Tidy­ing up with Marie Kondo: The Konmari Method comes to Net­flix

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - Dish­pan Hands Sheila Quinn

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.

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