In this episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, parents-to-be Clarissa and Mario come to terms with what it means to spark joy and create their ideal home.
Their goal? To tidy their house and build lifelong organizing skills before their son’s arrival. I found it compelling that—similar to some of the other episodes in the series—Clarissa and Mario decide to tidy because of a major life event. While of course nothing’s stopping us from getting organized at any time, important milestones can push us to take the first step.
But in “Making Room for Baby,” the process isn’t so simple. Mario is struggling. He associates so many personal items with his Guatemalan heritage, his childhood, and other key moments. It was a real pleasure, as a viewer, to watch him come to terms with the KonMari Method of tidying. During this episode, he learns to let go of belongings from his past and work with Clarissa to build a home for their future.
For the Love of Tennis Shoes
Upstairs, Mario and Clarissa introduce Marie to their “clutter room.” The spare bedroom is filled with bins, boxes, and seemingly endless pairs of shoes.
Clarissa sorts through her footwear with ease—but Mario’s experience is a bit different.
“I’m not someone that’s going to hold on to something that I haven’t used in years just because I want to keep it,” Clarissa explains. “But I don’t know if that’s happened for Mario.”
Everything seems to spark joy for Mario, who has purchased more than 160 pairs of sneakers over several decades. This made an impact on me, and I spent some time contemplating what we’re supposed to do when item after item sparks joy during the tidying process. Mario clearly has an emotional attachment to his kicks.
That said, a key factor in Mario’s spark-joy equation is setting a positive example for his son. Despite the fact that most of his shoes make him happy, he wants to tidy up and show his child that family is more important than material objects. The father-to-be, in this way, leverages tidying to work toward his desired future.
Garage à la KonMari Method
The garage is where Mario experiences a breakthrough. Clarissa isn’t home during this segment, but Marie still comes over to help organize the couple’s miscellaneous items.
Though the garage seems fairly neat, Marie encourages Mario to assess his belongings anyway. This approach seems effective in that even if we think a room or space is tidy enough as is, it’s still worth going over what’s essential.
“There is a purpose for all this stuff, eventually,” says Mario, motioning to a stack of tiles and a bin of electrical items.
In response, Marie suggests that he take everything out to determine what sparks joy for him. And again, Mario struggles to part ways with some of the things he no longer needs. He shows Marie an old clock he was gifted, a second clock he used as an alarm during high school—both sentimental items he is reluctant to let go of.
He then shows the tidying expert the detached mailbox that came with the house when he and Clarissa first bought their Hawthorne, California property. Marie tells him to hold it.
“Is this something you’d like to keep as part of your life going forward?” she asks.
“When you put it that way, no,” says Mario. He adds that the mailbox they have outside currently sparks more joy because it represents something he and Clarissa accomplished together.
Overall, as Mario starts to understand the intricacies of the KonMari Method of tidying, it becomes easier for him to say goodbye to certain items. Marie, as she often does, encourages him to thank the items he’s letting go of to lessen any guilt he might feel.
By the end of the episode, Mario and Clarissa are pleased with their progress and ready for their son to join the family. An added bonus? Mario pares down his sneaker collection by nearly 75%!