Does It Spark Joy(mode)?

What I learned from watching Netflix's "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo"

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I've always considered myself to fall closer to the OCD side of the neatness spectrum. I clean once a week, purge my closet of unworn clothes on a regular basis, have basically gone paperless, use my Joymode membership (duh), and would vaccuum my cats' fur if they'd let me. My Virgo moon demands order and clutter stresses me out to high hell.

However, watching the new Netflix Original Series, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," has me rethinking my entire minimalist(ish) identity. According to the Konmari method, I still haven't achieved organizational enlightenment.

Did anyone else binge the series this weekend and immediately throw all their belongings onto the bed to see what sparked joy? I can't even count the number of people in my feed who were inspired over the weekend, sharing their trash bags full of joyless items ready for donation and sad attempts at the Konmari folding method. I'd love to get a report from Amazon on the influx in searches for "small drawer boxes."

If you haven't watched yet, or if you did, but were sitting on your laptop doing ten other things at the same time (no shade), allow me to share my major takeaways.

Like Yohana Desta wrote in her Vanity Fair review, "It's like Hoarders, but happy." And yes, it will absolutely fill the Queer-Eye-shaped hole in your Netflix queue.

Feeling Joy Is A Learned Skill

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While in the throws of decluttering, or "tidying," Marie Kondo recommends physically holding each item to determine if it sparks joy. Her description of the feeling is more of a physical expression. She demonstrates that when touching the item, it should bring a sense of warmth, an unavoidable smile, and a very adorable scrunching of the body. She explains that understanding what joy feels like for you, personally, is a skill developed throughout the process, which begins with clothes. It's much easier to decide if a vintage t-shirt brings your joy than a spatula.

Decluttering Takes TIME

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The whole process for each episode is just over a month, and I assume this is expedited for the sake of television magic, and also actually having a living, breathing Marie Kondo making house calls to keep accountability. It's not just the volume of stuff that factors into how long the process will take. There's no way to predict the emotional upheaval it will cause. Prepare for tears as you unearth things that remind you of lost loved ones and happy moments, and challenge whether or not you need a physical item to cherish the memory.

It can also get worse before it gets better if you're doing this with a partner. Emotions are high, and there will be plenty of disagreements to work through in what needs to go, and how to reorganize once the clutter is gone. It's a laborious process to sort, donate, and reorganize your life, both physically and emotionally.

Small Boxes Aren't Everything

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I feel like this show makes it seem like tiny boxes are the answer to our prayers, but I've done the tiny drawer boxes, and while they help keep things organized, there is still work involved in maintaining them. Also, you actually need to reduce the amount of belongings in your home, not just increase and improve storage.

The Home Should Be Treated Like a Living Thing

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Every part of the Konmari process isn't just to reduce the amount of clutter and mess in your home. It's meant to bring a greater appreciation and respect for the things we own, and the place we live. I love how Marie circles a room like a dog looking for the perfect nap spot until she finds the right place to thank the house with a silent prayer in thanking the house and letting know it's about to get turned upside down. I also really love all the VERY American reactions to this ritual. They're all like...um....OK, wasn't expecting this but I'm on board.

If you haven't watched yet, I suggest you make time to plow through the series this weekend, with ample time to allow yourself to freak out about the quantity of your own stuff and frantically google "small drawer boxes." Chances are, you're a long way from neatness Nirvana, but this show plus the declutter kit are a good place to start.

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