Have you started “kondo-ing” yet?
If you haven’t binged the newest Netflix serial craze Tidying Up with Marie Kondo yet, then you’re definitely in the minority in America. It seems like everyone I know, plus the entire Internet, has been praising or scrutinizing the new show.
Tidying Up follows modern-day decluttering goddess Marie Kondo as she helps 8 different and diverse households declutter their entire homes by finding what “sparks joy” for them.
Kondo’s school of decluttering, known as the KonMari method, was originally outlined in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing which was first published in 2012. The KonMari method is based on the idea that we should only keep items that are useful and that spark joy for us.
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An Entire Show About Decluttering??
I remember when Kondo’s book was released, and so many of the older women in the congregation I attended fell in love with it and constantly went on about how Tidying Up completely changed their lives.
I thought, “Yeah sure. Sounds like a lot of work to me.” Now that I’ve watched the Netflix show, I can absolutely see the merit in practicing the KonMari method.
My first reaction when I started the first episode was that this was going to be a really weird show about hoarding that I wouldn’t enjoy at all. Kondo is Japanese and speaks very little English, and her Japanese culture definitely shines through in this show, which was a bit jarring since it was unexpected.
Each episode features an intro and a few intermittent segments where Kondo is shown on her own sitting on a sofa or standing behind a table while she explains the how-to of her decluttering method or talks about her clients in that episode.
Kondo is very high-energy with a bright, cheery soprano tone and dazzling smile which almost never fades. Because Kondo’s native tongue is Japanese, there are subtitles throughout the show, as well as the interpreter that faithfully accompanies Kondo during her frequent visits with the clients.
Once I got about halfway through the first episode, I became invested. Each episode revolves around one family, couple, or individual, each with their own unique clutter situation, who have sought Kondo’s help in decluttering and organizing.
By the time I finished the first season, I was amazed by the diversity of the clients and their situations. There was just about every American walk of life you could imagine, and the producers did an excellent job of using a broad brush with many colors to paint a picture of America as a whole.
And this show has become wildly popular within just a couple of weeks of being released. Everyone is “kondoing” their homes now and loving every minute of it. The Internet has been flooded with reviews, commentaries, memes, Insta posts, and so many opinions about Kondo and her new show.
So, naturally, I’ve got to put in my own two cents here on the KonMari bandwagon. I have a theory about why this show and this decluttering method has become a craze.
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The Magic of Tidying Up
Though it isn’t obvious, ‘Tidying Up’ has a spiritual undertone throughout the series. Each of Kondo’s clients is looking to declutter and organize their homes, but in the process, they end up changing their lives as well.
Relationships grow stronger as everyone in the household goes through the process of going through every single item in the house one by one, deciding what to keep and what to let go of.
Kondo’s rule for keeping something is to hold on to it if it sparks joy in that person or if it is something they feel that they need for their life moving forward. Everything else, she says to let go of.
As everyone goes through the process together, they are able to learn what brings them joy and what brings joy to those around them, leaving them better able to understand one another.
In each episode, Kondo tells her clients that before they really start to get down to work, she would like to introduce herself to the house. She does this by finding a spot in the house that speaks to her spirit, kneeling into seiza (the traditional Japanese way of sitting), closing her eyes, and what appears to be meditating.
Some of her clients seem excited by this, joining right in, while others seem a bit freaked out. Everyone, though, appears to be touched and thankful that Kondo really has their home and their lives in her best interest.
I think this Kondoing craze is a craze because, in our current society and culture, we crave the simplicity and the spirituality that seems to slip further away from us with each passing season. There are more people in the US than ever who check the “other” or the “spiritual but not religious” box when asked about their beliefs.
Not only does decluttering and organizing our homes give us the structure and simplicity we desire in a world becoming more and more filled with events and situations completely outside of our control, but the zen element that the KonMari method brings to the table makes it less about cleaning house and more about feeding something within ourselves that almost no one is willing to admit they are hungry for anymore.
Our spiritual self is just as important as our mental, emotional, and physical selves no matter how much we evolve and advance as humans, simply because we are human. We have an inherent need to connect with ourselves and with each other.
So, the KonMari craze isn’t just a housekeeping fad, but spiritual practice that masks itself as decluttering so that we can feel allowed to practice it, no matter who we are or where we came from.
Who knows how long Marie Kondo and KonMari will stick around or if I will finally muster the energy and courage to tackle my own mess with them. But I do know one thing is for certain in this very scary and uncertain world.
As long as humans are on this planet, there will be a need for us to honor our humanity and feed our spirituality. And there will always, ALWAYS be clutter to tackle.
If you’ve been kondo-ing your home and need help responsibly disposing of all the items you’ve thanked and let go, book a junk removal pickup with LoadUp today.
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