In 2019, Marie Kondo’s Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo gave a global spotlight on how to find happiness through organization at home. It helped viewers evaluate their life and their stuff, dramatically changing many people’s outlook on what sparked them joy. Now, in 2021, the world has dramatically changed. It was tough enough to keep things tidy back when there wasn’t COVID-19 and the Delta variant to keep us up at night, so just how helpful can organizing a home office be when it feels like the vibes will always be off? That’s how I felt until I watched Sparking Joy With Marie Kondo.
Like her first, Kondo’s second Netflix show focuses on organization with a hint of self-reflection. But this time around, it hits differently. It’s deep and moving — maybe because I’m feeling a bit more vulnerable, or maybe because Kondo is really just that good.
“Tidying can be a way to reflect on your past and I learned all of these families’ life stories and their roots so it really goes deeper,” Kondo told Refinery29 through an interpreter in August. The three-episode series, which premiered on August 31, focuses on different families’ stories of finding the joy of balance, family, and letting go beyond the physical items. “Forging that deeper connection with them was invaluable for me.”
That connection doesn’t just have to exist for people who are fans of the organizational expert’s KonMari Methods — the message rings clear for even tepid tidiers. “I would love everyone to try tidying if they haven’t already after watching the show. Not only that, but [I would] really love them to consider how they would like to spend their life, spend the time in their life, how they want to work, and how they want to connect to other people,” Kondo said. “I hope that the positive change tidying can bring to each person’s life can spread to a larger community and to the world as well.”
Forming community connections, from tossing old items or resparking a nostalgic memento once hidden in a box, doesn’t seem as far-fetched now. The urge to connect should be honoured and can happen in the tiniest of ways. Kondo deems them, unsurprisingly, “small joys.”
“I definitely feel like noticing the small joys in our home lives is all the more important these days,” she said. “Just by looking at your neatly folded clothes or using a dish or utensil that you love to [use to] eat, these are small joys that you really want to experience truly from your heart. That experience can help in a difficult time like this.”
In the first episode, Logan, a nursery owner, is brought to tears as he praises the eye-opening experience of cleaning out his garden alongside his sister and father. He realizes this is what he’s always wanted and imagined: to have a special connection and bond with his family. And it’s finally happening so they can just sort through stuff. The scene was filmed during COVID in between lockdowns (Kondo was also pregnant and gave birth during filming) and his emotions mirror the realizations of how precious time is in the midst of a pandemic. As a gardener, he thought he was just going to learn about “keeping the nursery clean,” but instead he learned that he needs to share his emotions and gratitude towards his family more. Seeing her clients “gradually, little by little...transform their lives in such positive ways, whether it be relationships or careers” is her favourite part of his journey, she said.
Kondo’s show and her life-changing cleaning methods aren’t just tools to inspire a spring cleaning. In today’s world, it’s about decluttering your mind and seeing what’s really important during this crisis we call living through a pandemic.
Maybe that’s the new KonMari Method.