The World Loves Marie Kondo, But It Was America That Needed Her

IndieWire | 1/18/2019 | Staff
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In 2016, two years after the English translation of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” became a best-seller, Marie Kondo moved to Los Angeles to establish her home organization consultancy in America. Amidst her culture shock, the Japanese native soon realized her new country also provided something that her homeland did not: unprecedented levels of clutter on which to practice her art.

On Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” we see her gently guide clients to confront years of accumulation: towering stacks of baseball cards, never-worn athletic shoes literally decaying in the box. Kondo admits that one client, an empty-nester obsessed with collecting Christmas nutcracker dolls, has more clothes than she has ever encountered.

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“Japanese homes are much smaller than American homes,” Kondo said through her interpreter, Marie Iida, who also appears on the show. “American homes have ample space so that it’s a difference of quantity. There’s a tendency to want to have more things when you have a bigger space.”

Kondo’s tidy takeover of America began with that understanding, and now the release of her Netflix reality series has made her, and the KonMari Method, a household name. “Americans do tend to buy more in bulk. That’s a cultural difference,” Kondo said. “Speaking from the KonMari Method point of view, there’s nothing wrong with buying things in bulk.” The key is in how one stores those Costco items in a pleasing and accessible way.

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“Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”

While social media backlash likes to portray Kondo as a strict minimalist, she doesn’t oppose consumerism, or even clutter — as long as those things “spark joy” in you. The KonMari Method instructs clients to sort through household items in a specific order — clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items — and discard what doesn’t...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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