If Marie Kondo goes missing…

… the first place to search would be Issaquah, Washington (Costco headquarters), under the cui bono theory.

One of Kondo’s theories is that people who live in untidy environments (i.e., all of us who haven’t been her clients) buy more stuff partly because they don’t realize how much stuff they already have.

She is negative on the idea of stockpiling in Costco-style quantities, pointing out that you’re not running a retail store so it doesn’t matter if you run out.

Kondo never suggests a time period as a way of setting household stock levels. A Costco pallet of paper towels, for example, isn’t a crazy purchase because it may be used up within a month (a friend likes to use an image of an entire roll of paper towels used in a single kitchen clean-up by an au pair to illustrate what happens when people are insulated from pricing, as in health care consumption, for example). On the other hand, in the Amazon Prime age can it make sense to buy a pack of 8 toothbrushes? Or a 16-count Gillette Fusion razor cartridge pack (Dorco might be better!)?

In an American suburban home with basement and garage, why wouldn’t it be reasonable to keep two months of non-perishable consumables somewhere in the house?

More: Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.

7 thoughts on “If Marie Kondo goes missing…

  1. Two months or more. Anyone on the Gulf Coast who has been through multiple days/weeks without electricity can very quickly tell you how our immediate fulfillment consumption options will fall apart very quickly.

  2. I agree, but I don’t think you’re her target audience. And even if you were, based on some demographic criteria like spending power and level of educational achievement, or just the blind luck of having friends who happened to have two copies of the book laying ’round, I don’t think it would matter to her.

    To state the obvious, you’re an engineer, Philip, and a private pilot and flight instructor. You think in terms of facts, quantities, time periods, the laws of physics, rigorous and rational analysis, the strength of various arguments and trade-offs based on comparisons, contingency planning and advance preparation. And a whole lot more, including planning for unexpected emergencies (like a blustery, freezing winter windstorm that knocks out power) that could leave a person in an embarrassing, unpleasant or even life-threatening situation. A prepper she is definitely not (and there are a lot of good ones who aren’t too far out on the ‘net). That’s not what she’s about. She’s a celebrity lifestyle coach and media personality.

    ~sigh~ Don’t worry. Things being what they are, it might behoove Costco to cut a deal with her and do some advertising and in-store promotions together. “Buy in Bulk, and Declutter.” Flip the script, go upscale, and bring in some new converts on the strength of her star power. It’s coming. I can feel it!

  3. I’m not sure how sensible it is, in the sense that you need to go shopping for perishables anyway and so can pick up the non-perishables at the same time.

    That being said, it’s convenient to have a bunch of paper towels or toilet paper on hand so you don’t have to keep visiting the paper aisle of the supermarket on every shopping trip and constantly checking if you are low. It’s nice to have a giant roll of plastic wrap or aluminum foil or a big bin of dishwasher capsules and not have to be constantly switching empty for new.

    Because of Costco (and Aldi for things like canned tomatoes in small cans) when I go to our local supermarket I am able to mostly confine my trip to the perimeter of the store where all the perishables are and pretty much skip the middle of the store where the non-perishables (and junk food) are.

  4. Cage match between Marie Kono and Stephen Wolfram.

    … On a good day I’ll type at least 25,000 characters into Wolfram Notebooks (and, yes, I record all my keystrokes) … Over the years, I’ve accumulated over a hundred thousand notebooks, representing product designs, plans, research, writings, and, basically, everything I do. All these notebooks are ultimately stored in my filesystem … in fact I keep everything, digital or paper. … today, I make a point of having all my files (and all my email) actively stored on-premise. … Of course, a critical piece of making my metasearcher work is that I’ve stored so much stuff. For example, I actually have all the 815,000 or so emails that I’ve written in the past 30 years, and all the 2.3 million (mostly non-spam) ones I’ve received. And, yes, it helps tremendously that I’ve had a company with organized IT infrastructure etc. for the past 32 years.

    But email, of course, has the nice feature that it’s “born digital”. What about things that were, for example, originally on paper? Well, I have been something of an “informational packrat” for most of my life. And in fact I’ve been pretty consistently keeping documents back to when I started elementary school in 1968. They’ve been re-boxed three times since then, and now the main ones are stored like this: (see article)


    • Like Liechtenstein declaring war on the United States, except Liechtenstein has to remain seated at all times!

  5. It is one thing to buy stuff on impulse that you don’t need and they get piled up and it is another thing to buy stuff that you use daily in bulk to both save in $$ and time shopping. Also, if you have close extended family members, talk with them to buy what you need in bulk that don’t last for months and divided them among the extended family members. It is amazing how much you will save not only on $$ but trips too.

    Another example, at work, I see co-workers heading to the vending machine and buy junk food. For the cost of that 1 candy bar, or what you spend in a week on the vending machine or even in the cafeteria, you could buy in a bulk and for a fraction of the cost from Costco (or even CVS). Simply store the junk food in your office drawer and delight your self when you feel the urge. Want a soda? Buy a bottle and store it in you cubicle and help yourself to it when you want to. Et. al. This doesn’t mean you are cheap, it just means that you are smart with your money and time.

    • It’s rational to buy from the vending machine if the walk to the machine and the cost restricts your candy bar consumption in any way.

Comments are closed.