REVIEW: ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ makes me want to fix my messy life

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Promotional poster for "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." (Courtesy photo by Netflix)

I’m a mess.

We’re only two weeks into the semester and my desk is covered in homework, trash and books. This is also my last semester, so in May I need to take everything I’ve managed to acquire during my four years in Manhattan back home before moving on to the next adventure.

Suffice it to say, I need to get my life together. So, I decided to watch the recently released Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

I pulled up Netflix on my laptop, amid the clutter on my desk, and settled in to learn about her famous “KonMari” clean-up method. I was delighted, enthralled and inspired by this show about tidying up your possessions, and consequentially your life.

First off, Marie Kondo is absolutely delightful. This diminutive Japanese woman is too sweet to be real. She comes into people’s homes and genuinely cares about improving their lives by helping them clean up their houses.

Kondo’s method is about so much more than just cleaning up: It’s about making a change to help you live the life you want to live. This message comes through loud and clear because of how invested Kondo is in the people she interacts with.

The KonMari method is based on traditional Japanese housekeeping techniques, and it’s dead simple. Hold up an item in your cluttered home. If it does not “spark joy,” as Kondo says, get rid of it.

The first episode, “Tidying Up with Toddlers,” features the Friend family. Kondo starts all of her tidying journeys with clothing. Clothes get removed from the closet and placed in a large pile. Then, something is only kept if it sparks joy.

This is a little strange at first, but Kondo’s clients — and viewers — quickly get used to the principle over the course of the show’s first season, which features eight episodes.

Kondo then moves from clothes to books and papers, then the kitchen and miscellaneous followed by sentimental items to complete the KonMari process. Not every episode covers all the steps of the method, but they do all get discussed over the course of the season.

There are barriers that might make this show difficult to watch for some. Kondo doesn’t speak very much English. Though she has an interpreter, the show still features a lot of Japanese with English subtitles, which can make it difficult to watch if you aren’t used to simultaneous watching and reading.

Additionally, because the tidying up process remains largely the same over the course of the season, it can feel a little repetitive from episode to episode. However, the different stories of Kondo’s clients help provide variety, and Kondo shares different tips throughout the episodes that make it worth it to keep watching.

The cool thing about the KonMari method is that it doesn’t have to be rigid. What “sparks joy” is different for each person, so the process is completely unique. You can change it or make adaptations to fit your tidying needs. For example, I probably won’t KonMari my books because they all spark joy for me.

I currently have Kondo’s bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” on hold at the Manhattan Public Library. Once I have the chance to read it, I’m planning on using the KonMari method on the things I have at college. It’ll be a gradual process over the course of the semester, but I don’t think I could have fully committed to the idea without watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

Macy Davis is the culture editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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I'm Macy Davis a former Collegian culture editor and a 2019 graduate in English. When I was not reading and writing (both for class and for fun), I was also a member of the nationally ranked K-State speech team.