The common notion about Marie Kondo is that she wants you to throw out nearly everything you own. But the truth is that she never says this. Not once is the notion suggested in her masterwork The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Thankfully, I don’t have to go over every paragraph of the book to prove this, because evidence can be found in this adorable video, where she tells an interlocutor that if owning 50 pens really matters to him, she thinks he’s required to do so.
It’s remarkable that such a popular author is completely mischaracterized. Why is this meme about her so widespread? I think it’s evidence of avoidance. People want to characterize her as a rabid minimalist because that would make her work less vital, and her process less terrifying. If the KonMari method were just about throwing out some percentage of your junk for the sake of it, it would just be a harmless lifestyle fad.
But it’s not like that at all. KonMari is fundamentally about killing your own falsity, about holding a funeral for all the remnants of old, illusory perceptions of yourself that you’ve been too afraid to give up. All she asks is that you say goodbye to the person that you thought, at one time, you were. She is fine with you keeping whatever survives this departure.