Are Books Clutter?

March 28, 2019

At this point, you might think everyone who was going to write about Marie Kondo would have done it already. We did. But then Kondo’s Netflix show came out, and as Hannah McGregor puts it, “the Internet suddenly had a lot of opinions about clutter.”

McGregor’s essay for Electric Literature recaps some of these opinions, and the opinions about the opinions, and fits it all into a much longer history of consumerism and books. “We could pull apart the xenophobia, racism, orientalism, and classism at work in these critiques all day,” McGregor writes, “but I want to focus on how self-identified bookish people reacted to the association of books with clutter, the demotion of these objects from sacred to banal—or, maybe more accurately, the insistence that they are no more sacred than any other objects.”

is a staff writer for The Millions. Born and raised in New York, she now lives in the Midwest, where she is a PhD student in American literature.

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