Commentary

Marie Kondo, the White House needs you now

January 13, 2023 1:59 pm
A woman organizes a sock drawer

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What’s the deal with the trouble our recent U.S. presidents have keeping track of classified documents? Whether it’s Mar-a-Lago or a Maryland garage, we can all agree our chief executives have a problem.

Honestly, I think it’s giving Donald Trump and Joe Biden far too much credit to assume they squirreled away top secret papers for nefarious reasons. But when Trump can cast an FBI raid of his home as a favorable situation to Biden stashing files with his Corvette collection, it’s a clear sign help is needed.     

Who better to come to the rescue of our chief executives than expert organizer Marie Kondo. Her advice has led countless households to purge themselves of needless clutter and bring order to chaos.

Kondo has a multitude of tips for the structure-challenged, and we’ve distilled down to six pointers that can be adapted to the current situation.

1. Commit to tidying up.

Clearly we’re beyond the stage disposing of discarded fast food wrappers and cleaning ketchup from the wall. A president needs to have a dedicated space for their classified documents, so perhaps there needs to be a room somewhere in the West Wing where they can go. Pro tip: Put a lock on that door and don’t lose the key.

2. Picture your ideal life.

Whether it’s 18 holes on your favorite golf course or ice cream binges, it’s important to have a vision of what your perfect day looks like. Remember that. Because a president needs to  have good thoughts and their disposal when trying to remember where they put all those classified documents.

3. Discard with gratitude.

Marie recommends sincerely thanking each item before you toss it for good. But that doesn’t mean you can put documents in the paper shredder or use them to housebreak your German shepherd.

4. Tidy by category, not location.

We’re going to keep this simple. There are classified documents, and unclassified documents. It’s best if you keep them in separate locations, but top secret documents shouldn’t be placed where just anyone can find them – at least not without a warrant.

5. Fight the pull of nostalgia.

Are you holding on to things simply because of its sentimental value and not its practical use? No, we’re not talking about the Constitution.  

6. Does it spark joy?

Really, joy doesn’t matter all that much because most of what you’ll see in a classified document won’t spark much of it. But what can spark joy is organization. Think about how happy you’ll be when you’re not the target of a federal prosecutor or special counsel.

To our current and former presidents, If there’s any additional motivation you need to keep your classified documents tidy, let it be that doing so keeps your respective sons out of the limelight. Because America is at the point where Don Jr. and Hunter are making us nostalgic for Billy Carter.

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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.

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