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Home & Living

7 Life-Changing Lessons From Marie Kondo's Netflix Show 'Tidying Up'

"I love mess!"

If you’re an avid Netflix user, you know there’s only one way to watch: Put on your stretchy pants and plop on the couch with enough snacks to sustain you through several hours of viewing. And if you haven’t already binged your way through “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix, add it to your watch list ASAP.

First of all, the show is meme gold. But behind host Marie Kondo’s coos, giggles and subtle shade are some truly valuable lessons that are bound to spark a bit of joy in your life. That’s because she’s the author of New York Time bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” creator of the KonMari Method and all-around tidying expert.

1. Embrace change

Change is scary and hard. But nothing worth changing is easy, so you might as well go about it with a positive attitude.

Kondo is unfazed by what would be anxiety-inducing piles of junk for most people. In fact, she’s visibly elated by stacks of newspapers and rooms full of Christmas decorations, and that energy is infectious. By the end of each episode, participants who started off apprehensive or overwhelmed are equally excited about home organization.

2. Clutter can affect your relationships more than you think

Sure it’s just stuff, but letting clutter take over your home can have consequences that seep into your relationships, too. Depending on how you handle it, those consequences can be negative or positive.

Take the Friend family from the first episode. Husband and father Kevin admitted that stressing over mess meant his family often got the worst side of him. That realization was clearly heartbreaking for him. Frank and Matt from Episode 5 felt like their junk was holding them back from maturing individually and as a couple that would make their respective parents proud.

On the other hand, Episode 2′s empty-nesters Wendy and Ron Akiyama, who were in a long-term marriage rut, reconnected and strengthened their relationship by working together to organize their home.

3. Ditch what doesn’t bring you joy

When it comes to sorting through your belongings, you might evaluate whether each item is practical, useful or valuable. However, one of the key tenants of Kondo’s KonMari method of tidying is first asking yourself whether an item brings you joy.

How refreshing is that? Instead of worrying about whether you might fit into those jeans again or if that pile of electrical cords could come in handy some day, just ask: Does this spark joy for me? If not, remove it from your life.

4. Be grateful, even for your junk

Tidying up involves getting rid of a lot of stuff you don’t need, and Kondo has a process for that too: Thank each item before putting it in the “no” pile.

Sure, the concept might seem a little strange (though not as strange as greeting each house), but the core of Kondo’s process is about being appreciative of all you have. “Gratitude is very important,” she affirms. Though owning too much stuff can become stressful, Kondo reminds us that we shouldn’t take our prosperity for granted.

5. It’s OK to recognize the sentimental side of stuff

Many organization gurus might tell you that junk is junk, and it’s not worth holding onto items for sentimental reasons. But Kondo doesn’t pass any judgment on what show participants decide to keep. In fact, she dedicates an entire step to tidying sentimental items, even breaking the rules in Episode 4 by allowing Margie to sort through her late husband’s belongings ahead of schedule. Kondo shows that it’s perfectly fine to hold onto these things, but in a way that brings you joy, of course.

6. The amount of clothing we own is shocking

The first step in the KonMari method is taking all of the clothes you own and making one big pile to sort through. “Only by creating one big pile are you able to see how much clothing you actually have. You will also be shocked by the amount of clothing you actually have,” Kondo explains in Episode 2. From Wendy’s towering mountain of clothing to Mario’s collection of 150 sneakers, “Tidying Up” highlights the staggering amount of clothing most Americans own.

Unfortunately, we end up throwing away about 70 pounds of clothing and textiles each year, which often ends up in landfills. If anything, “Tidying Up” should make you think twice about your purchases and maybe consider buying more sustainable fashion.

7. Not all lessons have to be big to be life-changing

If you make it through the entire season of “Tidying Up,” you see that the daunting process of organizing a messy home has a transformational impact on the participants’ lives. Relationships are strengthened, old wounds are healed and houses become homes.

Of course, that all makes for great TV. Not everyone is going to see the same profound results. In fact, you might end up with nothing more than a Pinterest-worthy sock drawer after following the KonMari method ― and that’s okay. Sometimes joy comes from trying something a little different.

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