The organization guru is making everyone want to tidy up — but what does the KonMari method entail?

By Mackenzie Schmidt
January 10, 2019 02:24 PM
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Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series is inspiring binge-watching and binge-cleaning among fans.

The organization guru’s 8-episode show, Tidying Up, debuted on the streaming service on January 1, just in time for New Year’s resolution season. And while Netflix doesn’t release data on just how many people are watching its shows, Tidying has clearly been sparking joy in viewers, who are hilariously documenting their obsession on social media, and buying Kondo’s 2011 book in record numbers again, putting it back on the bestseller list.


But what exactly is the Japanese author’s method?

Kondo’s organization rules, dubbed the KonMari Method and laid out in her cult-favorite first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, dictates an order in which you should clean out your entire house. Rather than working room by room, practitioners clean by category.

Start with clothes, then books, papers, komono (aka miscellaneous items) and sentimental items, Kondo advises.

The main takeaway however, is that rather than judging items by how often they’re used or their value, Kondo instructs that cleaners should pick up each item they own and ask themselves if it “sparks joy” in them. If it does, it stays. If it doesn’t, it goes.

Before giving anything the boot (or the garbage bag, as the case may be), Kondo says to thank the item for its service.

Kondo’s method, which was first popularized in Japan, where she’s from (her business is now based in Los Angeles), spread across the globe with the popularity of her book, which has sold millions of copies and been translated into 40 languages.

Even if viewers of her show don’t immediately get up and clean something, it’s incredibly satisfying — and often heart-warming—to watch others do so. And while each episode’s “big reveal” isn’t quite as in-your-face as many other home makeover shows, the end result is always satisfying.

Credit: Netflix

The homeowners do the dirty work themselves, and though there are moments of low-level drama, they come out of the month-long process happy and de-stressed without exception.

Want to dig into KonMari? Pick up Life-Changing Magic or its illustrated companion book, Spark Joy, and tune into Tidying Up on Netflix. All episodes are now streaming.