5 Things I Missed the First Time I Watched ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’

updated Feb 20, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

This week, we’re celebrating the impact of all things KonMari and the 1-year anniversary of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix. We hope these stories spark joy for you.

Like many people, I spent the first weekend of January 2019 binge watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix. As someone who had already read her books and written about her for years beforehand, the idea of KonMari wasn’t new to me. But what the new format did was show how different kinds of people with different situations used tidying to improve their homes and their lives. It was as inspiring as it was informative.

It’s been a year since the show came out, and in the spirit of fresh starts (and my umpteenth attempt at our own decluttering program, the January Cure), I wondered what insights I could absorb from a rewatch. Here’s what I learned from Marie Kondo and “Tidying Up,” the second time around.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Thank your home

In each episode, Kondo introduces herself to the home in question—a nod to KonMari’s Shinto roots where everything, including inanimate objects, has a spirit. This practice is also present in her method of thanking items that you don’t plan to keep. In the first episode, Kondo specifically mentions thanking our homes for protecting us. We can so often see the negatives in things and situations—like the couch we hate or how you can’t wait to buy a place in a different neighborhood—but practicing gratitude helps us remember to be thankful for what we do have.

Gratitude lessens guilt

But what about items that we didn’t use, like clothes with the tags still on? In episode seven, Kondo says we can be show gratitude for those things, too, because they taught you “that you don’t like to wear shirts like that.” The key is to remember those lessons next time you’re shopping.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

It gets worse before it gets better

One of my favorite parts of each episode is when Kondo makes each person pile all of their clothes into one giant mountain. It’s been years since I’ve done this myself in this way, and yet I deeply identify with the surprise and shame that is present on their faces. Not only are they faced with their consumption head on, it also looks much messier than when they started just earlier that day. This is where they realize, as the Friend family vocalizes in episode one, that it gets worse before it gets better. Mess is part of the tidying process—not just at the beginning, but throughout.

There’s more than one way to purify a space

In episode six, Kondo mentions myriad ways to refresh your home. Purifying your space can be as simple as opening the windows while you’re cleaning. You can also spray a room spray, light incense or a candle, or even play a soothing sound (Marie demonstrates a tuning fork in the segment).

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Keep what you love, love what you keep

When we think about tidying, we usually think about getting rid of stuff, but that’s not the focus. In episode eight, flight attendant Alishia wears a uniform and therefore doesn’t wear her clothes all the time, but they’re an expression of her personality (as someone who works from home but has a lot of “outside clothes,” I feel this). She’s particularly attached to a dress her late grandmother bought for her years ago but no longer fits. Kondo says, “The point of this process isn’t to force yourself to eliminate things, it’s to confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess.” Whether you love sneakers or figurines or books, the point isn’t to have as few as possible, but to derive joy from everything you have.

What have you learned from “Tidying Up?” Tell us in the comments.