Pairing New Year’s resolutions and Netflix would typically seem counterproductive. But the streaming giant’s latest addition is counting on the tradition of revamping one’s home and habits to spark joy with its newest binge-worthy show. Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert and author of the global smash hit “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing,” along with her translator Marie Iida, provide clients with a source of light in a home that’s overcome with clutter.
Kondo offers gentle guidance to her clients, using her Konmari tidying method and a wide smile that crosses the cultural divide. Tidying Up repeats the successful makeover formula (nothing new in the world of HGTV reality shows) but with a satisfying twist. Kondo’s simple question “does this spark joy in your life?” unearths a fresh perspective for her clients, many of whom have lost sight of what true enjoyment of their home and favorite possessions can bring. She recognizes the emotional benefit of keeping beloved items and putting thoughtfulness into the space we each occupy.
The reality show trash side of my brain lit up at the prospect of peeking inside someone’s dirty closets and chaotic kitchen (makes me feel better about my cluttered mountain of laundry). Certainly, there are touches of drama, tears, and moments of epiphany, as you watch Kondo’s clients (who largely own the screen time) learn how to check in with themselves, their partners, and home. There’s something hugely personal about watching someone decide if a worn college T-shirt or old iPhone earns a coveted spot in their home. The show creates and maintains a very intimate vibe as you watch Kondo candidly chat with her clients and flits through their drawers, family photos, and skeletons in the closet. Cleaning away unwanted mess gives people the room to open up about ongoing stressors. As Kondo wisely states in one episode, “Tidying not only changes your home or life, it also allows you to create a space that suits your ideal self.”
If your New Year’s resolution list can take one more addition, consider adding this charming show to your watch list. Don’t let terms like “mindfulness” and “gratitude” or Kondo’s practice of sock folding prevent you from viewing and taking a serious review of your current environment. After one episode, I found myself adopting Kondo’s laundry folding method, directing thankful thoughts towards the mainstays that keep my apartment cozy (I’m looking at you, humidifier) and embracing more of sparks joy in my daily life.