The first asserted that women are being short-changed and taught to "think small" by books that masquerade "domestic obligations" as enlightened self-help. The author suggests that we're all being pushed back towards 1950's ideals of model wives in model homes, vacuuming in our pearls and heels when we buy and read books that advocate minimalist living or prompt us to put too much attention into our homes.
The second article was written by a consummate bookworm, and encouraged people to set their own boundaries when it comes to implementing lifestyle suggestions like Kondo's "spark joy" criteria. As the author eloquently points out:
[Books] are not impersonal units of knowledge, interchangeable and replaceable, but rather receptacles for the moments of our lives, whose pages have sopped up morning hopes and late-night sorrows, carried in honeymoon suitcases or clutched to broken hearts. They are mementos...What struck me about reading the two articles so close together was the way that the first author misses the real value of books like Kondo's entirely, while the second - although advocating wariness of and adaptions to such suggestions - very clearly gets it.
Regardless of whether they are enlightened self-help or domestic guidance manuals in disguise, or if we agree with their suggested methods or not, books that make us reflect on what we truly value are exceptionally important. In a world that where we are perpetually fed other people's expectations and exposed to image-saturated advertising (both overtly and covertly), prompts to step back and ask questions like "what sparks joy for me?" play an indispensable role in preventing ourselves from drowning or getting lost in pursuits, possessions, and practices that don't really serve us.
If I hadn't run into these articles so close together, I probably wouldn't have given it much thought. I've already read Kondo's book, applied what worked for me, and moved on. But it was nice to have an impromptu reminder of the wisdom that can be found in sometimes unexpected places, and of the value of occasionally stepping out of the bustle of daily life to reflect and make sure I'm putting my time and energy into things that really matter.