At the beginning of the year, right around the time that everyone has New Year’s resolutions and makes a vow to change their life, Netflix dropped a bomb on all of this: Marie Kondo’s TV show. If you don’t know who Marie Kondo is, chances are you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t care about home organization at all). And while I’ve been a little behind as far as when I finished watching the series, I’m pleased to say I did actually watch (and like!) it a lot.
So let me go back and mention that in 2015, soon after her first book was translated into English, I read it and loved it. I printed out a list of the order of her tidying method, and I started with my clothes, and moved on to my books and then…life got busy. It’s a good method, and I loved the book, but I just didn’t have time for it in my life back then. I hardly have time for it now, but this show made me think a little differently.
First off, it reaffirmed the fact that Marie is not some kind of domineering organizational guru. She is non-judgmental about what you keep, and her requirement for keeping things – the “sparking joy” as she calls it – actually makes a lot of sense. It’s true that you’re not going to get the same spark of joy from a soup ladle as you are from your favorite sweater, but being able to serve soup without spilling it as I get it out of the pot brings me joy. Heck – there is even joy in certain moments of things like toilet cleaner – it makes me happy to have it (and not have to go out and buy it) when I need to clean.
So yeah – keep the things that add to your life, it’s just those things that don’t? You probably don’t need them, and they are just taking up space in your home and life, and space is expensive! Not only that, but many Americans actually have more things that they keep than they have room for in their homes, and that’s why the self-storage industry is booming (did you know there are more self-storage facilities than McDonald’s in America? That shocks me!!!). I had a storage unit for a short period of time and I was so grateful when I got to clear it out and stop that monthly bill coming in.
And for anyone out there who has heard “Oh, Marie Kondo only lets you keep 30 books”, firstly – no. Secondly, that’s how many she keeps, but it’s not a requirement ANYWHERE. Thirdly, how many of the books that you have on your shelves do you actually consult and read on a regular basis? Her guidelines for keeping books are ones you love and will go back to again, or else that are special to you. I know personally that I have a silly number of books that I’ve never read, and am not that interested in reading, so why am I keeping them?
The second thing I loved about the show was Marie herself. She is a tiny delight. She’s been learning English, so while she does travel with a translator (also named Marie, and also a delight), she’s obviously working hard, and hearing her react to things is pure joy. She also makes fun of her own size when she approaches American sized homes, and the best one so far is when she was trying to reach the top shelf of a closet and commented on how short she was! This made me laugh out loud. But she’s so calm and non-judgmental, and it feels like she really respects everyone who she works with for this show.
Finally, the best thing about this show is the people on it. They’re a diverse group – lots of different ages, ethnicities, stages of life, size of home. You can find an episode of a person who looks sort of like your own situation. So many of them (especially the husbands, but a few times the wife!) start out skeptical of the method. They’re not sure how to pick the things that spark joy, and so Marie teaches them using the things that they love best. It’s not a 1 day in-and-out kind of show, so we see slow progress over the course of 1-3 months, and we see how people’s attitudes towards the tidying change over time. It’s realistic, and at the end, everyone is amazed that they were able to do it, and how much it has improved their lives.
This show is just…**chef finger kiss**…a delight. I feel like I learned a lot, and I was so inspired to go out and tidy myself! In fact, I went through a few of my pantry cabinets and my bathroom cabinets. That may have been specifically directed by the January Cure, but they were definitely informed by Marie Kondo’s teachings. And I even went back and purchased the hardcopy version of her book because I feel like it’s the kind of thing that will be a good reference for me in the future.
Ok – time to fess up. Who else has read Marie Kondo’s book, or watched her show? Have you tried tidying based on her method? How did it work out for you?
Details: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, streaming on Netflix.