HIT show cleaning up
Marie Kondo tidies lives, loves
It was Sunday night and I watched with hypnotic focus as a couple learned how to fold baby clothes into tiny, perfect rectangles that could stand up on their own. I don’t even have a baby, but I do own a TV. Like many of you, I spent my weekend binge watching the new Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. The show that’s exploded in viral popularity since its recent debut, features a series of inspiring home make-overs where world-renowned tidying expert Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter and helps you choose joy.
The morning after my binge watch (and subsequent late night cleaning spree), I woke up to find the usual selfies and baby photos that typically grace my social media feed replaced with snapshot after snapshot of drawers full of newly folded t-shirts; perfectly lined up and bolt upright like tiny jersey cotton soldiers. Apparently, no one is immune to Marie Kondo’s signature Konmari method.
Whether you find Tidying Up With Marie Kondo inspirational or slightly questionable (is it really necessary for me to thank that expired bottle of olive oil before I toss it in the recycling bin? Where is Marie finding all of those perfectly sized boxes? Will we ever hear more about her childhood pet eels?) the show provides a compelling look at how our physical environment affects our relationships and overall well-being.
Folding methods aside, here’s a few important takeaways that we can learn from the couples featured on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo: Stress from a disorganized home can create rifts in a relationship.
For a minute, I was legitimately worried about Rachel and Kevin, the couple from the first episode (Tidying with Toddlers). As Kevin shared, “all of our fights are about money and cleaning” — not exactly surprising given how anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted they both appeared. But even they got it together! If you overlook the fact that every second word they say to each other is “babe,” watching their relationship change for the better throughout the course of the show was extremely gratifying.
Working towards a common goal can bring you closer to your partner. In the case of the Mercier family, wife and mother Katrina, initially felt mostly responsible for maintaining the house. What the show makes clear is that if you want to change your home life and live well, the responsibility can’t just fall on one person. Everyone needs to be on board. One of the best parts of watching Tidying Up was seeing how each of the couples becomes closer throughout the makeover process. In the case of the Merciers, the whole family pitched in and grew throughout the process (cue: me, ugly crying into my sofa).
Assign everyone an area. Giving each person ownership over a space is important. “When each person is responsible for their own space, it lessens tensions and increases a sense of trust and bonding,” says Kondo. When newlyweds Angela and Alishia divided their wardrobes into separate closets, they found “everything got better when we designated our own space.”
You have to let your partner find their way. Forcing your partner to throw out their stuff isn’t going to make for a joyful cleaning process or home. What sparks joy in one person might not spark joy in you — and that’s okay. Whether you’re tidying the kitchen or trying to figure out how to store an obscenely large Nutcracker collection, you need to respect your partner’s emotional autonomy and cooperate on a solution that works for everyone.
Cleaning is sexy! While Kondo says, “this is such an American way of looking at it,” I have to agree: a clean home is sexy. When your home is organized, it frees up time to other things, like love on your partner. The key to a happier, more fulfilling sex life, might just start with folding a t-shirt.
Organizing guru Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series is helping people streamline their lives and make their relationships better.