7 September 2020

The Queen of Throwing Stuff Away: Who is Marie Kondo?

Read Time: 4 mins

In the world of minimalist, waste-conscious influencers there is one that stands above everyone: Marie Kondo. Boasting over 3.5 million Instagram followers, a besting selling book and her own Netflix series, you may have heard of her. The Japanese 35-year-old is a tidying fanatic who even set up her own tidying consultant business while studying at Tokyo University. A big part of Marie Kondo’s decluttering is that it doesn’t just lead to a cleaner house but to a healthier and more mindful way of life. Kondo’s tidying methods have developed into philosophy for some with trademarked terms like the KonMari Method™ which consists of 6 steps. The most of import step is that you should ask yourself “does this item spark joy?”, if not: chuck it.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

This is the title of Kondo’s book which is a number one bestseller with over 4 million copies sold throughout 30 different countries. Instagram played its part in elevating Marie to these high levels of success. Her clean photos of perfectly put together living rooms are the kind of content that marries perfectly with Instagram’s favouring of aesthetically pleasing imagery. The book was also released around the same time that there was a growing appetite for minimalist attitudes.


Minimalism isn’t a new concept but is one that has grown in traction of late, especially amongst the younger generations. Forbes highlighted an American report that showcased how prominent these attitudes are within millennials. In the US, millennials outweigh other age groups like baby-boomers in size, but not in expendable income. This may have influenced millennials to have less of a demand for material goods and to desire a more minimalistic way of life. It is stated in the article that compared to baby-boomers, a much larger portion of millennials would rather pay for an experience instead of possessions. When combined, the growing appeal for minimalism and Instagram’s young userbase created the perfect storm for Kondo’s growing popularity.

From Books to Streaming

Today, overwhelming popularity and success can lead to only one thing: your own Netflix special. This is just what happened with 2019’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The show had a generally positive reception although some critics were left slightly lukewarm. Each episode Kondo would try to help a family who had become overcome with junk. This usually led to Marie hauling a whole house worth of clothes onto a bed in a mountainous pile. From there she’d ask the family to sieve through the pile to see if a 10-year-old pair of socks could “spark joy?”. This usually ended up in a resounding “no” and most of the pile would end up in a bin bag. Even so, the show gained momentum and appeal with the British public who are reported to perform seven and half hours of tidying a week. Charity shops even reported a large influx in donations at the time which they believed to be caused by the show.


What About the Waste Created?

All this tidying and throwing away does beg the question: where will all this waste end up? An important step within the KonMari method is to get rid of clothes that you don’t need or use any more. Kondo does encourage people to donate to charity but there’s only so much that can be accepted. A lot of the time the low quality of fast fashion items means they’ll never end up on charity shop racks and will go to the bin or sent abroad. Worryingly, reports also show that one-third of UK clothing goes to landfill. With this in mind do we really need even more encouragement to throw everything we own away? At its core, the KonMari method is about sustainability and anti-consumerism but you have to do a lot of binning before you get to that point.


About Clearabee

Is it all a fad or does a minimalistic life-style really lead to happiness and mindfulness? Whichever side of the fence you think you’re on you should try to make sure that your waste is disposed of responsibly. Are you planning a KonMari style declutter of your house? If you choose Clearabee to collect your waste you’ll be getting the peace of mind in the fact that we are able to recycle over 95% of the rubbish we collect. We have even become a carbon-neutral company with our Clearabee forests which will offset thousands of tonnes of carbon each year.

Clearabee operates nationwide on-demand rubbish clearance and waste removal services, with over 120 vehicles and 300 directly employed staff. Our services include our industry-leading rubbish clearance service as well as our Skip Bag, skip hire, sofa removal and private home wheelie bin collection services.

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