Marie Kondo vs. Packrat: Quarantine Edition


When the Marie Kondo ship sailed in, I never jumped on board. I meant to. Oh, how I love the idea of getting rid of all the clutter. Some days I’d look at the junk-filled corners of each room in my house and just cringe.

And yet, at every opportunity in which I found time to declutter, there was always an excuse: I don’t have the energy for this. We might need some of this later. This is such a wonderful memory. And the excuses went on and on. I’d lament at what an organizational failure I was and feel the twang of guilt when pics of simplistic, clean living spaces popped up on Instagram and Facebook.

And now that we’re over a month into our stay-at-home orders, I finally feel useful – even vindicated. All of the things my husband swore we’d never need again have actually been put to use.

Step aside, Marie, because this packrat can finally shine!


When music classes needed to be improvised here at home, an old recorder that I should have thrown away years ago was suddenly needed. It may never have given me joy in the past, but it sure is handy now (incidentally, cotton balls stuffed in my ears have become pretty handy, too).

Likewise, another person might have sold or donated an old dance costume from prior years. Me? I’m glad now that I’ve left it hanging on the back of my daughter’s closet to collect dust and generally be an eyesore. Because when we took it out and performed our own ballet recital, complete with roses thrown on “stage” and much laughter, it made a memory that we will both remember.

But what really made me glad that I never took Marie’s advice was when I realized there’d be no party for my sweet girl, and I wanted to salvage her birthday. We decorated with unused Frozen decor from parties of the past. A forgotten Anna play-doh figurine made the perfect cake topper. And that pile of extra party plates suddenly seemed a perfect way to make my sad, homemade cake more festive. Old toys that probably should have been donated even became props for several birthday activities and games throughout the day.

When I look back at her birthday – and our entire quarantine duration – holding on to some of these things actually saved the day.

Our world will slowly get bigger than these four walls again, and when it does, I will still purge quite a few things that we just don’t need (even if I think I may need it someday).

But, man, it feels good that one of my bad habits finally paid off.