HIT show clean­ing up

Marie Kondo ti­dies lives, loves

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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.

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