Netflix wisely presented an apt New Year’s gift for its viewers- A brand new series called Tidying up With Marie Kondo. Well, that’s not surprising since a majority of people all over the world today grapple with the burden of having too many things. Our consumerist culture threatens to swallow not only our money but all peace of mind and tidiness of our homes!
Marie Kondo, for the uninitiated, is a name almost synonymous with a decluttered, minimalist and Zen-like lifestyle. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Her book, Spark Joy has lead millions of readers to hone their sensitivity to joy.
Recently, I saw a graphic version of the book, which will definitely appeal to those who enjoy the genre! I realized that The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo presents the fictional story of Chiaki, a young woman based in Tokyo who has cluttered apartment, messy love life, and a general lack of direction. Not surprisingly, there enters Kondo and works some life-changing magic! The philosophy is the same, but for readers who connect more with fiction, this book is a great way to get initiated into the Marie Kondo magic!
The premise is simple- decluttering, as per Marie involves keeping only those things that spark joy and as for the others, thanking them and letting them go. While she has specific guidelines for different categories of things such as clothes, books and so on, the processes are all geared towards honing your sensitivity to joy.
Tidying up on Netflix
While reading Kondo’s books will give you a very comprehensive idea of her philosophy of tidying up, there is nothing quite like seeing her in action. The Netflix series shows Marie Kondo helping out one family at a time. She has a very warm and peaceful aura to her. The families in question are diverse- young couples with kids; those living in together; empty nesters; singles and so on.
On the practical side it’s good to see how she stores and folds specific objects such as bags, shoes, undergarments, keepsakes and a variety of other things. She does not recommend fancy storage items. Simple boxes seem to be her favourite tools!
A word on books
Marie takes out every single book and collects them all at one place. Then she asks individuals to hold each book snd question themselves if the book sparks joy. If the books have been stored in boxes she wakes them up! However, she also says that with books one needs to ask the question- by having these books, will it be beneficial to your life going forward? Books represent thoughts and values.
I have written about her approach to book decluttering specifically in this post-https://www.bookedforlife.in/books-and-ideas/tidying-books-life-changing-magic-mundane-activity/
The psychology of decluttering
It helps to see people address issues within themselves and their lives through the process of clearing up. Whether it is letting go of possessions of a deceased, or asking how some object will remain relevant in one’s life forward there is a decluttering of the mind as well.
When you see participants cry or feel relieved, question themselves and change their views, or proclaim how the experience has changed their relationship, you realise that Marie Kondo has got her finger on the pulse if what ails modern society- the problem of too much.
To Kondo or not
Marie Kondo has struck a chord and her popularity is unquestionable. However, she has a fair share of critics as well. Some people feel that the concept of sparking joy is not always relevant. Some things may not spark joy but you may still have to jeep them for practical reasons. Some find her actions of thanking inanimate objects including the home itself a bit farfetched.
I personally like the philosophy of gratitude she propagates! You may be interested in her gratitude journal, Life-Changing Magic: A Journal: Spark Joy Every Day, which is peppered with inspirational quotes from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is basically a 3-year record to spark joy. You can see what exactly sparked joy on the same day for three years. More than decluttering, this journal is for gratitude.
Having read her books and watched the series on Netflix as well, I think that the combination of her books and the series will definitely lead to meaningful change in your physical and mental space! It is up to you to finally decide what you want to apply to your life. For me, the philosophy of sparking joy promoted by Marie Kondo has definitely found resonance!
BOOKS BY MARIE KONDO: