At Junkluggers of New York City, business is up 30 percent from a year ago, with New Yorkers calling the company to haul away exercise equipment, standing desks and low-quality furniture bought while they waited months for more expensive items to arrive. Josh Cohen, the owner of the Junkluggers franchise, who is rarely fazed by what people will pay him to haul away, was shocked by the fervor to unload Peloton bikes. “I say nothing surprises me anymore, but that was one thing that surprised me,” he said. “You’re talking about a $1,500 exercise bike.”
As much as we like to shop, we might also like to purge. We don’t enjoy a decluttered home so much as we enjoy the act of decluttering it, according to Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, the director of the new masters in happiness studies graduate program at Centenary University in New Jersey, who points out that people derive happiness from experiences, not objects. “Once it’s done, once it’s over, we adapt very quickly,” he said. “But it’s the process that yielded the joy, not the outcome.”
Shopping gives us new stuff to purge, but decluttering also gives us opportunities to shop — as Ms. Kondo knows well. She sells a line of baskets, boxes and bins at the Container Store, with options like a serenity jewelry box insert for $14.99 or a calm file box for $49.99. On her Instagram page, she promotes her partnerships, including one with Shutterfly where she encourages her followers to, say, wrap themselves in a Marie Kondo-branded blanket emblazoned with a family photo.
Decluttering hopefuls can also shop directly from Ms. Kondo’s website. The $55 Indigo Shibori Dye Kit, for instance, is marketed as an opportunity to find joy. What’s more joyful than learning a traditional tie-dying method? But it serves another purpose: When you’re all done tie-dying those tea towels, and they no longer spark joy, you’ve got new material to toss.
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