And Squeezed Out a Few Sparks Along the Way
A few days after the New Year, my wife called me into the bedroom.
“Ron, can you come in here for a moment?”
When I entered the room–BOOM!–everything had changed. She’d piled every single article of clothing I currently own like a cloth mountain on the bed. I felt like I was being kicked out of the house. It turns out she wasn’t giving me the boot, but rather the opportunity to deploy the method of folding she learned on the hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
But first, as instructed by Kondo, she wanted me to go through each one of my clothes and see which ones would “spark” joy in my life and which ones wouldn’t. The ones that did stayed; the ones that didn’t would be put in bins and curbed for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She then instructed me to fold all my stuff in a way entirely different from the manner I’ve been employing since I started doing my own laundry–so like a week or so. But seriously, since like Middle School, which was a long time ago for me. However, this method prompted me to wholly reconceptualize how I fold my clothes. That is, at least, the ones which made the cut.
Some major, major Sophie’s Choices went down during the three hours we spent parsing our collective wardrobe. I had to bid adieu to some tattered old friends, like my Delicious Vinyl shirt from the CMJ days, and the tour shirt I got when I saw Yo La Tengo at Irving Plaza in 2000. More than a few of these internal conflicts raged as I went through this pile, occasionally sneaking a shirt back into the mix that I told my wife I’d discarded.
Next we hit our Kindergarten-age son Benjamin’s two rooms, reorganizing his bedroom dressers and then raiding the closet in his play room for any “baby stuff” he doesn’t use anymore. Then came the kitchen. We ravaged our cupboards in a slow-moving coup, all in the name of Marie Kondo, whose distinctive Kon-Mari method of de-cluttering one’s home is taking the world by storm thanks to her Netflix show, which is like a strange cross between Super Nanny and The Property Brothers.
It was only a matter of time before the Kon-Mari tsunami would make its way downstairs to my music collection.
In the context of Kon-Mari, music–like any form of collected media in the house–is considered komono, or miscellany. For most casual music fans, getting rid of their compact discs is like discarding old magazines, which is why thrift shops are loaded with so many Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews Band and Smash Mouth CDs.
To me, however, my CD/LP/tape collection is more than just excessive baggage from a perceived bygone era. It’s my comic books. My baseball cards. My Funko Pop figures. I cannot give you a hard number as to how much I have, because my collection is a constantly evolving entity that both loses and grows back its scales. But I’m quite cognizant that it’s a touch unruly, like a giant lawn hedge gone awry. So I prune it and manicure it constantly.
In fact, as I write this, I’m currently in the process of going through the twenty-odd Sterilite plastic bins of music I’ve amassed since the 8th grade, when I gave up collecting Micro Machines and M.U.S.C.L.E. men in favor of cassettes. I’m keeping at least a third of it, of course, rediscovering some great albums I haven’t enjoyed in years. I’m also flipping a bunch of it on Discogs for extra cash. The stuff that my local record shops have been turning away gets kicked to the curb for donation.
The guy who runs one of my local spots told me just the other day he’s been enjoying the uptick in trade-ins in the wake of the show’s popularity. I was actually there to trade in some of my own Kondo Kon-Mari casualties. But rather than take the money and go on some stupid “Dunkin’ Run” or whatever the normals do, I raided their dollar vinyl bin and scored some major gems, including a mint copy of Robert Plant’s Now and Zen, my fave of his solo albums. I also found a Paul Williams collection as well as a pair of records from Lester Flatt and his late 70s group Nashville Grass. Plus a killer Joan Armatrading LP. I’ll surely listen to these much more than I would that copy of Get Some by Snot.
Some people might read this and say, “Why are you buying more stuff, man, especially after you got rid of a bunch of shit? What are you, some kinda hoarder?” Hoarding is in the eye of the be-hoarder, as they say. But as I mentioned earlier, my music collection expands and contracts, like a python. Only this time, I’m giving my library something of a colonoscopy, thanks to Marie Kondo and her well-intentioned yet sometimes gently intrusive means of de-cluttering our lives.
But if we are keeping it 100 here, its actually nice to have an organized dresser.