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17th Feb 2019

7 life lessons learned from watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

#4: Children ruin everything

Ciara Knight


Marie Kondo, am I right? Yeah.

Her new Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo involves Marie imparting her tidying knowledge upon households that have fallen asunder. No more, no less.

From the outset it becomes apparent that Marie is a delightful and tiny smiling Japanese woman who’s a legitimate tidying expert.

But rather than simply taking the obvious cleanliness tips from Marie and using them to better ourselves, I thought it would be far more beneficial to use this wonderful show to learn about life itself. All you have to do is watch the entire series and look closely.

Get your pencil at the ready. Let’s spark some joy.

1. It’s okay to have a huge bunch of stuff if it makes you happy

Throughout our lives we’re all told that material possessions are not the key to happiness. The person telling us this has very clearly never experienced the unbridled high that comes with unboxing Apple goods, so realistically, that’s on them.

Marie Kondo instructs people to check whether their belongings ‘spark joy’, such as the feeling experienced when you hold a puppy. If it doesn’t happen, you simply throw away the item. Basically, this method can be hacked. If you firmly believe that everything you own sparks joy, you can justify keeping it all.

What we can take away here is that you should just keep buying stuff if it makes you happy. Life is garbage enough without having to fantasise about owning AirPods, cruelly feeling a pang of jealousy every time you see someone using them. Go out there and buy stuff if it’s going to spark joy. Hold onto it forever. Go into debt because of your shopping addiction. Live.

2. The easiest way to have a clean house is to never own one in the first place

Watching Tidying Up is a stretch because you have to a) pretend that you will ever actually own a house and b) fantasise about it getting very messy due to you being a slob. Marie arms these homeowners with the tools to turn their lives right around, at least in terms of having an organised house, then heads home to her probably very tidy house.

But there’s another option. Marie neglects to inform these people that they could simply get rid of their houses if they’re causing a lot of bother. Our parents’ generation screwed the housing market making it impossible for us millennials to ever get on the property ladder, and now they’re complaining that they can’t keep their obnoxious houses in tidy order.

How very dare they. Anyone who has a messy house should be stripped of it. They must now live in grubby student accommodation with 9 other people including a guy named Simon who microwaves fish for breakfast every morning (weekends included). When these animals realise that life is utter hell for a non-homeowner, maybe then they will keep their books on the shelf.

3. If you need someone to teach you how to tidy up your shit, you should probably just be put down

Imagine not knowing how to fold clothes and throw out stuff in the garage that you don’t use anymore. Genuinely imagine that for a moment. Imagine a small and impeccably dressed woman having to come all the way from Japan (with her translator) to explain to you that things don’t belong in a giant pile on the floor.

If you’re that thick, you need to be put down. Nothing major, just an immediate end must be put to your life. Not only are you an absolute slob, but you’re proudly ignorant about it and fully willing to expose the filth in which you live in for all the world to see. This isn’t even going on telly, it’s going on Netflix worldwide. Everyone is going to see your squalor and you’re fine with it.

Maybe try tidying things up yourself before you go on the household version of Embarrassing Bodies. I promise you, it’s not that hard. Fold things, put them in containers, neatly arrange the boxes. The so-called ‘KonMarie Method’ is just about arranging your shit neatly. You can do this. It is not hard.

4. Children ruin everything

A large portion of the families on Tidying Up involve children, whether at present, in the past or on the way. Marie is incredibly polite in entertaining that fact, when what she should really be saying is “Look, if you want to have a tidy house, get ride of these demon spawn”. It’s like trying to put petrol in a car that’s electric. The two simply do not go.

Instead of dropping that harsh truth, Marie tries to get the parents to incorporate their kids into the organisation process. Toddlers trying to fold t-shirts in the precise way that allows you to fit the maximum amount in your drawer is truly hysterical to watch. A stampede of Noah’s Ark’s inhabitants would have a better success rate.

What needs to happen is for Marie to give these parents an ultimatum. It’s either going to be a tidy house or a life with children, those are the options. Couples should split up if one is untidy, children should be gotten rid of if they have a penchant for sticky fingers and disarray, even friendships should be cancelled if they don’t align with the same hygiene principles. Fact.

5. You can tidy away your belongings, but you cannot tidy away your problems

Lots of the couples featured on the show seem to lowkey hate each other. They start off giddy at the prospect of having a tidy house, but that soon wears off once they realise the mammoth task that’s at hand. Slowly the cracks start to show and things descend into tension.

With each checkup visit from Marie, the couples put on a brave face. They gush about how organising stuff has resulted in them bonding. It’s fun to clean up the mess of a loved one, especially when you’ve spent your life being very tidy but now you have to get a tiny Japanese lady to teach your other half how to stack boxes and fold their damn clothes.

When the final Kondo Konsultation takes place, the couples are ecstatic. They’ve achieved something together. As they wave Marie and her translator off, their smiles begin to fade. Suddenly, it dawns on them, they still despise each other. Only now, they can hate each other in the comfort of a very neat and tidy home. Ah, wedded bliss.

6. If everyone just looked after their shit, the world would be a much better place

This lesson goes beyond keeping your clothes tidy. Think about everyday things, like at work. If everyone just did their specific job to the best of their ability at all times, everything would be fine. Planes would take off on time, supermarkets wouldn’t run out of Nutella, cars wouldn’t break down on the way to a job interview, an idiot wouldn’t become President, etc.

Marie does her best to educate people in the wonderful ways of organisation, but what she’s also doing is equipping them with the necessary skills for being a better person. Yes, you should keep your kitchen utensils in neat boxes, but you should also do the hoovering when it’s your damn turn and dispose of a body correctly so that it will never be found again.

If everyone just looked after their lot, the world might be a slightly more tolerable place to live in. Marie Kondo just wants us to be tidy and live in clutter-free houses, but if you really look into things, she’s arming these homeowners with the tools to be less shitty people. Do things that spark joy. Get rid of old shit. Buy your friend a coffee and a pastry every once in a while.

7. At the end of the day, we’re all going to die

Not really relevant to Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, but always worth keeping in mind.

Images via Netflix