|How Marie Kondo Gets to the REAL Heart of Our Problem|
It’s pretty rare that Netflix reaches me on spiritual level. (I mean…getting to actually enjoy a cup of coffee, hot, while my kids watch some animal documentary is close…but I won’t count that since it rarely happens.)
If you haven’t already heard about Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series “Tidying Up,” give it a couple of days. You probably will. It’s all over social media. And with good reason, I think. It’s like BirdBox…only not scary…and no Sandra Bullock…and no one is blindfolded. Ok, it’s not like BirdBox at all except that it’s popular and on Netflix.
The series follows various families in their struggle to overcome their clutter and create organization in their homes. Sounds riveting, I know. The only way this could be exciting is if you just really love a good transformation story. (And let’s be honest…who doesn’t?)
I know what you’re thinking: A life-changing reality show about cleaning. She’s really lost it. Stick with me, here.
Marie Kondo is the creator of the KonMari Method and she walks these families through her process step by step. I read Kondo’s book last year and while I found it helpful and well done, I must say there’s something about watching her in this series and seeing the results that is inspiring.
That said, after watching a couple of episodes, it occurred to me that there’s something so much deeper going on here. There’s something underlying in her method that has little to do with the process and everything to do with the mentality. And all of us, especially those of us who call ourselves believers, would do well to pay attention.
Greet the House
Before she allows any tidying in the home, Marie “greets” the home and “thanks” it. Now, from a Christian perspective, I want to be careful on this. I don’t believe we need to thank our home because I don’t believe our home is a living organism to be thanked. That said, I think her reasoning behind it is crucial. We may not “thank” our home…but when was the last time we “gave thanks” for it?
We take so much for granted. What happens when we take a step back and show gratitude for what we’ve been given? Our whole mindset shifts. You can watch it happen in every episode. Their faces even change. This frantic, stressed, overwhelmed, scarcity mindset is suddenly completely different. That’s not because they got organized, y’all! It’s because they got grateful!
You have a home, a roof, a warm place to rest. How blessed are you? There are those who do not, after all. Should we not be grateful?
Feel the Shock
She continues this theme as she moves through her method. When addressing the issue of clothing, she requires the families to make a giant pile of all of their clothing. Everything. She says we need to feel the “shock” of how much we have.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Perhaps all of America needs to feel the shock of how much we have.
It’s so easy to allow things to quietly accumulate. And there’s never enough. There’s those new shoes on sale! There’s that new shirt that we just HAVE to have. It’s only one thing. No big deal. Not like we’re buying a whole new wardrobe.
But when we are faced with our mountain of stuff…“shock” is a good word for it. I know, for myself…it’s downright embarrassing how much stuff we have. I had more clothing that I could ever wear. Stuff that had accumulated over more than a decade. I had clothes I didn’t even remember I had.
Who would benefit if I used only what I needed instead of hoarding away things I really didn’t need? Is there someone who actually needs those items? Who actually needs the money that was spent on them?
And suddenly, you don’t feel the urge to go on a spending spree. It no longer feels good to get more and more.
After piling all your clothing in one place, she tells you to hold each item and decide whether it “sparks joy.” Some things are things we really love and appreciate. Others are things we have just accumulated. The excess.
When something doesn’t “spark joy” you don’t toss it in a bag. Marie asks the families to thank the item before putting it aside to be taken away. Again, I don’t see the point in thanking a shirt…but I do see the point in giving thanks. Even if the item has only been worn once, were we grateful for it? When you pulled your shirt out of your drawer this morning, did it ever cross your mind to be grateful for it? To give thanks for what you have?
Gratitude sparks joy.
After everything has been sorted, she encourages the families to carefully fold each item. They have kept only the things they love. Things they appreciate and can care for. Things they are grateful for.
They have touched and become aware of and given thanks for everything in their home. They’re content with what they have.
Don’t you see, America? This is what we’re missing.
We don’t have a clutter problem. We have a heart problem. We’re a society on a desperate search for more. It’s never enough. We need a bigger house, a newer car, nicer clothes. There’s always something better. It’s never enough.
Meanwhile, there are those struggling for food or water, living on the streets or in shacks. They have no shoes, no coats, no hope. While we’re over here trying to figure out how to organize all our excess.
Stop the Excess
What would happen if we could learn to be content with “enough?” If we didn’t need more, but gave more? What if we were truly grateful for everything we had? Every. Last. Thing. How would our outlook change?
I know I would love to find out.
I certainly have a long way to go on this, but I’m trying. If you’re intrigued by the concept, I definitely encourage you to try it out. You can try Marie’s method if you like. Watch it on Netflix or get her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Want an even more convicting read, from a Christian perspective, that will challenge you to get to the root of all the excess from food, to belongings, to media? I recommend reading 7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.
If we only had today what we gave thanks for yesterday, what would we have?
This thought convicts me. So this weekend, you will find me buried in my closet…rewriting my little corner of the script one pair of shoes at a time.