This year, everyone’s New Year’s resolution of organizing just got a whole lot easier. As of Jan. 1, 2019, Netflix released an eight-episode series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
In the show, Marie Kondo visits American families and helps them deal with their possessions. She then sorts, removes and positions them in a way that streamlines their environment and life. “Kondo acts as a tiny garbage fairy for messy people,” according to CNN. Though this may sound like “Hoarders,” the show’s focus is not on shame, but improvement.
The show stems from a craze that hit the United States after Kondo’s book was released in 2014. It has sold over 8 million copies worldwide in over 30 countries. Celebrities like UK life coach Helen Sanderson, freelance journalist Sophie Bauer and American actress Jamie Lee Curtis all endorse the method due to its positivity.
“What I love most about her method is the respect she suggests we show our soon-to-be-departed possessions. If they don’t ‘spark joy’ in our hearts, then we should pause to acknowledge our memories together and let them spark joy for someone else,” Curtis said. Apparently, others believe in the process because Kondo’s Instagram follower count was at 710,000 on Dec. 31 but is now at a height of 1.4 million.
So, how does the KonMari Method work? First, everything is done in order: clothes, books, paper, Komono (meaning knickknacks) and sentimental items. There is no separation of rooms, but items are done in whole. “Just one rule reigns in the KonMari Method: Keep items that ‘spark joy’ and discard those that don’t after thanking them for their service. That, plus a specific technique for folding clothing,” as stated by ELLE magazine writer Estelle Tang.
Throughout the season, Kondo comes into homes with a light, kind tone. She radiates a serene presence that pulls watchers of her show in and encourages a longing to tidy that is often described as “heart-warming”.
Marie Kondo started her tidying empire with the help of her husband Takumi Kawahara. Upon the take-off of her book, her husband left his job as a businessman to become the CEO of KonMari Media, LLC. He runs the company’s social media and takes care of booking appointments. They have two daughters named Satsuki and Miko both under three years old. Ever since Kondo was not much older than her daughters, she held a passion for organizing. Sometimes in school, she would go into classrooms and tidy-up between classes. All of this originates from a Japanese tradition called Shinto animism. In this, inanimate objects could gain a soul after 100 years of service and therefore should be acknowledged. By respecting the items followers of her method are giving up, it allows an opportunity for the items to be repurposed by someone else more in need.
Thrift stores across the United States are grateful for this repurposing craze. Since the show has aired, there has been an uptake in donations. Places like Goodwill in Maryland have seen a 42 percent increase in their January donations. While other Goodwill’s in Washington saw a 66 percent increase in donations solely during the first week. One used bookstore in Chicago even received two months’ worth of donations in just two days. There seems to be a positive influence to the Marie Kondo method outside of just cleaning out a cluttered closet.
Despite being a busy college student, everyone can still participate in this positive purging. “A little thing you can do to just make a bit of a difference is refolding all of your socks,” Kondo says. Start tidying one area and see the progressive change it will lead to in others.