As a tidying-up trend sweeps the nation, storefronts and professionals in the region are seeing signs that the cleaning craze is catching on here, too.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author who published several books within the past decade, including “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” With the New Year, Netflix released “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” a makeover series in which the consultant helps families clean up their lives with her KonMari method.
Kondo’s strategy involves dividing all of one’s belongings into five categories: clothing, books, paper, komono — which is kitchen, bathroom, garage, and miscellaneous — and sentimental items. For each category, Kondo instructs clients to gather all of their items in one pile and pick up each individual piece, asking if it “sparks joy” within them.
The idea behind the KonMari method is decluttering one’s household and paring down belongings to only the items that really mean something to the owner.
Willow Pellerin, the owner of Willow Tree Boutique in Keene, said it took her awhile to figure out why her customers started asking themselves aloud if a shirt or a pair of shoes brought them joy.
“Oh my gosh, I’ve heard it like a few dozen times at this point. I’m not even exaggerating,” Pellerin said, laughing.
Within the past few weeks, she said several customers have mentioned the Netflix show to her. Pellerin added that she doesn’t think the decluttering craze is stopping anyone from shopping in her store.
“I think people are more thoughtful about their purchases,” she said.
Other organizations have taken notice of the tidying trend, too. The Monadnock Humane Society posted on its Facebook page this week:
“Marie Kondo has inspired many people to declutter, and MHS often gets calls asking what can and can’t be donated to us,” the post reads.
It goes on to explain that sheets, towels and blankets are popular drop-offs, but the shelter doesn’t need those items right now.
“However, we have a Planet Aid drop box at our Swanzey location, and MHS receives a cash donation from Planet Aid for every pound of clothing, shoes, or textiles donated,” the post says. “So keep that in mind while you KonMari!”
The post also includes a list of donations needed, including dog and cat food.
Shelter technician Starr Royce said the humane society’s development director, Rhiannon Hutchinson, wrote the post. Royce said there hasn’t been a noticeable spike in donations, but that the information served as a proactive measure for anyone considering contributing their clutter.
At the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Swanzey, manager Janet Dodd said there was a steady amount of donations last week, which is abnormal for this time of year. She said January and February are typically slow months.
And Marge Anderson, a professional organizer, said she’s seen a similar trend, with plenty of people bringing donations into local thrift stores.
Anderson owns Omina Designs, which she launched in Swanzey in 2012, and she travels throughout the Monadnock Region helping residents purge and reorganize their homes. With a background in interior design, she also does home staging, downsizing and preparing for a move.
“I love helping people get rid of stuff, figuring out where to take it so that it can be donated or reused or recycled or something like that,” Anderson said, “… but also so that things aren’t just sitting around in your house, taking up space and taking up your energy thinking about it.”
She hasn’t had anyone contact her yet as a result of the Netflix show, but she pointed out that the episodes are structured to give viewers ways to try the KonMari method themselves. People watching are getting in the minimalist mood, and that’s good, Anderson said.
But in her conversations with other professional organizers, she said there’s a consensus it’s also important to note that “it’s usually not a one-size-fits-all kind of approach.”
“As organizers, we go in, we listen to the client’s or the family’s needs, their goals, look at the big picture and then break it down in simpler steps,” she said. “And what works for somebody might not work for somebody else.”
Those inspired by the KonMari method might find Kondo’s purging process effective, Anderson said as an example, but the consultant’s tips for putting things back in order might not work as well in different space limitations.
“And that’s where, if another organizer comes in and helps you one on one, maybe you can find the right solution,” Anderson said.
When she works with clients, Anderson said she incorporates the community, too, working with several thrift stores and nonprofit agencies to give residents several options for getting rid of their items.
“I try to tie into what people are passionate about and then donate to those places, because then I think they’re more likely to let things go,” she said.
Contributing to the clean-up craze, Anderson said the Marie Kondo show coincides with what her colleagues call “GO month,” as in “get organized.” Many people tie their New Year’s resolutions into downsizing their clutter, she said.
“But this is something that can happen any time of year,” Anderson added, pointing out that spring cleaning and summer yard sales help keep the house free of excess. “… Really any time of the year is good for organizing.”