General, Media & Entertainment

Netflix Series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ Has Not Sparked a Revolution

Image Credit: Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash

It’s been almost a year since author and internet star Marie Kondo brought her message of neatness and minimalism to Netflix with the reality series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Now, Kondo is back in the news for opening up an online shop on her website, KonMari.com.

It’s fair to say the show itself was something of a phenomenon, with several news outlets reporting that charitable organizations were dealing with a huge influx of Kondo-inspired donations. The show earned an Emmy nomination for the “Outstanding Host for a Reality Show or Competition” category.

But was the “Tidying Up” phenomenon a flash in the pan, or has it had a lasting effect on Americans’ views toward the consumer goods in their homes? And ahead of some of the biggest shopping days of the year, are we going to fill those recently-cleaned shelves and spaces with more stuff?

That’s what CivicScience set out to discover in a survey of more than 3,300 U.S. adults.

So, who was convinced to adopt Kondo’s “KonMari” method, and who wasn’t? CivicScience looked into its database to find out. 

Young Women Were the Driving Force Behind Kondo-Mania

First of all, women were way more likely than men to take the leap, though they weren’t that much more likely to have watched the show in the first place.

The rates of tidying up were fairly even across the income spectrum. It did become clear, though, that the younger generations were much more likely to watch the show and clear out than their older counterparts.

A Neat and Tidy Lifestyle

People who said they were “actively working” toward becoming minimalists were more likely than any other group to have Kondo’d their stuff, edging out those who already considered themselves minimalists.

To further gauge the effect Kondo has had on minimalist culture in the U.S., we aggregated the three pro-minimalist answer choices above and opposed them to the single anti-minimalist answer choice. The results show that, among minimalists and would-be minimalists, Kondo has had a pretty big cultural impact.

But has she converted many people to the minimalist camp? According to our data, not really. Here are the results of our minimalism question from August 2018, months before Kondo’s show dropped, compared with answers from the six-month period from January to July 2019:

The results speak for themselves.

Sparking Joy, Indeed

Another interesting perspective: Cannabis users were almost twice as likely to have watched Marie Kondo’s show as non-users, and twice as likely to adopt her KonMari method to tidy up their homes. To look at it another way, 31% of the people that tidied up said they use cannabis (for medicinal or recreational reasons). That certainly bucks the stereotype of the messy pothead.

Kondo’s most ardent acolytes also over-indexed as H&M shoppers — only 12% of those who cleaned out their homes said they don’t like the “fast-fashion” Swedish clothing outlet.

Finally — and this could certainly be a proxy for the age correlation noted above — people who currently have student loan debt were more than three times as likely to have watched Kondo’s show than those who don’t, and much more likely to have taken action to tidy up as well.

Overall, CivicScience’s data point to the average Marie Kondo follower as a younger, college-educated woman who shops at H&M and may enjoy a bit of cannabis in her life.

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