Tidying Up with Marie Kondo…Part 1

It’s the second week of January–the week by which most New Year’s resolutions have been forgotten. Perhaps one of your resolutions this year was to clean your house–really clean. Top to bottom, “minimalized” clean. If only you could find a magic wand to solve all your cleaning problems. . .and a few other problems along the way!

Just in time for this season of resolutions, enter Netflix’s new “reality” show “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo.  If you have missed this show, Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert life-coach who spends each of the eight episodes walking with one couple or family through the process of sorting and organizing their home.  The families, all from Los Angeles, come from a cross-section of socio-economic, vocational, and ethnic backgrounds, and the “before” homes contain just enough chaos to provide the right amount of voyeuristic pleasure (and, admittedly, self-righteous comparison) for the viewer.

Kondo is the author of a book entitled The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, translated into English in 2014, and a second book, Spark Joy.  In her show, Kondo seems delightful, serene, and positively giddy in the face of catastrophic messes.  With her translator by her side, she climbs up on counters, jumps up and down with delight like a school girl, and cradles her client’s babies.  Her sleek sweaters and twirly skirts lend to a charming blend of sophisticated professionalism and innocent kawaii.

Although I have only read excerpts of Kondo’s books, the majority of  her reasoning is evident through her social media as well as in the first episode of “Tidying Up.”  Her web site summarizes her philosophy this way:

It’s about choosing joy.

The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.  (www.konmari.com/about)

IF, the KonMari method was just about how to arrange your socks, or how to pare down your knife collection, or finding a filing cabinet, I would not have sat down to write.  With all of her sorting and folding and coaching, Kondo is selling more than control over clutter.  Please make no mistake–her philosophy is at its core religious.  NBC News describes her show as “spreading the gospel of joy just when Americans need it most.”

And who doesn’t want joy?

To Be Continued…  Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

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