they will nickel and dime you to death. Isn’t it amazing how many flakes there are in this world? Don’t you wonder how they ever make it through the day?

    • I do, actually. I still don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to say, “Actually, I’m sorry. I can’t buy this.” This is what I do when I find myself in that situation. It’s just general politeness. But I am doing a yard sale at the elementary school in the spring. It’s a fund raiser and whatever I don’t sell will just go to Goodwill or (with the books) the library. If I could have yard sales at home, I would, but there’s no parking out here.

  4. This is why i bring everything to a rescue mission or good will and just keep a receipt all year with the dollar amount of the items i get rid of and just makeit as a tax write off. I cant stand that song and dance ive played the game before!

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