Am I tidy? Does it matter if I am or am not? These questions have been circulating the narrow and anxiety-ridden hallways of my mind for the past few weeks, ever since my eyes fell upon the delightful Netflix series that is “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” It’s a lovely program, guaranteed to make you a shed a tear and perhaps a few of your most treasured items in the process.
But it’s also been the source of a growing concern that’s been nagging me since I returned to Carolina and started my final semester. Is an organized life automatically a happier one?
After binging the series over winter break, I arrived at my house here in Chapel Hill with one goal in mind: purge my closet. I entered my room with feverish confidence, ready to tackle my Mount Everest (I like clothes, I really, really do.) With Marie Kondo’s simple philosophy in mind, I was ready to go item-by-item through my closet to determine which possessions of mine really “sparked joy.” I told myself there was no room in my life this semester, my final semester, for anything that wasn’t 100% joyful. In the immortal words of Ariana Grande, there are “no tears left to cry.”
Two minutes later, I was curled up in a ball on the floor. Mist puddled in my eyes. Putting it mildly, I was overwhelmed. My noble quest to transform my life into an organized one had sparked the exact opposite of joy.
It wasn’t necessarily the sheer immensity of how many items I owned that brought me to the floor. It was the fact that embedded within each item was a world of memories, stories and feelings. Within one moment of opening my closet door, I was inundated with four year’s worth of smiles, heartache, laughs and tears. My clothes — some folded, some hanging, far too many messily piled on the floor — told the story of the life I’ve built since moving to Chapel Hill.