Do they still say that? Keep It Simple,Stupid. It's still valid, in fact, it's more popular (and necessary) than ever.

There's a new bible out for the consumer challenged, to help shame them into downsizing, simplifying or - to put it in the new guru's terms - "Sparking Joy".

Marie Kondo is a young Japanese woman who speaks no English but whose books on tidying have caught on with messy, desperate North Americans who are drowning in a sea of stuff. Her first book, "The Life-Changing Magic", published in English in 2014, and the more recent "Spark Joy", with folding diagrams, have created Konverts who claim they have seen a light once darkened by mountains of possessions.

Apparently Kondo's method treats people as if they were addicts who must be shamed and trained for two lifestyle choices: "Tidying Completed" or Tidying Not Yet Completed". One must go through a once-in-a-life-time-tidying marathon: piling five categories of material possessions, assessing them and then deciding what produces joy in your body, and getting rid of what does not. KonMari (trade-marked nickname) thinks you can own as much or as little as you want, as long as everything gives you true joy. The trick is to make it stick.

That's hard, and it doesn't last.

I went through the process, though not quite as rigid, when I moved out of Toronto to live on a lake in Muskoka over 25 years ago now. (I came back 13 years ago). In order to move my worldly goods into a (winterized) cottage I downsized drastically and I wrote a book about it (Enough: Lifestyle and Financial Planning for Simpler Living, 1988). But see, it doesn't last. As long as you keep on living you keep on accumulating, like books. And the number of things that give me true joy keeps increasing, too, especially books. Still, I own a lot less than I did and I don't buy nearly as much, except books.

My book began as an article I wrote for The Globe and Mail when I moved; my reader response was instant. A lot of people told me they were going to save my article and then realized that was being counter-productive.  I guess it would be okay if it gave them joy.

Anyway, here I am, surrounded by books. Is that progress?