Netflix’s new show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is creating a movement. It follows Marie Kondo, the Japanese mastermind behind the KonMari method, as she drops in on woefully untidy Americans. The method is a way to cut out clutter and live a minimalist and, most importantly, tidy life. The show is creating spring cleaning mayhem in January across the country (maybe the globe?). Here in Seattle, thrift stores and used book stores are noticing an influx of donations.
The show is whatever. I've only watched one episode. It's like a less exciting Hoarders. Unlike Hoarders, though, you can really see your own bad habits in the normal people each episode highlights (I've still only seen one, but it's not hard to pick up on the trend).
"We were just talking about this," Mark Bonney at Third Place Books in Ravenna laughed when I called him to ask if the store was seeing an uptick in donations. "When Marie Kondo's book first came out it definitely had a huge impact, now that it’s on Netflix it’s happening again."
Bonney has seen multiple people bringing in boxes of old stuff that Third Place simply can't take.
"We were slammed here at the used book counter yesterday," Bonney said. "It's been quite busy, busier than usual. Today is Monday and we've already got 8-10 boxes of books from people."
Third Place doesn't have an overstock so whatever they buy goes right on the shelves. It's tough because if someone has a lot of good books to sell Third Place may have to tell them to go to another store.
Goodwill is also reaping the benefits.
"Oh yeah, there's definitely an impact," Lindsey at the Capitol Hill Goodwill said. "Our store is relatively small, you should call Dearborn, they get most of the donations. But yeah, ours is definitely overflowing."
Dearborn was tight-lipped about the whole thing and referred me to corporate.
Local reporter Hannah Brooks Olsen tweeted this out today:
Also this weekend my local Goodwill drive-through had a handmade sign on a sandwich board that just said WE ARE FULL. And people were still trying to unload their bags.
— Hanna Brooks Olsen (@mshannabrooks) January 14, 2019
Lindsey said that she's seen that happen before, but only in extreme cases. She's not sure if they're at that point yet, but Marie Kondo is driving the masses to her store.
The good news is that the huge volume of clothes thrift stores are seeing isn't driving down prices at the places that'll buy your clothes.
Marc Castillo, a buyer at Crossroads Trading Co. and Stranger digital editor Chase Burns's boyfriend, said volume doesn't matter. (Castillo hopped into the shower right as I started working on this so Chase interviewed him through the shower curtain for me.)
"The abundance of numbers doesn't mean we price things lower, it just means we have more work to do. The integrity of the prices should be the same throughout the whole store," Castillo said. "The person who brings five dumpster bags of clothes should get the same amount of attention as someone who brings three things."
"There's no limit to the number of things people can bring. If you have someone that brings six full trash bags full of clothing, we still have to go through all the things," Castillo continued. "This is good for our store. Although sometimes I just need a little break."
I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my clothes. I feel like I could definitely get a solid chunk of change for some stuff, but all of that is buried among the dresses I've had since sophomore year of high school and the "Who Are These Kids And Why Are They Calling Me Dad?" shirt I thought would have been funny to wear but was just embarrassing. The Goodwill Donation Center near my house is calling my name.
For now, I'm feeling good about my new, cleanly take on life. Maybe I'll go back and watch some more Tidying Up to see what Marie Kondo has to say about turning my desk back into a desk. Also, if anyone has a nightstand for sale, I need to have "a place" for everything to truly be clean and, well, my vibrator needs a place that isn't out in the open.