reality tv

Why Tidying Up with Marie Kondo feels so different to other makeover shows.

On the second day of January, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo quietly dropped on Netflix.

The series follows the creator of the KonMari method as she helps six households reclaim their much-needed space.

I binged my way through the entire first season in just one afternoon.

As I watched I found myself becoming more and more calm. By the end of the series, I wanted to hug my old t-shirts and talk to my books about… other books but also my thoughts and my feelings.

For the first time, while watching a makeover show, I didn’t feel shame.

I didn’t look around my apartment and compare it to the show’s “after” image. I didn’t feel like I needed to renovate, and style, and tweak every aspect of my life in order to live up to some unrealistic image that the show projected.

I didn’t think about what the hosts would think of me. How they would diagnose my mess, my fashion sense, my, erm, personal grooming.

I looked around at my apartment and my belongings and all the little things that make up my life – including the 837485 random electrical cords I have – and actually felt gratitude.

I was grateful that I had everything I needed to go about my business. Even if it isn’t the best stuff.

That’s what makes Tidying Up with Marie Kondo so different to other makeover and decluttering shows.

Kondo walks into each house and accepts it just as it is. She doesn’t judge, she doesn’t make jokes at the expense of the householders, she doesn’t tell them they need to make dramatic changes to bring their homes, and their lives, and their very beings, up to scratch.

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She slowly walks them through a process in which they can make the right decisions for themselves.

At the start of each episode, Kondo formally introduces herself to each house. In some of the episodes, she gathers the entire household together to silently thank the house for providing them with shelter.

This sets the tone for the entire series. The homes she enters are not the enemy. They’re not cluttered, badly-styled eyesores that need to be contained, to be wrestled into place – they just need a little bit of help.

Kondo gets the householders to go through their belongings – their clothes, their books, their paperwork, their miscellaneous items (electrical cords, people, electrical cords), their sentimental items – to see what “sparks joy” and what doesn’t.

Then she simply teaches them to fold and to get rid of some of the things that may be cluttering up their homes – like those 837485 random electrical cords. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

At the end of the show, Kondo hasn’t dramatically changed her makeover subjects’ lives, but she’s given them some tools to make their lives just a little bit easier.

Most importantly, she’s taught them to look around and be grateful for all the people, the moments, and the 837485 random electrical cords that make up their messy, and unpredictably wonderful lives.

You can watch the full first season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix now. 

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