Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” is a gem.
I highly recommend watching this show, even if you already have the tidiest room on the planet. That’s because the show is a great insight into human nature, relationships and psychology.
In the series, Kondo visits a range of typical-but-messy American homes and teaches the families how to sort out their lives by finding the “joy” in tidying up.
What’s unique about Kondo’s approach to is that Kondo recognizes an emotional and even spiritual element to tidiness.
After all, if you have a messy room, the problem is physical (the mess).
But if you have a messy room for weeks and months, the problem isn’t really the mess – it’s your inability to clean the mess.
And that’s an emotional problem.
Watching Kondo’s show with a psychological lens, it’s not hard to see the psychological dynamic at work within the family.
Typically, there are one or more people who are messy or who have a hard time getting rid of possessions. In this first episode of her Netflix series, it is the wife in the family who seems like the major obstacle to cleaning up.
But the problem never just lies with one person. Often, it is made worse by the reaction of the other family members. In the first episode, the husband’s response to a lack of tidiness is punishing and harsh. “Just toss things out!” he says, as he continually points to the messiness around him. But while that sentiment is understandable, it does nothing to solve the problem.
That’s because the real problem is not the mess, the problem is the emotion, and yelling at an emotional problem doesn’t work. Anxiety and learned helplessness holds the wife back from tidying her house, but her anxiety and sense of helplessness gets worse as her husband gets more frustrated.
Marie Kondo’s magic is that she breaks this cycle of messiness, shame and resent, replacing it with one of tidiness and gratitude. Her special insight is that in order to be tidy, you must take joy in tidiness.
And what’s remarkable is that her system works. You can see the transformation in the families on her show. You can see them start to gain insight into their emotions. Instead of being driven by anxiety and resent, they learn to channel their emotional energy towards productive activities and cooperation.
Kondo manages to achieve what nagging and blaming and the obvious unpleasantness of a messy house is unable to archive. Kondo actually manages to motivate people to do better by showing them a better way to live.
The principles that Marie Kondo uses are also useful far beyond the simple task of tidying up. They apply to any element of your life where inaction and the feeling of being “stuck” is holding you back from achieving your desires.
As a coach, I regularly deal with men who have a social life that resembles a messy closet. Men who feel like there’s a lot of wasted potential.
And, like Marie Kondo, I take an approach that really addresses the emotional and psychological realities that hold men back from living the love life they deserve.
If you’re interested in having me help tidy up your approach to dating, just click the link below.