Jen Recs: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

There’s been a lot of buzz around this new reality show from Netflix: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I first saw Kondo’s book while absentmindedly pacing a bookstore about a year ago, though hadn’t actually drawn the connection until all the folding reminded me. For those not yet acquainted, Marie is renowned for her folding techniques and tips for taking care of and storing clothing and belongings.

I resisted the show at first, to be honest. Netflix automatically played the trailer every time I hovered too long and I wasn’t sure I was up for the seemingly endless high-energy pep of the show. I eventually gave in and started the series. My detail-oriented inner being loved the premise of helping people find balance in their lives while “tidying up” their spaces. On this front the series does not disappoint. The show is full of stories of reconnection and growth, love and compassion fueled by the epic sorting of closets and cleansing of overstuffed garages.

While certainly the show is full of tender stories and piles of clothes meant to bring their owners face to face with their abundance, what strikes most is how Kondo maintains the goal is not to see how much you can get rid of, if you can purge all your things. Though don’t get me wrong, people get rid of plenty of things as a result of their time with Marie Kondo. But that isn’t the point. Marie asks each person on the show to hold each article of clothing, each knickknack, each photograph (episodes often span a month or more), and note if the object “sparks joy”. Asking if you are grateful to have this item now, will you be grateful to have it tomorrow?

When folks have a hard time with the idea of sparking joy for one reason or another, she frames it in terms of bringing that item with you into your future. If it isn’t coming along into your future, it’s time to goodbye with gratitude for good service. Everything is done with gratitude and intention. The most powerful stories are those when the people turn this focus toward other areas of life, beyond folding clothes to noting how they spending time with each other. The keeping, the purging, the value is one and the same – to curate with intention what you want in this life.

Each episode of the show runs about 40 minutes and whether you go out and watch one, some, or none, please place with care each piece of your life and be glad in it, my friends.