Marie Kondo hates your stuff
Definitely don’t watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix if you don’t want to clean your house. Because once you’ve watched it, you’ll want to. You’ll be buying clear plastic boxes, mega rolls of bin bags and calling up your nearest NGO to come and pick up all your junk. (Or, at least, that will be your intention.)
Marie Kondo is the tiny, peppy cleaning guru who promises to empty your life of meaningless clutter, enabling you to keep only the items that “spark joy”. Unlike many other similar shows, Marie doesn’t encourage people to organise their things, but rather to throw as much away as possible. In this Netflix Original, she takes eight families or roommates through her signature KonMari method of tidying up.
The method dictates that the tidying must start with the person throwing all their clothes (or books, or kitchen utensils; there’s an order to this too) on one big pile so that they and Marie Kondo – the look on her face as she tries to stay polite is priceless – can be utterly horrified by the amount of clutter they have. Then, they agonisingly go through each item, evaluating whether it sparks joy in their hearts and whether they want to take it into their future. If it falls short, it is thanked for its service, and let go.
The KonMari Method isn’t just about throwing things you don’t want away; it’s also about looking at and holding every item you choose to keep, acknowledging that it has a place in your life. And in a time where we all have too much stuff that we don’t need or don’t think about, that can’t be a bad thing.
As a method of cleaning, it’s a little more out-there than most of us are used to, but it does have its merits. That pair of jeans from 2001 that you will DEFINITELY get into again. Are those sparking joy for you? Or dragging you down? Books that you’ve already read, or you really SHOULD read – do you want to look at them for the rest of your life? No. Say thanks, and move on, says Marie Kondo.
Of course, all the tidiers also experience an internal renaissance. As their stuff is shed, so too are years of emotional clutter. Marriages are improved, families brought together. Such is the power of an empty closet.
Marie Kondo is Japanese, and speaks little English, so much of the series is subtitled. It’s not too bothersome, however, and she and her family, whom you see in interspersed clips, are pretty endearing.
Marriages are improved, families brought together. Such is the power of an empty closet.
If you love peering into other people’s clutter (it’s a lot more fun than dealing with our own, after all), you can also check out Consumed on Netflix, where a family’s entire belongings are dumped into a warehouse space and they’re only allowed to take home 25% of it.
Marie Kondo will, very politely, inspire you to look at your stuff differently, and probably inspire you to start a huge cleanup of all your clutter. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Where to donate your old clothes, books and unwanted stuff in South Africa
Once you’ve cleaned out all the stuff you don’t need, there are plenty of NGOs that would be grateful to receive your household goods (provided they are in good condition, of course). Some will even collect if you have many items, or large items. Here are a few places to start.
- Help the Rural Child
- St Luke’s Combined Hospices
- Oasis Association (They also accept recycling.)
- The REEA Foundation
- Hotel Hope Ministries
- Princess Alice Adoption Home
- Ann Harding Cheshire Home
Childline does great work across SA. If you have household items or toys and children’s items to donate in great condition, check out their wishlist and see if a home in your area is in need.
Books Galore will buy your second-hand books from you, especially if they are still in good condition, and have branches all over Gauteng and three in Cape Town.