By Leslie Kendall Dye

I’m excited! Marie Kondo has a new book out!

Better toss the old one before you buy the new one; two books means twice the clutter and, good people, you do not want to get on this woman’s bad side.

The cover of Spark Joy features a single cloud. Or a stain from an errant watercolor brush. I’m not sure. At any rate, Kondo has decluttered the extraneous clouds that gussied up the cover of her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. So many clouds. Could she say that every cloud sparked joy? She could not, and she decluttered with trademarked tenacity.

Have you tried Kondo? Everyone’s tried Kondo. You know you want to. Go on. I won’t tell. Inhale. It’s heaven. I am folding my socks in an upright position after thanking them for a hard day’s work. Ecstasy abounds.

Life changing magic!

Spark Joy is upping the ante. Set the timer and start tossing. The goal: Your home should reveal no trace of capitalism. Or passions. Or hobbies. Or humanity.

The spring is here, pets. It’s national decluttering season. Today, we must throw out everything we own, save a bowl of fresh lemons.

Bunches of fresh lemons—as many as we want! —will be our prize if, if we scour and strip and scrape our homes, if we hurl our first editions of The Great Gatsby over a cliff and into a babbling stream. You don’t need that book! Sacrifice. Penance. Scrub your very soul and the lemons can be yours.


Imagine the lob of a javelin. The perfect arc of the thrower’s toss may wrench his shoulder from its socket, but how little that matters! Nay, if his joint is torn asunder, all the better! Pain is the purest form of pleasure.

Clutter lurks in every corner, doing the devil’s work.

Treasured objects possess latent demonic forces.

Save your souls.

Toss it all.

That I may hold my head up high in choir practice, I’m offering my spring list.

If these items lurk in your home—you know what you must do.

  1. Paperbacks with no covers. Unsightly, and stolen by the person who sold them to you outside The Strand.
  2. Covers with no paperbacks. Unless you are going to frame them. No, wait—especially if you are going to frame them. That’s crazy talk.
  3. DVD case for Tootsie that is missing the DVD, perpetually on your desk to remind you to replace your lost copy of Tootsie.
  4. DVD collection—what is this, 1990?
  5. Last year’s mammogram prescription, after you phone the gynecologist’s office and ask them to send a new one. Perhaps if it arrives afresh in your actual mailbox you will FINALLY GET OFF YOUR BEHIND AND MAKE A POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING APPOINTMENT. IDIOT.
  6. Tin of Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder from your childhood bathroom. This will prevent conversations with house-guests in which you discover that you are the only person born in 1975 who used this stuff and your parents must have been TOTALLY INSANE.
  7. Scrap of furry orange Fred Sands rug from childhood living room, in case your child wants to furnish her dollhouse with authentic 1970s Southern California wall-to-wall orange carpeting. Also toss miniature dollhouse-sized bottle of Quaaludes purchased at shop on Melrose Avenue called Thanks for the Memories.
  8. Everything to do with Southern California and childhood, while you’re at it.
  9. Ancient prescription bottle containing two remaining doses of amoxicillin, in case you ever get another sinus infection and want to have a jump-start on medicating it, because it takes so long for the internist’s office to respond to your voicemail message declaring your imminent death from low-grade fever and sneezing.
  10. Instructional book on how to craft fairy dolls from pipe cleaner, felt, cotton, needle and thread, and blood of forefinger. Tossing this will manage toddler’s expectations, a subtle but important form of decluttering.
  11. Tide Stain Stick with one remaining squirt of magic potion, so as not to be tempted to dab tomato sauce on white blouse just to use up that damned stick.
  12. Shellacked clay faceless figurine of Pilgrim woman in bonnet made by your father in grade school. If her face turns up, you may keep that.
  13. Letter from E.B. White to existentially depressed man, written in 1973, entitled “Hang On To Your Hope,” reprinted in and torn from the pages of Reader’s Digest (with permission from doctor’s office receptionist) and currently displayed on your dresser in battered frame.


Keep that.

Think how lovely that bit of hope from the famed essayist will look next to your bowl of fresh lemons.

Before you throw away your camera, be sure to take a photo of them side by side, because it would make some lovely cover art for Kondo’s third book: Throw It All Away (Except the Lemons and the E.B. White.)

Yes, keep the E.B. White.

Because you have to hang on to something.




Leslie Kendall Dye is an actor and dancer in New York City. She has written for Salon, Vela Magazine, The Toast, The Washington Post, Word Riot, Off The Shelf , Brain, Child Magazine, and others. You can find her at, on Twitter, at @LKendallDye or putting her child to sleep. She tries not to put others to sleep. 

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