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Marie Kondo Method-Based Netflix Series Inspires Decluttering Frenzy

/ 02:42 AM January 19, 2019

America is taken over a frenzy unlike any other, leaving homes spic and span rather than a wild commotion. The cause: the Marie Kondo method popularized by the newly released series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

The reality makeover show kick-started the new year purging American homes of their clutter, from baseball cards to sneaker collections.

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On New Year’s Day, Americans were inspired to fulfill one of their most common new year’s resolution that they mostly give up on in time, all thanks to the Marie Kondo. This eight-part series hosted by the Japanese-born decluttering diva is aired by the internet streaming service, Netflix.

Finding Zen with the Marie Kondo Method

Watching a charming lady in a flippy skirt drive up to people’s apartments and houses in a black van to work her magic in their homes will quite motivate you on getting a bag or two to start hauling things from your closet or attic. But what is the Marie Kondo method?

The KonMari Method, as it is also known as, involves asking yourself as you hold each of your possessions. You will have to ask yourself whether the particular item sparks joy in you, and if it doesn’t, thank it and let it go. Sounds simple enough, right?

People did think so as well  and soon enough, many pulled open their drawers and chests and started dumping out junk that is deemed to spark no joy as Kondo instructs. Dozens of boxes were turned into drawer organizers, and clothing articles were neatly folded and stored in the crisp KonMari style.

Consignment shops and auction houses are booked with appointments after appointments after consumers started to get rid of items sifted from closets and even their unwanted living room furniture.

Of course, the Internet is cluttered with the Marie Kondo method as social media users document and share how their own spaces, be it their homes or offices, are all cleaned and dejunked.

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Although it seems to have become an overnight obsession, the 32 year old organizing consultant has already introduced the method of letting go of possessions that fail to “spark joy” in her 2011 book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (published in the United States in 2014). Today, three of her books have been sold for more than 11 million copies worldwide.

The KonMari effect

There is no doubt that the timing of the release of this infamous Netflix show unfalteringly helped in sparking not just joy but motivation in fulfilling people’s New Year’s resolutions. But beyond that, the show seems to have started a national conversation about overbuying and over-stashing.

If you’re one of the lucky/unlucky ones (decide for yourself, I’m still thinking if Marie Kondo is both a blessing and a curse in my life) who haven’t watched the show and seen influence of Marie Kondo, find a seat in one of those chairs you don’t really need and I’ll tell you about the KonMari effect sweeping the world in a tidying frenzy.

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The show, Tidying Up, has a simple premise. In each episode, Kondo, almost always clad in a white cardigan and a skirt, enters the home of an American family, armed with determination, optimism, and a dozen of variously shaped and sized boxes.

She then patiently teaches the KonMari method to her new clients: divide all the stuff in the house into several categories, and then hold each item to see if it sparks joy. Owners get to keep it if it does and if it doesn’t, as if it were a sentient being, you thank it for its service before neatly discarding it.

To some, this gave a soothing feeling as they watched the cleaning fairy work her magic. Others were urged to open closet drawers and start questioning their selves of sparked joy.

Beacon’s Closet in New York City were one of the first few to feel the KonMari effect with January being  the Closet’s slow season for donations but since the show’s release, a small wave of people bringing piles of donation bags to the thrift store has been detected. In Chicago, Ravenswood Used Books received a month’s worth of books in donations in just a week.

Boutique owner Carmen Lopez says mail-in shipments to its four Washington, D.C., area locations have a 25 percent increase since the show aired. Even Potomack Co. auction house in Alexandria, Virginia, is busier than usual.

In spite of all that, like any other thing, criticisms arised.

Kondo’s take on saying farewell to inanimate objects for their servitude drew flak from critics saying it takes the form of animism that is time-consuming with the process itself described as altogether an act of narcissism.

Some even argued that the clutter she categorizes actually sparks joy in their lives. To which, Kondo responded that it was totally fine as long as the home owners are comfortable and each item has their own designated spot, emphasising that all we need is an awareness in the quantity of the things we should have, or in a simpler sense, minimalism — one of the KonMari ideologies promoted in the show.

Critics actually referred to David Suzuki, a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist who promotes conscious consumerism, citing that it’s not all about us but it is about the entirety of nature, other people and the human race.

Still and all, the tidying expert further received backlash on one of the show’s episodes where she imparts guidance on getting rid of books with some bibliophiles likening Kondo with Gaston, the Disney villain in “Beauty and the Beast.”

A lot has been said and done with the Marie Kondo effect, be it a closet cleanup or a cranky criticism — yet, you also have to keep in mind the KonMari mantra: does it spark joy?

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