Tidying up with Marie Kondo was released on Netflix just as New Year’s resolutions were being made worldwide; the perfect time to inspire audiences to tidy their houses and revitalise their lives. I was sceptical about the show at first. Just how entertaining could watching people tidy up be? Surprisingly so.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese tidying guru with successful books about decluttering and making the most of your living space. The series focuses on a different family or individual each time, all with a specific living situation to focus on: a family with toddlers, ‘empty nesters’ and a couple trying to adult-ify their college house. Even though I couldn’t relate to many of the living situations, I found it interesting to see how other types of people view tidying and their possessions, and many of the tips Marie gives are transferable to other situations. The show alternates between showing the family’s situation, Marie coming in to help them, and cutaways of Marie talking to camera and demonstrating organisation methods. Marie speaks mostly Japanese throughout the series, with her translator or subtitles providing context for English speakers; I’m glad they did this and being able to have a glimpse of Japanese language and culture through the series was a highlight for me.
Just how entertaining could watching people tidy up be?
My main issue with the series is that most of the groups featured in the series are clearly wealthy and privileged. One family hired someone to do their laundry just because they didn’t enjoy doing it (Who does?!). Many of their issues came from having unbelievably huge houses and hoarding items away in one of their many spare rooms. For me, that was frustrating as I felt that the series could have easily represented other experiences, rather than being dominated by wealthy middle-class suburban families. However, I still found the transformations interesting to watch, even though I had an eyebrow raised at the unconscious privilege many of the families had. Overall, it’s a relaxing and motivating show and I’ve enjoyed trying to ‘Marie Kondo’ my life and restore some sort of order to my wardrobes.