Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: Spark joy!
January 3, 2019 8:36 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

As Netflix continues to try to dominate more and more TV, it is coming for HGTV with a series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter -- and choose joy.
posted by k8t (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I applaud the diverse families! But man this was lacking a few things...

- she didn't really help them, I know they have to do a lot of the purging themselves but it made for less satisfying transformations
- I wanted them to get rid of more stuff!
- The apparent transformations didn't seem sincere
- I learned almost nothing beside fold things standing up
posted by k8t at 8:39 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


From our fearless leader.
posted by k8t at 9:12 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


[BEFORE]
Sad gray photo

[AFTER]
Colorful photo…with almost the same amount of stuff?
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:27 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


The point of Marie Kondo isn't "Get rid of much stuff as you can", it's about being mindful of what you have and keeping only what resonates with you. And if that means you end up with what seems like the same amount of stuff as before, so be it. It's not a bulldozer minimalist system.

She's not going to interfere with what things people will keep or throw because the key to that process is that only you will know what's right for you. It's what sparks YOUR joy, not what SHE thinks will spark your joy. (That's also why she gets individual family members to work on their own stuff and not try and influence other family members.)

From what I've seen, there's a lot of rediscovering things they thought they've lost, reappreciating what they have but also reappreciating each other. This is the beginning of an uncovering. I don't see the transformations as insincere - just that this is the start of a process.
posted by divabat at 3:01 AM on January 4 [25 favorites]


It's important to realize that Kondo isn't a minimalist, she's a tidier. You can have a grand canyon of things and if you keep it tidy and properly folded, she'll be thrilled.

I do like that the theme of the show is emotional labor, and that every so often a family gets it, they'll just suddenly say, jesus, we've just been relying on mom to do all this.
posted by maxsparber at 8:54 AM on January 4 [28 favorites]


That makes sense. I assumed the tidying would be minimalism but if its about just keeping what you treasure, and better ways to fold things and organize I quite enjoyed it. Except for the husbands/dads who talk about it making them grow up..well, I liked that they grew up ..but just tired of in 2019 jokes about husbands never stepping into the kitchen are still made. It was good lying on the couch vegging out with a lady who seems genuine and positive and not about controlling what they do.
posted by kanata at 3:34 PM on January 4


The blue
posted by k8t at 7:38 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Kondo is not a magnetic personality and the show is poorly structured.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:03 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


I found her really sweet and adorable! I did appreciate that she doesn't try to make the show *about* her, the way some home decor shows end up being more about the hosts. Which is fine with some shows (I've been watching a fair few of them) but sometimes I just want to know if the participants have the same issues I do.

Like the last one, the lesbian couple in their first house, where it's less about getting rid of things and more about figuring out where everything goes and how to designate specific spaces. That was something i was wondering about - whether you can implement the method when you're new in a space - so that was very useful.

And the casual LGBT inclusion yaaaay!! (Well, no T yet as far as we know). The Netflix descriptions were misleading though - "two writers live together" THEY'RE IN A RELATIONSHIP GEEZ
posted by divabat at 9:48 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


That husband from the first episode who's like "why does my wife pay for laundry we can do it ourselves urgh" - my god, talk about a perfect example of the need for Crone Island. I was hoping Kondo would come in and go "well sometimes it's worth it to just hire someone else to do things that do not spark joy for you" or at least tell him to pitch in if he's going to complain about it.
posted by divabat at 9:50 PM on January 4 [16 favorites]


Divabat: got it in one. Two kids, works part time, but apparently the laundry and kitchen are all hers? I was so furious I had to skip big chunks of the episode and now I'm a bit gunshy of going on with it.

Someone tell me that he was an outlier??
posted by ninazer0 at 12:09 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Yeah everyone else in the show is pretty chill, like they may be frustrating for different reasons but even then they come around.
posted by divabat at 2:20 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


The other episode that might be similarly frustrating is one where the husband is eager to get rid of stuff and the wife hangs on to things to an absurd degree. It takes a while for the wife to really accept that it's ok to not have to hold on to things "in case in case in case".

