Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

— by Alyson Walsh


Photo: Marie Kondo

Who knew that watching people declutter their homes could be so emotional? The  new Tidying Up with Marie Kondo series on Netflix is more than just people clearing out their crap, there is usually an underlying relationship issue or problem with family communication, too. As Kondo says, ‘ It’s not just possessions that are confronted but life and the future as well.’ Rachel and Kevin Friend are a young couple with two kids who don’t have time to tidy up, so the place is a bit of a mess and laundry has become a bone of contention. Empty-nesters Ron and Wendy Akiyama are filling their home with stuff because they miss their sons (Wendy has basically loaded up their empty rooms with unworn clothes). And the Mersier family of four have downsized from a house in Michigan to a two-bed apartment in LA and haven’t quite accepted their new home. Marie Kondo is on a mission to ‘Spark Joy’ through cleaning. Her Japanese method of tidying is pretty straightforward: if an item Sparks Joy and makes you feel positive, then you keep it. If not, thank the item for its commitment and get rid.

The most joyful moment of all appears to be when Marie Kondo turns up a family’s home, one knock at the door creates instant delight and an outpouring of emotion:

Photo: Netflix

The timing of the Tidying Up series is perfect – launching on New Year’s Day when people are lounging around surrounded by Christmas clutter. Though, we had some new wardrobes fitted in the spare room, in early December, and so That’s Not My Age Mansions had a major decluttering session before the holidays. It’s only taken 18-years of living in this two-bedroom apartment to finally sort the storage out….


Marie Kondo’s folded t-shirt technique. Photo via Ten Speed Press


I didn’t rate Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book – Debora Robertson’s Declutter: The get-real guide to creating calm from chaos is more realistic and a much better read (review coming soon) – but I am hooked on the Netflix series. After watching two episodes of Tidying Up, I was inspired to KonMari-in-a-hurry my t-shirts. To fold each one up into a neat rectangle and then store vertically in the drawer (see above). There was no patting and thanking of innate objects ( I am never going to do that) but this is a great idea and a space-saving technique that allows the wearer to view all the t-shirts at once. Plus. there is something therapeutic in taking the time to fold garments and create space; tidying up becomes more enjoyable, less of a chore. Let’s see if I still think that next week when I’m back at work and multi-tasking like a maniac.

When it comes to clothes and possessions, I’m quite ruthless – and would go as far as to say that my own Faff-Free decluttering methods are effective. Kondo suggests piling all your clothes up on the bed, but that can be a little overwhelming. I much prefer a system of constant editing, I don’t want a wardrobe crammed with clothes that are rarely worn and make getting dressed a nightmare. One more Netflix episode, and I go back to have another look at The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s then I decide to fold rather than ball my socks. Not because I’m KonMaried up and acknowledge that ‘socks and tights take a brutal beating in their daily work and the time spent in the drawer is their time to rest’ but because it saves space. Oh and declutterers beware. Don’t overdo the folding. In the afterword of her best-selling book, Kondo admits that she ended up in hospital with a frozen neck and shoulders after ‘tidying too much’. Think I’ll stick to my Economy KonMari tactic. Tidying up for the time-poor…


Keep Reading

Party makeup without the performance

  Who knew that watching people declutter their homes could be so emotional? The  new Tidying Up with Marie Kondo series on Netflix is more than just people clearing out their crap, there is u…