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Why our obsession with Marie Kondo is the perfect example of the mental load women carry everyday.

Almost two weeks after renowned de-cluttering expert Marie Kondo’s show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo hit Netflix, it’s still all anyone can talk about.

Well, not everyone. If my relationship is anything to go by, just under 50 per cent of the population don’t urgently care about sparking joy and organising things. My partner is one of those people.

I’ve brought up watching the Netflix makeover series based on the Japanese author’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing together a couple of times in passing. As of today, it’s still sitting unwatched in our ‘trending’ section.

There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about my partner’s indifference towards watching a show about tidying and organising. It’s no different to me not wanting watch things I don’t really care about, like Bird Box, House of Cards or the tennis at 1am.

But for many of the women I work with and share group chats with, Marie Kondo-ing has infiltrated our lives in a way that goes deeper than liking a TV show.

Haven’t watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo yet? Check out the trailer below, post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

How much women care about Marie Kondo, and how little many men do, is the perfect example of the mental load we carry everyday, regardless of whether it’s forced upon us or we willingly pick it up.

A mental load can be defined as all the life admin things you think about on a daily basis. In an article for ABC, Leah Ruppanner pointed out most of us carry a mental load of some description – about work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and our personal lives – but how heavy that burden is and how it’s carried within households is not always equal.

Mums and single parents arguably carry the heaviest mental loads, akin to carrying a sack of cement bricks as opposed to one full of rock melons. As Australian journalist and author Caroline Overington put it in 2018, “the answers to the life-essential questions – when baby last ate, or what baby should eat next, or when baby needs to go to sleep, or have medication, or whatever – all that stuff is stored in [her] head.”

Like when you’re asked if you had a ‘boys’ look’ for something, we’ve been conditioned to work within a domestic structure that dictates women know where things are and men don’t. Which is why various people in your life – your partner, kids or parents – ask you “where’s the …?” or “how do I…?”, even when you have no bloody clue yourself.

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Women are guilty of this too. I’d be on a yacht somewhere of the coast of Croatia if I had a dollar for every time I asked my mum where my blue sock is or why the random bits of paper I left in the middle of the living room aren’t there anymore.

Back to Marie Kondo and her de-cluttering mantra that’s become a phenomenon.

Men care about clutter. We’re all aware we own a lot of things. But generally speaking, women care more about where these things are stored, how they’re stored and how having them haphazardly scattered around your home with no real order affects your life.

It’s not wrong to not care, it’s more that women feel that if they don’t, everything will fall apart.

Mamamia Out Loud unpacked why everyone is so obsessed with Marie Kondo on Mamamia Out Loud (along with that Beginning Boutique bikini), post continues after audio.

Of course, we can’t paint all men and women, and all relationships and families, with the same brush.

But from what I’ve observed in the media coverage of Marie Kondo, including our own, and the conversations in my own life, men aren’t talking about the life changing magic of tidying up like women are.

Men aren’t posting Instagram story recaps of which household items ‘spark joy’, or tagging their friends on Facebook asking if they’ve watched this new Netflix show yet. If a man wants to thin out his wardrobe or get rid of books, it’s highly unlikely he’ll hold the shirt he’s had forever tight to his chest and ponder if it gives him a joyful tingle.

If it’s old, worn, has stains on it or stinks, in the bin or on charity pile it goes.

So why do women need, and want, a whole movement to do the same?

Why do you think everyone can’t stop talking about Marie Kondo. Or, if you don’t care, why? Tell us in the comments.

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