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Hartford Courant: Marie Kondo Effect

February 9, 2019, 6:00 AM
Hartford Courant
Peter Marteka

Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo’s philosophy when it comes to decluttering is simple: If it doesn’t “spark joy in you," get rid of it. And area consignment shops in Connecticut are feeling the joy in increased donations and customers in their stores.

Consignment stores around the state are confident the uptick in donations is due to an eight-episode run of “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," which made its debut on Netflix last month. Although already popular with a series of books over the past few years, the “Kondo effect” ramped up with a new audience on Netflix.

Lexie Conlin, owner of Your Closet Or Mine Consignment & Boutique in Middletown, said people are cleaning out their drawers, closets and entire homes.

“People are bringing in pictures of their sock drawers before and after, it’s hysterical," Conlin said. “They are dropping it. They are bringing it to consignment, which is great for us because anyone through the door, they drop and they usually walk out with something.”

According to officials at Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut, donations were up 23 percent in January 2019, over January 2018.

“While we can’t directly correlate the increase of donations to the Netflix show with Marie Kondo, we can tell you that there is certainly a buzz regarding the method of tidying up," said Goodwill spokesman Jeremy Mooser.

“Our associates confirm that donors are sharing a sense of relief and confidence when dropping off items," he added. "Interestingly, while we have seen a substantial increase in donations, we are also seeing more shoppers who are benefiting from the Marie Kondo effect in the stores. With more donations comes more opportunities of finding treasures for your home.”

In her Netflix show, Kondo spends several weeks teaching people to declutter and organize by moving through items in categories, beginning with clothes and books, and ending with sentimental items. Throughout the process, Kondo encourages her clients to hold each item and decide whether they “spark joy” for the owner. If the item does not, it is thanked for its service to the owner before being donated.

Michelle DuBois, owner of Max and Lily’s Closet in West Hartford, said people are clearing out and organizing their homes because of the show.

“January is a great time of year to get organized and clear things out. But so many people are coming in the store and talking about [Marie Kondo]," DuBois said. "Things are getting folded better and items are coming in at a faster pace versus last January. We’ve definitely seen an increase over last year. Everyone is talking about her. The sparking joy is definitely resonating with people.

Conlin said her customers are showing photos of what they are doing and telling their organizational stories. Some customers are taking it a step further by taking what they’ve learned and helping friends and family members declutter and organize based on Kondo’s vision.

“It’s awesome. I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of stuff we won’t take because they don’t want it. But there’s a lot of stuff we do want because it is good stuff. ... There’s been a huge amount of dropoffs. But it works and it’s a win-win for everyone. ... You are not only decluttering, you are making money."

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