Kondo will clean up your house… and even your life.
Japan's decluttering saint, Marie Kondo spreads her gospel in America in Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Throughout the eight-episode series, Kondo helps folks to spruce up their homes and spark joy in their lives.
Here be spoilers…
What we like
I've never read the book and went into the series with the intention of reviewing it… only to find myself an adherent? A lot of things she does sounds a little frou-frou but they actually make sense. Like getting to know the house and thanking it for sheltering you. There's a moment of quietude as Kondo sits, seiza-style (a traditional Japanese form of sitting/kneeling) with her eyes closed. Then there's the bit about how an item should 'spark joy'. If they don't, you need to get rid of it but do so respectfully as the item once served your needs.
There's a lot of animism going on. Until you discover that, as a teen, Kondo spent five years as an attendant maiden at a Shinto shrine. One of the beliefs of Shintoism is that both animate and inanimate objects have spirits. And that's really a key to ownership: a relationship between you and the object. The things in our lives used to come from something living. Seeing these items as living things foster a sort of consideration for them. It humanises them so you treat them as your own. And maybe you'll be mindful of what you'd purchase in the future.
(Of course, the only way to not have shit in your house is to not buy them in the first place. But that's not Kondo's goal. She's more of the cure, not the prevention.)
But, in the end, Kondo's tips are practical. You arrange by sizes; stuff is compartmentalised by category; your entire wardrobe is piled so that there's a visual impact… all these information can also be used outside of your home. Try the KonMari Method with your social life: does Tim, who keeps gaslighting you, spark joy in your life? No? Then.👏 Cut. 👏 Him.👏 Out.
There. Easy when you know how.
What we didn't like
Each episode, the spotlight falls on a family that requires that Kondo's touch. The cases are different but after a while, it felt repetitive. Because of the stringency of the KonMari Method, you can almost anticipate the steps taken in resolving someone's issue.
Step one: thank the home.
Step two: gather all your clothes and pile them.
Step three: take each item and see if they spark joy.
And so on.
After a while, boredom trickles in and the thought pops into your mind, Am I really watching people fold clothes on television?
What to look out for
Let's make this interesting. Let's make this into a drinking game. Take a shot for the following:
- Marie Kondo being really excited about tackling a mess.
- Someone looking sceptical whenever Kondo thanks a house.
- Someone very reluctant about tossing something away.
- Whenever you see people walking in their house IN THEIR SHOES.
- Whenever you're watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and you silently mutter, I should use her tips to clean up my house, but you don't because you want to watch more episodes just so you can 'pick up more tips on how to declutter'.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is now out on Netflix.