That episode hit me in particular because my parents are exactly like this (dad will eliminate, mum will keep) and when I tried to talk to my mum about Kondo she's all "well I'm just going to be a packrat forever I am too old I cannot change my character the end" (she has...other issues).
posted by divabat at 2:22 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


On a broader note, I am grateful for the way Netflix continues to shrug off Americans' supposed intolerance for subtitles. This is not a challenging or intimidating show, even with the host primarily speaking Japanese. There is no reason that should trip anyone up, but it is almost impossible to imagine this even getting a chance on American cable as recently as five or ten years ago.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:00 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


I loved the husband with the sneaker collection realizing he should wear and enjoy his treasures. It resonated with me and my inherited china and stemware that I have learned to regularly use or at least display, otherwise why bother owning it?
posted by gatorae at 9:45 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


I kept watching the first episode with the tchtchy husband, and he really came around by the end. Even at the outset he was very candid about not giving his best self to his family.
posted by jeoc at 10:48 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Do they ever cover books and paper? In the first two episodes they skip straight from clothes to miscellaneous. Asking for a friend who needs help with my, I mean his, books and papers.
posted by rikschell at 8:02 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Like many other reality shows, I end up wondering, does anyone ever suggest to some folks that they get therapy? Mom in Ep 2 has a SERIOUS shopping addiction and Dad seems kinda depressed.
posted by emjaybee at 8:34 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Divabat: got it in one. Two kids, works part time, but apparently the laundry and kitchen are all hers?

I agree he was kind of a jerk, but I've never heard 50-60 hours per week plus some weekends called 'part-time' before.
posted by Quonab at 8:20 AM on January 6


I think the comment about part time was referring to the wife. She's not home all day every day yet all the major household tasks and parenting jobs seem to be hers.
posted by donnagirl at 10:58 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Divabot, my 30ish son, Dad of 2 was also appalled at that guy's attitude. Not attractive.
I've enjoyed this show, and I do like Marie's attitude. If you love it, it doesn't matter what someone else thinks. Find a place. Her second book, Spark Joy goes into greater detail, and is worth reading.
I too wish papers were covered in more detail. My husband insists on keeping everything for 7 years in case of an audit, and we neither of us have had a business in 10 years, so it seems unlikely.
posted by Enid Lareg at 2:11 PM on January 6


On a broader note, I am grateful for the way Netflix continues to shrug off Americans' supposed intolerance for subtitles.

Subtitles are the main reason that I (Canadian, not American, but whatever) will probably not finish watching the show. I found the first one charming if a bit ... forced ... but I watch this kind of TV while I do other things. I'm not necessarily looking at the TV most of the time, so I can't read subtitles.

It's not a good enough show for me to give it my whole attention, and with subtitles, I can't give it half my attention.

I'm willing to take on subtitles, but only if the show they're in is worth at least 90% of my attention, and that's not a lot of shows and definitely not any reality shows.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:16 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I'm not necessarily looking at the TV most of the time, so I can't read subtitles.

Netflix has you covered. I'm not sure if it's an option on your end, but on my Netflix screen, under the language options, I can choose "English - Audio Description" and all of Marie's subtitles are read in English. And as a bonus you get these brief descriptions of what is going on in the scene:
"A bearded man"
"A bookshelf topples, and a woman falls"
"She stands on one leg."


OR, if you are fluent in French or another non-English language it seems that those dubs have Marie's dialogue read in that respective language.
posted by FJT at 12:44 PM on January 7 [13 favorites]


Netflix has you covered.


Holy crap FJT you have just made my day. I can now watch Salt Fat Acid Heat while I fold laundry. Thanks!
posted by donnagirl at 2:35 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I have only watched the first episode and my favorite parts were the kids - I am a single mom of two and I can get so much done if I include the kids - we go slower and less efficiently, but if I don't include them, they will make a bigger mess of something else. Young kids love to help.

I also love that they showed breastfeeding a 2 year old as completely normal (which it is but you don't usually see it on tv).
posted by valeries at 7:17 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


That two-year-old was a character and a half.

