Netflix’s ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ makes organization spiritual

Finding happiness with the KonMari method

Kondo rose to fame with her 2014 book

“My mission is to spark joy in the world through cleaning.”

These are among the first words guru, author, and internet sensation Marie Kondo says on her new Netflix series, Tidying Up, released Jan. 1, 2019. 

Kondo has taken the organizational and minimalist décor world by storm since the release of her 2014 self-help book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It focuses on organizing your home through a simple, thoughtful method called KonMari, which emphasizes evaluating what possessions we should keep based on the amount of joy they bring us.  

The success of her first book and minimalism’s growing popularity—which is prevalent in contemporary interior design—have contributed to Kondo’s mainstream appeal. She’s been featured on late-night shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and even hosted a one-on-one organizing session with American comedian Hasan Minhaj, star of Netflix’s Patriot Act

While Kondo has a charming presence onscreen, what she represents through her approach to organization is her most important trait.

Born in Tokyo, she specializes in helping people declutter their homes to create better environments for personal growth. Her philosophy isn’t built on having less, it’s built on understanding the appeal of material things.

She recognizes the value of sentimental items—like hand-made crafts—while focusing her attention on insignificant, neglected things in the home, such as old baby clothes. She begins her process by approaching each individual space separately, and decluttering it slowly in steps and by category. 

Although Kondo may seem to merely fold items and stuff them into boxes, she forces people to ask whether or not the things they own make them happy. 

Material items, according to Kondo, aren’t an evil. Instead, they can fulfil their full potentials by creating happiness for their owners.   

Kondo asks simple questions like, “When was the last time you wore this?” or, “Why is this special to you?” When there isn’t an easy answer, she’s quick to push for the item to be discarded. 

This approach is an alternative to today’s consumer society, which fixates on accumulating more and more goods.

[Kondo’s] approach is an alternative to today’s consumer society, which fixates on accumulating more and more goods.  

When using the KonMari method, you ask whether the space you’re inhabiting is positively contributing to your lifestyle, or is a representation of your cluttered mind. Kondo emphasizes an approach to cleaning which confronts and accepts your economic habits and their impact on your life.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo depicts how versatile and adaptable the KonMari method is. Ranging from large families to single-person dwellings, Kondo tackles each situation with a light-hearted, envy-inducing grace.

It’s the perfect show to inspire an apartment clean-up with your housemates, or complement an evening picking apart your wardrobe. 

Kondo’s genuine nature and philosophy of finding joy in what we own makes tidying and organizing one’s space a thoughtful, spiritual experience. 


Cultural commentary, minimalism, Netflix, TV

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