The fifth episode of lauded series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo showcases a younger couple, Frank and Matt, who want to tidy their West Hollywood home so they can lead a more mature lifestyle.
It’s clear the duo are at an impasse. Frank has a tough time letting go of sentimental items, and Matt—the baby of his family—claims he didn’t learn much about organization as a child.
They’re now ready to make changes and embrace their adult selves, with help from tidying expert Marie Kondo.
A Space for Your Ideal Life
Frank’s parents are planning a visit to California, and he wants to show them he’s grown up—in large part by tidying his home before their arrival. Though he and Matt enjoy thriving writing careers, they feel their space doesn’t reflect their professional success.
“If you were to walk through our home, you would think that college students live here,” he admits.
I could certainly relate to the emotion behind this episode. In fact, I think most viewers will be able to connect with Frank and Matt. So many people spend their mid-20s bridging the gap between youth and adulthood, and I applaud these two for using an impending family visit to push forward and embrace change.
What It Means to Spark Joy
If you’re in any way familiar with the KonMari Method of tidying, you know the process involves organizing based on what “sparks joy” in your life.
This episode goes deeper and explores what it means to spark joy. When Frank asks Marie what sparking joy is for her, she explains it’s a physical response.
Specifically, items that spark joy trigger a positive reaction the very second we see or hold them. In my view, breaking the concept of sparking joy down—the way Marie does for Frank and Matt—can be really impactful. Marie goes out of her way to help the couple understand that joy should be instinctual. For those of us who tend to overthink things, this is an empowering approach.
Books, Papers, and a Surefire Storage Strategy
Frank and Matt struggle with different aspects of tidying. Matt loves to read, and organizing his books proves grueling. Similarly, Frank has a sentimental attachment to the songs he’s written, the notes he took in high school, and other documents he no longer needs but can’t bear to part with.
Fortunately, Marie helps the pair navigate their emotions. Here are some suggestions she offers that you too can apply to any item category:
- With each item, ask yourself whether it will be beneficial to your life.
- Hold your favorite item to get used to the feeling of sparking joy.
- Moving forward, it will then become easier to decide what to let go of.
Insightful, right? I sure think so.
But that’s not all. Before I conclude this review, I’d like to share some practical advice—that is, Marie’s strategy for storing documents. It makes a huge difference for Frank, and I have no doubt that I’ll soon be using it in my own life.
Basically, the trick is to choose a designated spot in the house and divide your papers into three categories:
- Pending documents, which still need to be addressed (i.e., letters, bills).
- Important documents, which are kept permanently but only rarely consulted (i.e., contracts, insurance forms).
- Miscellaneous documents, which are referred to often (i.e., recipe cutouts, papers from a seminar).
Anyone can apply this strategy. Personally, I’m really excited about it because I currently keep my papers all over and tend to lose them. This could be a turning point for me.
In closing, this tactic—along with other tenets of the KonMari Method—helps Frank and Matt transform their lives and enjoy a meaningful visit with Frank’s family. I don’t know about you, but I definitely think the couple achieve what they set out to accomplish.