Before every year begins, countless Americans spend time to jot down New Year’s resolutions, but how many people actually accomplish them?
At the beginning of 2019, Netflix released “Tidying up with Marie Kondo,” a reality makeover show starring bestselling author and tidying guru Marie Kondo, to give people the push they needed to create tidiness in their homes.
The show uses methods published in her bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which was originally released in Japan in 2011 and released in the U.S. in 2014.
From an outsider’s perspective, the show is straightforward. A bubbly, warm-hearted Japanese woman, accompanied by her partner-in-crime interpreter, steps into various strangers’ homes and teaches them tidying tips, then leaves, having changed their lives for the better. If that were the case, then watching 40-minute episodes of strangers folding clothes or sorting books would create a lot of restless viewers.
In truth, the show keeps audience members engaged and even tense at times by hammering in the fact that a person’s mental space is deeply tied to their living space. After each person in the show graduates from the KonMari method, they realize they aren’t the same person they were before. Their lifestyle and their relationship with their significant other often changes, and they feel more calm and hopeful about their future.
The show inspires viewers by displaying the hard work, motivation and dedication of the lucky strangers who receive first-hand teaching of the KonMari method. After the show was released, even non-viewers saw photos or videos of friends on social media who became inspired to organize their clothes, books and miscellaneous items according to the KonMari method.
Kondo asks viewers a simple question about whether or not their clothing and books spark joy within. She doesn’t pressure them to throw out items that may hold sentimental value. Instead, she only encourages them to reconnect with the items they already own. If an item no longer sparks joy within them, they thank the item before gently placing it aside. Instead of treating unwanted items as trash, the series teaches viewers to show gratitude for them because the objects once “sparked joy.”
Not only does this series teach the importance of gratitude, partnership and introspection, but it also teaches viewers the importance of trust. In order for each family to successfully implement the KonMari method, Kondo must trust them to complete their assigned “homework” by her next visit.
In addition, each partner in the relationship has to trust the other person to fully dedicate themselves to the KonMari method in order to craft a more relaxed, comfortable life as a family in the future. Even though some partners might find it harder to part with certain items than others, eventually, both partners end up on the same page. Without everyone’s combined efforts, their process to tidy up their lives would not have occurred as successfully.
In the end, the KonMari method provides the ultimate hope for a tidier year and a life in perfect order. Using this method is one step to regaining some semblance of control in this confusing, ever-changing world.