I'm intrigued by a lot in Marie's method, but I'm not sure I understand what "sparking joy" really means. I don't find anything I would call joy in any of my clothes, and her descriptions of it as "all the cells in your body rising" aren't helping. Maybe I just don't have the right clothes?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:24 AM on January 8


I mean, there's joy and there's joy, and there's a point where you just need to cover your body so you can't throw out all your clothes. But I think if you pick something up and it has a bad memory, or it's a thing you only wear when the laundry isn't done, or you think about how you always have to tug it down when you wear it, or remember that there's a hole in it or whatever, you can easily get rid of it. On the other hand, if you pick it up and you think about how warm it is or how confident it makes you feel or how much you just really love a dress with useful pockets, then it's a keeper -- even if it might not be your newest/best/objectively most attractive item. There's probably some grey areas in between where things like 'shirts I wear to the gym' reside.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:29 AM on January 8 [10 favorites]


I feel like the scene where she folds up a shirt and thanks it for teaching her that she doesn't like to wear shirts like that is an interesting way to get into the concept, actually. The process is not just about the item itself but how you feel wearing it, what you do while wearing it, what it enables in your life, etc.

So it's totally valid for a gym shirt to spark joy because it feels good to exercise in. And if your gym shirt doesn't feel good to exercise in, then it's trying to teach you that you need to try a different kind of gym shirt!
posted by tobascodagama at 8:57 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


I have found her method extremely helpful for learning to let go of items I keep out of guilt, namely things I spent a lot of money on but don't wear/use/like anymore for various reasons. Flag Thank it and move on!
posted by gatorae at 4:08 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Just watched the (infamous?) first issue, and I like how the couple insists that the husband is the tidy one but then he has six literal trash bags of literal junk to throw out by the end.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:22 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what they were thinking putting that episode first -- they are so unlikable (except for the little girl). The husband was giving off Grade-A Asshole vibes the whole time and the "babe" thing was maddening. Not to mention the "you were so hot on our wedding day" comment from him.

Kondo is not a magnetic personality and the show is poorly structured.
posted by Ideefixe

Talk about different strokes...I could literally watch an entire episode that's just the parts where it's Kondo alone talking to the camera. She is SO VERY twee, which is catnip to me, and I just adore her cheer and thoughtfulness. Just having her in the house seems sort of calming and magical to the families. IDK how much of that is TV magic, but I seriously could just watch/listen to Kondo for hours. KonMari ASMR?

I will say, though, whoever does the voiceover in the beginning and end of the episodes - WOW. What. Where did that bizarre HGTV-crazy voice come from?! It totally clashes with the tone of the show.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:13 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


I've seen a lot of mixed reactions around the internet, but I'm mostly enjoying this show as someone who read the books and partly tried it myself. I've watched all but the last episode, and number 5 was the one that resonated the most with me. It's not a coincidence that that is the one episode where they actually went into the papers and books. (Plus that couple--the gay writers--is so cute and I love how they support each other!) I'm someone who held onto lots of dumb school papers and did a big cull of them when I moved across the country, and then again when the boxes of them arrived from my parents and I had to figure out where they would fit in my bookshelf. And I could absolutely get rid of more. I also keep things like cards, wedding invitations, and little notes people have written me and get very sentimental about that kind of stuff. Hell, I've kept a book I bought at a used book sale because it had a sweet inscription to some random stranger. I could relate, watching one of them get stuck on his books, and the other get stuck on all his papers and little mementos. I just wanted to hug them and then go tackle my own piles of crap.

Otherwise the episodes feel very oddly edited. The subjects struggle, they do step one and step four (does no one else but those two dudes read? I know Margie had books!), suddenly the person who had been trying to hold onto too much has an epiphany, and everything goes from black-and-white to color and we're done. It feels very abrupt, and the only shift I feel like I really saw was the man in episode 7 with the baby on the way and the mailbox.

Overall, though, the show scratches a couple itches I like to satisfy with reality TV: voyeurism and makeovers. It's fascinating to see other people's homes and possessions, and it really is about the emotional journeys. It was probably also helped that for some reason Netflix played me episode 2 first. That couple was nice and really did go through a mountain of clutter! As for episode 1, that one was so tense. It's actually an interesting Rorschach test. I've seen different reactions claiming that either the husband or wife are being totally unreasonable, and my partner and I disagreed along gender lines at first. But really, I think they were both at fault. The wife was completely overwhelmed by the thought of the chores and too paralyzed to start. The husband had expectations that weren't crazy but he was being nasty about it. In the end she needed someone to help her just get started and he needed to support her and help more. They were both stuck in the mindset that she's too messy to function, and it took an outsider to break her out of it. Hopefully they're okay and have gotten some counseling.

