Tidying up with Marie Kondo: The Konmari Method comes to Netflix
In October of 2014 Japanese cluttermaster Marie Kondo released her first book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her simple, yet strict method of sorting and truly appreciated what we have, in order to decrease clutter and release ourselves from the grip of having too much 'stuff' was done up artfully in this neat little edition with its watercolour hardcover.
Applying a sorting regime and steps that are easy enough to follow, Marie Kondo's approach is called the Konmari method, based on her name.
Her second book release, in January of 2016, was entitled Spark Joy, its name the key portion to determining what of our possessions we decide to keep.
While her website www.konmari.com and her Youtube channel have put her actual face on her brand, on January 1st, 2019, Netflix brought it all home with a new series of Tidying Up - where Marie Kondo and her translator visit a variety of families in their homes to help them learn how to apply her pulling out, sorting, showing gratitude for, releasing and/or storing methods to their own belongings.
She sweeps in like a tiny, delightful Mary Poppins, takes time to greet the people, sees their home, 'greets' their home in a brief moment of silence and reflection, and sets the residents to work with one step at a time - beginning with clothing.
Through her approach, people are often faced with the sheer amount of stuff that they own, yet they are supported one week at a time with tasks that work towards a tidier, more organized dwelling, yet that is still representative of the residents themselves.
While many décor shows out there are increasingly popular, including competition shows such as The Great Interiour Design Challenge - an entertaining British series where budding designers re-think a space in a home, involving changes in colour, new or revamped furnishings, etc. - Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is more about dealing with what we already own, and shaping up our living spaces in a way that diminishes stress in the household for all dwellers, big and small.
The series visits families in different ages and stages of life, some downsizing in a new space, others rethinking their living space with small children, families dealing with the loss of a loved one and their belongings left behind, and empty-nesters approaching several generations once living in the same home down to one, as grandparents have died and children have moved out on their own.
Marie Kondo works on attempting to integrate all members of the family in the process of tidying, initiating small children in the sorting of their things, and even in being present while their parents take care of tasks such as folding laundry. She also works to relieve pressure on family members who find themselves tasked with the lion's share of the work of running a household, by incorporating other family members' contributions towards keeping a home sorted and picked up.
The main sorting method developed by Marie Kondo is whether or not an item 'sparks joy' - whether or not there is a feeling of joy that the participants feel when they hold each item (be it clothing, or décor, mementos), and when there is not, the item is placed in a bin to donate or dispose of in some fashion.
Participants profess a determination and eagerness towards maintaining new household practices, although there are bound to be relapses in old ways of hoarding or perhaps falling off of the Konmari folding wagon (Marie Kondo has a specific folding method designed to keep all clothing (and cloth items, such as sheets) visible in drawers, and therefore easier to use and access).
While there are bound to be those who are bothered by Kondo's sweet appearance and gentle gracious acknowledgement of joy, the simplicity of her enthusiasm towards organization is admirable. This obsession with sorting could most definitely be paired with a diagnosis of sorts, however, rather than be hemmed in by a tidying problem in her own home, at least Marie Kondo is determining how to use her powers for good, as they say.
The internet is, of course, abuzz with the usual point-counterpoint response to the Netflix series - some praising the refreshing nature of an easily-applicable homemaking guide, and others condemning Tidying Up, saying that Kondo 'barely does anything to help' (via The Guardian's piece that gave the series two stars).
If you have issues with joyful people, or want to avoid reorganizing your home like the plague, then chances are, this isn't for you. However, if you are open to new things and feel joy yet in that soul of yours, well, this is worth a gander.
The eight part first season Netflix series is available now, and Marie Kondo's books are available via your local bookstore (I purchased mine at Brome Lake Books). She also create a graphic novel called The Life-changing Manga of Tidying-up.