From dating and cooking competitions to searching for the next big talent, there is something to satisfy even the broadest range of interests when it comes to watching reality television. But reality television continues to prove that there is no subject that it can take on that won’t find a way to reel us in even further.
Home makeover shows have become increasingly popular, with shows like “Property Brothers,” “Extreme Home Makeover,” and “Love It or List It.” But did you ever think you would love a show about tidying up?
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, Netflix released a minimalist home/life improvement show, the series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The show is based on the popular 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which also stars the book’s author, Japanese organization expert, Marie Kondo.
If you’re like me, you’re probably looking around your home thinking some things could use some freshening up, revamping, and overall decluttering and purging. Underneath piles of papers, random possessions, and the over-abundant heaps of clothing ready to burst from the seams of my closet door, I’d say I’m overdue for some tidying myself. But it has always felt so overwhelming, as if it’s a chore that once you start it, feels like it will take a light-year to complete in entirety. I couldn’t even begin to imagine these daunting tasks if I had kids!
So, when my Facebook timeline began to fill up with women (most of them who have at least 1 or 2 children) and men (some of the messiest I know) saying that after only one episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, tidying up their personal spaces became enjoyable and life changing.
I rolled my eyes, but truth be told, I really wanted to see what the hype was about.
What on earth would she have to offer that would make ME want to tidy up?
One episode in, and I am completely hooked. To be honest, I even got emotional a few times, and found myself feeling completely heart warmed by Marie’s methods and ways of being in her teachings for the families who she works with. I began purging my desk and home spaces, throwing out bags of trash like it’s my job, and organizing belongings with plenty of left over room to spare. Apparently, I am not alone. As the show rises in popularity, thrift shops and used bookstores have begun reaping the benefits of the personal trash stashes that now could become someone else’s gold.
The Simple Method
For starters, Marie Kondo is probably the sweetest person packed into the tiniest of bodies. At an adorable 4 foot 8 inches, her knowledge for tidying is massive! She uses her “KonMari” method to align and eliminate piles of trash from homes. Because her book has been popular for years, the method is not new, but it is simple in theory.
First, you divide all the items in your house into categories. But the trick is to not pick and choose what you are sorting. YOU MUST SORT EVERYTHING! Then, examine each item, asking if it sparks true, real, authentic joy for you. While you may believe that everything you have in your possession brings you joy (because why else would you hold onto it, right?) you’d be surprised to see, when you truly take a moment, how unneeded many of the things you are holding on to really are. And once you begin to see how much space you can free up, and open up for yourself within your home, the possibilities begin to feel endless, freeing, and even somewhat addicting. Once you determine if the item brings you authentic joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t fit the “spark joy” category, you get to acknowledge it, thank it for all it has brought you, and then lovingly discard (or donate) it.
It’s as simple as that. The idea of releasing objects that no longer serve a purpose in our space can feel complex and daunting, but ultimately, it can be cathartic. And as silly as it felt at first, thanking each object for its original purpose in your life before letting it go, actually makes it feel less harrowing to let go.
A Lasting Effect
While it has inspired both myself and the droves of people I continue to hear talking about it and their own miraculous purging efforts, is the idea of tidying up really affecting the masses?
While the answer is still not fully known, there have been increasing waves of people bringing piles of donation bags to thrift stores like Beacon’s Closet, in New York City. “They have been really large bags. Ikea bags, suitcases or garbage bags. It’s really hard to estimate the amount but it has been a ton of stuff, but I can say thousands of pieces a day,” store manager Leah Giampietro told CNN. Beacon’s Closet is normally slow during the January season, but this January has been different with people’s new found determination to clean up their homes.
And in Chicago, Ravenswood Used Books received a month’s worth of books in donations in just one week! A man called saying he had thousands of books he wanted gone. A moving company moved 50 boxes of books donated to Ravenswood. “We’ve been in this location for four years, and people would walk up and down the street, and never noticed us before,” owner Jim Mall told CNN. “I think a lot of people are now beginning to know us. Because Marie Kondo’s TV show on cleaning has begun running on Netflix, we took in a month’s worth of books in 2 days.”
But other stores, such as Goodwill, a non profit with an immense network of thrift stores, are used to the new year being a time for tidying up and donating. For stores that are used to large numbers of donations on the regular, it is too soon to determine the impact from the Marie Kondo show. Goodwill’s public relations and multimedia manager, Malini Wilkes said, “While some Goodwills have seen increase in donations during the first week in January compared to last year, others say that they have not seen a significant jump over the last year.”
It’s likely this tidying up epidemic has only just begun. As the viewing audience for Tidying Up with Marie Kondo begins to grow, so does the number of tidying sessions that become inspired from episodes. Hannah Johnson, The Bedford, UK based blogger and mom, describes that after only a few hours of watching Kondo’s show, she willingly tidied her way right through her wardrobe. “Opening my wardrobe and seeing those dresses that I couldn’t wear did make me a little sad – like they were taking up space and being unloved when they could be loved in someone else’s wardrobe maybe,” she said. Two garbage bags of clothing later, she began to feel tidier and reaping the benefits of the KonMari method, and only inspired to look for what she could tidy next.
Since Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was released on Netflix, Marie Kondo’s 5 year old book has risen to the top five on Amazon’s best sellers list.
Once you begin to see and feel what brings you joy, who knows where else this can prove beneficial in your life. So, get organizing, and get tidying! Where will you tidy up first? Where are you willing to create space in your life? What can freeing up your space create for you? I encourage you to give it a try. You never know what missing pieces you could find, or what ample space could be right under your nose.