Jo Ann Jaacks: Picturing what Marie Kondo would do

Jp Ann, somewhere in Florida.

I would not have sought out this phenomenon from Japan since I don’t watch either reality TV or Netflix but recently, several friends mentioned how fabulous she was, so I had to check it out. Marie Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method. It consists of gathering together all your belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” (tokimeku, the word in Japanese, means “flutter, throb, palpitate”) which I interpret as “Kiss things goodbye that no longer light your fire.”

When I downsized from a 1,400 square-foot home to a beautifully reimagined second floor apartment with limited storage and wall space, I knew that major purging would be required. Nonetheless, during the move I took some things with me that I knew should have been weeded out, but I wasn’t up to the task.

I recently found the motivation to paw through a large carton of old, and really old, photographs. I immediately decided to keep the “boudoir” photos I had from back in the days when I was bold enough, and sufficiently confident to pose in front of a professional photographer clad in skimpy, lacy garments — me, that is, not him.

My previous dwelling featured a collection of blown-up photos on most of the walls. I chose the best photo from each European country visited. Strangely enough, all of the blow-ups seemed artistically staged with good lighting and yet, flipping through the hundreds of other European vacation photos in the carton, they seemed trite, poorly framed and washed out. I began tossing them into the wastebasket. Note to self: Don’t take vacation photos of buildings or statues, hotel rooms or sidewalk bistros or flowers since they don’t translate well a couple of decades later. Of course this is not a problem now because vacations are not on my current itinerary.

I couldn’t toss out pictures of my parents taken the first time they visited me in Florida. I brought them sightseeing to the fabulous Art Deco buildings and pristine oceanfront of Miami Beach, Disney World and the historic tourist destination before there was a Disney World — Cypress Gardens, capturing it all on film. They enjoyed all that, but dinner and a show at the Mai-Kai Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale had my father, who loved all things Polynesian, over the moon with the luau vibe and my mother was giddy after she tried her first rum cocktail.

The other irreplaceable photos that made the cut were snapped in the living room of my first house in Litchfield during a boisterous Christmas family gathering with my brother Andy playing the role of Santa Claus to the hilt, as he did everything in his short life. It’s the happiest memory I have of him.

I recognize myself in this photo, but the flowers, sidewalk bistro, statue and charming hotel (or restaurant) are a mystery. I’d be happy to hear from anyone, including Marie Kondo, if they know where this picture was taken. Otherwise, I’m tossing it.

Connecticut Media Group