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Set against the backdrop of L.A.'s housing crisis, tidying up like Marie Kondo is a bleak privilege

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My French neighbor Sylvie knocked on my apartment door the other night, asking if I wanted a motorcycle helmet. It was brand new, a gift from her ex, and she knew that my husband rode a motorcycle — did we need an extra helmet?

I thought perhaps she’d been watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” on Netflix, where the soft-spoken Japanese superstar of de-cluttering instructs people to purge their closets and lives of items that don’t “spark joy.”

On Instagram, my friends are proudly posting pictures of piles unwanted clothes on the floor and “after” snaps of their newly immaculate closets, having binge-watched Kondo’s show.

We watch and emulate Marie Kondo tidying and organizing, but I wonder if we’re preparing for something much bleaker.

I tried it too. The weekend before Sylvie came over, I took everything out of our kitchen cupboards, and held up the cheap wine glasses I’d bought on Gilt, asking “Do these spark joy?” It’s a lot to ask of a wine glass. (They went in the giveaway pile.)

But my neighbor wasn’t Kondo-ing. At 53, she was being evicted.

Standing in my doorway, she gave me a quick rundown of what had........

© Los Angeles Times