New year, new you, perfect time to rid your home of all the things no longer sparking joy in you, right?
Netflix smartly released Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, its newest kind and gentle self-help show, on New Year’s Day, right when the garbage monsters of the world were making and facing their 2019 resolutions to be and own less garbage.
“I will clean my home,” we said to ourselves. “I will feel joy.”
Marie Kondo is famous for her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the method of KonMari, which encourages you to get rid of any of your belongings that do not spark joy. The Netflix series follows her as she helps families get rid of their clutter and transform their lives, even if she doesn’t do much of the tidying herself. She mostly just shows up, takes a tour of the house, gives some advice that sounds utterly insane and yet perfectly reasonable as she’s saying it, and then leaves the families to sort it out themselves.
Then, once they’re done, she will return, squeal, and maybe even lay down on the now-visible carpet in celebration.
The show is equal parts relaxing and incredibly stressful, because you quickly realize that no realistic home could ever live up to the dreams Marie is having of it, but you also begin to feel that if these people can figure out their garbage-filled homes, maybe you can too! Maybe you too can learn to categorize your home into five increasingly vague categories and learn to exchange your clutter for happiness…if you don’t have a full mental breakdown in the process.
These are the 25 stages of watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, at least as we experienced them.
1. Hit play on episode one, feeling great, in the mood for some resolution inspiration. “I’m so excited, because I love mess!” Marie says. “This is going to be perfect,” you say.
2. “OK, totally,” you say to Marie Kondo’s five(?) categories of stuff in your home: clothes, books, paper, sentimental, and “komono” (“small things”), which includes everything from the kitchen to the bathroom to the garage to all other “miscellaneous” stuff. Makes sense!
3. Disbelief as Marie Kondo claims her small children love to tidy, because they’ve seen that it’s so much fun. SURE MARIE.
4. See the first family’s mess and judge the hell out of it. How are these people such a disaster? Ha ha haaaa they have to pay someone to do their laundry.
5. Should you pay someone to do your laundry?
6. As Marie kneels on the floor with her eyes closed, silently greeting/thanking the house, close one eye from the comfort of your couch. “Thanks…overpriced rented apartment.”
7. Marie says to put ALL the clothes on the bed and then only put back the ones that spark joy when held. Your closet awaits in darkness, overflowing, a jungle of “someday I might wear this.”
8. Marie Kondo ever so carefully folds a tank top reading, “#SquadGoals,” and you suddenly know that if this woman for whom #SquadGoals tank tops still spark joy can do this, so can you.
9. By the time the episode ends, you’re pulling clothes out of your closet and dumping them on your bed, knowing Marie would make a funny noise if she saw the size of your clothes mountain.
10. Try some things on. Put on a fashion show for yourself. You’re having a great time. Joy!
11. Two hours and several episodes later, your clothes mountain is still a mountain. “I will sleep atop the mountain,” you decide, but you press on, lovingly folding a joyful pair of jeans that WILL fit you once again someday.
12. Find a sweater you haven’t seen in two years, and wear it around until you get too hot, because this is hard work.
13. Another hour later, you’re left with just the remnants, the clothes that don’t spark joy but they also don’t not spark joy, and what if you need that jacket someday? Marie seems to glare at you from behind the screen. “No joy,” you say, adding them to the small pile of trash.
14. You stare at your newly organized closet, astounded.
15. Feeling incredibly productive, you sink back onto the couch as Marie demonstrates how lighting some incense and opening a window might help purify a space, and suddenly you see your whole home for what it truly is: a bunch of joyless crap.
16. You pull space bags out from under the couch, a box of junk from the shelf on the coffee table, a box full of candles from a shelf. You take down all the Christmas decorations and pile them on the rug. You dump a junk drawer onto the ground, suddenly finding yourself having skipped to the “komono” category. You are surrounded, an island in a sea of junk.
17. “This can’t be right,” you say, looking around. “There is no joy here.”
18. You weren’t prepared. You run out of tiny boxes, having only had two to start with, and they were both already filled with stuff.
19. “MARIE!” you shout, near defeat. “THE KOMONO CATEGORY IS TOO BROAD!”
20. You manage to get all of the Christmas decorations into one not-so-tiny box. You put it in a closet. You have achieved a second thing.
21. Marie is demonstrating child toy storage and you wonder if it’ll work for cat toys too. It does. You have achieved a third thing.
22. You nearly lose it over an ugly clock that a relative gave to you as a gift. It sparks no joy, but again, it was a gift from a relative. You pretend you didn’t even see it and it goes back into the box from whence it came.
23. You take a break because you earned it, and as Marie jumps to try to reach the top of a closet to build yet another clothes mountain, you realize you cannot possibly watch this anymore.
24. You find a comforting less stressful pal, like Friends or The Office or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, to accompany you as you shovel the rest of the junk back under the couch and into closets, still feeling a sense of accomplishment. “I Marie Kondo’d it,” you say incorrectly. “Bring on 2019!”
25. You crawl into your bed, which you cannot believe doesn’t still have clothes on it. All the joyless clothes are in piles all around the bed, but none are on the bed, and that’s a heck of an accomplishment. “Suck it, Marie Kondo!” you mutter as you fall asleep. “But also…thank you.”
As of press time, the joyless clothes have been evacuated from the bedroom, but they’re still awaiting their next life in the trunk of the car.
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is now streaming on Netflix.