In the two weeks since bidding farewell to 2018, you may have noticed some or all of the following:

• Your entire book collection piled on the floor as your significant other taps it awake for sorting.

• Your spouse thanking their old clothes for their service as they toss them into a rubbish bag.

• Conversations about what joy is sparked by the extensive collection of decorative inkwells you've been keeping in the spare room.


And if you have experienced any of those things, then you, my friend, have officially been Marie Kondo-ed.

After building an empire of fans following the release of her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2012, Marie Kondo's world-famous approach to organising is back in the spotlight this month, courtesy of a new eight-episode series on Netflix.

Cannily released to coincide with all those New Year resolutions to declutter, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has caught the attention of a whole new audience i.e. those who don't have the attention span, time or energy to read more than three pages of a book.

Each episode of this new series sees Kondo outlining her much-vaunted philosophy to American families struggling with mess at different stages of their lives, from a couple expecting their first baby through to retired empty nesters.

She politely flits into each of their homes to talk though organising their clothes, their books, their papers, "komono" or miscellaneous items (a category which seems to encompass every room in a house) and, finally, sentimental items. Crucially, participants are urged to keep only the items that "spark joy" for them, a philosophy that means I probably need to raze my entire home to the ground.

The first episode sees Kondo visiting Rachel and Kevin Friend in California, a couple flailing around in a house full of stuff they don't know what to do with while their adorable preschoolers contribute to the chaos by tipping old coffee over themselves.

"When you have young children, maintaining a tidy household is a struggle," Kondo points out in a major understatement.

But against all odds, the Friends, along with all the other families participating in the series, manage to get their worldly possessions under control, leaving Kondo almost jumping for joy (and sometimes rolling around on the carpet) as she surveys the final results in each home.


Speaking of results, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo delivers on several expectations itself.

I'd assumed there would be a few woo-woo elements, given Kondo's well-documented belief that inanimate objects like socks have feelings. And sure enough, the series sees Kondo tapping books "awake" and greeting and thanking homes for all that they've done for the families within them.

I also expected a show about tidying to be a little on the dull side. I can now confirm there's not much riveting about watching people fold their clothing into small, tidy rectangles or sorting through piles of paper.

But what I didn't expect of this gentle self-help show was to find it so personally confronting.

As I watched each of the mortified participants gather together mountains of clothing to sort through, I felt quite sick, knowing my own clothes pile would probably look much the same. And I'm not alone, judging by the deluge of goods being dropped off at charity shops (and probably our landfills) since Kondo's series appeared on Netflix.

The show is a stark reminder of the scourge of stuff and is summed up best by grieving widow Margie, as she shows Kondo around the home she and her late husband raised their kids in for more than 30 years.

Now living alone, Margie tearfully tells viewers she's struggling to know what to do with her husband's and kids' belongings in her "empty house full of stuff", which is one of the more depressing descriptions of a home I've ever heard.

So, instead of worrying about what sparks joy in my own home and thanking my socks for their service in 2019, I think I'll concentrate on the root of the problem and try to accumulate far fewer of the things that just don't matter at the end of the day.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is available now on Netflix.