What She Wants

Here's What Happened When the Truly Rich Lady Did the Konmari Method

A look into the things that sparked joy and the things she thanked and threw out.

I am still trying to figure out how I feel about pocket-sized, tidying-up queen Marie Kondo.

Am I enamored of her girlish charm? Or do I find her brand of niceness boring?

Do I feel that full-body tingle when I hold an overwrought Lladro sculpture of prancing forest animals near my heart? Or do I snigger at the thought of thanking a Valentino bag for its year of service?

I vacillate between superfan and skeptic. Sometimes I follow the KonMari method to the letter. Sometimes I just go toss all the junk into the bin without the burden of reflection. Regardless of the process, I was (with a little help from my assistants) able to clear out the Guest Room of Forgotten Stuff last weekend.

I learned many things while surrounded by a mountain of memories, such as how her method can be applied to both things and human beings. So what survived the culling and what ended up inside the scented trash bags? Who remains in my heart and who has been deleted from my contacts? 

These are the things that sparked joy for the Truly Rich Lady

My favorite pair of bespoke loafers. The leather is heavily creased in places and the sole is starting to wag like a tongue, but I really like these. Besides, the pair can be sent back to its Italian makers to refurbished.

My favorite painting by a master portraitist. It is not of me, but of my grandmother, his muse. This is unfinished, which drives the value higher.


My new favorite assistant who passed her final test of knowing perfectly when to push me to do things and when to step back and just let me be.

The things that are ick, huh, and meh

This trendy leather jacket that I bought from a trendy store. I’ve never worn it and yet its miserable leather is peeling off.

An electronic (and expensive) kitchen device that cuts vegetables into specific shapes like a spiral or a ringlet. It is too puzzling to use or re-gift.

The collar of my dog who died eight years ago. It’s time to move on.

Two boxes of books. Yes, I know the purging of books is one of the most divisive points in the KonMari method, but I’ve already read them and have no plans to read them again. They will better serve a new owner.  

Five boxes of receipts, which are my secret shame. I do not know why I keep them, but it is clear that they do not spark joy. They are but reminders of wanton spending.

A scrapbook filled with photos of my Legendary Ex. I made it during a crafting phase that coincided with a so-in-love phase. Coincidentally, those phases are also out the door.

My Legendary Ex. This year I plan to finally free myself from his thrall.

This childhood friend who only brings me headaches. Her voice is shrill, her taste is questionable, her manners horrible.

My old assistant whom I cannot rely on. Hard decisions must be made. 

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These are the obstacles that I encountered in my Truly Tidy Life

My mother, aka Trash Can Police. She intercepted all things intended for donation or expulsion. “Si-si Coo. This Valentino bag is still okay, no? I put my collection of hotel soaps inside it.” Or: “Why are you giving away this bed frame? I think we keep in case of emergencies.”

My feelings. I am not one to give in to emotion, but when faced with that scrapbook and collar, I felt something strange in my eyes. My assistant called them tears.

My weak constitution. I suffer from asthma. I am also allergic to dust (and physical exertion).

My impatience. I cannot just stand here and fold clothes into perfect squares. Someone else will need to do it.

This is the thing that kept me going

I am enamored of films that have an element of home improvement like Under the Tuscan Sun. The thought of seeing this guest room as it was intended by our fancy Chinese architect was enough reason to not abandon the project. In the end, I saw how it should be: at once, sterile and chintzy. Immediately I called an interior designer.

I have guests coming today. They need this space.

It has to be done right now, because come February, I will most likely lose my will to be faithful to workouts, diets, and cleaning up.

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C.C. Coo
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