It would be fascinating to see a follow-up of how everyone's doing a year later!
posted by j.r at 4:54 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I liked in the third episode (I think, the family that had relocated from the Midwest to a small apartment in LA) when it seemed to hit home for the dad that thanking the items was about gratitude.

My mother is hoarder-adjacent. She's someone who was damaged by a childhood in poverty and has never tried to heal herself and instead is just continuously acquiring and unable to find things she already has because everything is a mess, and while of course she could use tidying up, I mostly think she could use some gratitude for what she already has.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:23 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


The downsizers family was fantastic. I loved seeing the son's acknowledgment that his mom was carrying the weight of knowing where everyone's stuff was, and how truly excited the daughter was, and how the parents genuinely seemed to respect each other and their children and the husband just fully GOT IT and did better.

I just watched Margie (the widow)'s ep last night and yeah, man, 9 months...wow. But it seemed like she was taking care of herself and had a good support system, and I appreciated that Marie followed her lead as to dealing with her husband's clothing. That was understandable and kind of touching. It seemed as though once Margie had done that she felt lighter and was better able to proceed with the rest of the program.

#KonMargie indeed.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:34 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Do they ever cover books and paper? In the first two episodes they skip straight from clothes to miscellaneous. Asking for a friend who needs help with my, I mean his, books and papers.

Echoing this question - just watched the third ep, and they were my fave family yet, but it again jumped straight from step 1 to step 4....
posted by solotoro at 3:10 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


This show is so badly produced! I watched the first episode and they messed up the graphics several times. The fonts are all different. There’s sometimes a voiceover. Sometimes the translator talks and then sometimes it’s subtitles - pick one! I don’t understand why they put “Day X” in the corner, but never say how many days it should be in total (is it a competition?) The camera work is awful. I don’t understand how it’s structured. Random tips in seemingly random order, but somehow always about folding or miscellaneous. Marie Kondo is cute, but definitely not very exciting to watch. I mean, didn’t anyone at Netflix supervise the production? It comes off as cheap and bad.

Despite the amateur hour production values (so distracting) I’m very interested in the show and like it. It is inspiring to watch people organize.

I just finished the downsizers and they are just the sweetest family and so kind to each other. Love them. The first family is definitely hard to watch, but with kids that young they are probably just really stressed.
posted by rainydayfilms at 6:43 PM on January 11


I don’t understand why they put “Day X” in the corner, but never say how many days it should be in total (is it a competition?)

It's not a competition and it doesn't have to be any certain amount of days. It's not a "Biggest Loser" type show. I think the days are there to demonstrate that the process takes time, and that each step is given a week or two to work on.

I actually think that's great, it means people on this show are given time and space to try to really process and learn, in comparison to train wrecks like "Hoarders" where they would come in, and be like, "We have three days to throw out years of accumulation and flat cats and teach you two things and congratulations! Now all your co-morbid, crushing mental illnesses are cured!"

I've just started episode six, and I will say my most consistent shocked face is at how many clothes every single person on this show has. I mean, I thought I had a lot of clothes until I started watching this show, but I have revised my opinion. This is partly because most of these people have closets bigger than my kitchen, but still, even the dudely dudes who would say they don't have an interest in clothes have sooooo many clothes.

Episode 5 - From Students to Improvements gets into books and papers some, although I wasn't blown away by the tips on paper organization. I did kinda love Matt, though, who had zero emotional connection to clothing and seemed baffled by having to find joy in anything in his wardrobe. I'm much less of a crouton petter than many of the people on this show, and certainly a lot less than Matt's partner, so I appreciated his weary patience.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:37 AM on January 12 [4 favorites]


>or at least tell him to pitch in if he's going to complain about it.

Did you miss the part where the guy works a minimal of 60 hours a week?
posted by KazamaSmokers at 8:05 PM on January 12


So how come when he gets home he gets to quit working, while the wife has to keep doing the work she's been doing all day? Guarantee her work week has way more than 60 hours in it, so he can suck it up buttercup. Which at least it seemed like he was maybe on his way to that realization by the end.
posted by solotoro at 3:20 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


That restaurant supply game is a brutal grind
posted by Cogito at 7:51 PM on January 13


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