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Grieving and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Grieving and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

You may have heard of Marie Kondo before. She has written four books on organizing and currently has a hit show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (official trailer here). Her most popular book published in 2011 is called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Whether or not you like her overall method of tidying, many will appreciate the way she approaches grieving and tidying.

For those that have Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is a fun show that can help give you ideas for how to tidy up your own life. In episode 4 of Seasons 1, Marie works with Margie, a grieving widow. Together they go through her personal items, as well as her late husbands possessions. Marie gives Margie some helpful suggestions on how to tidy her husband’s possessions while still honoring his memory.

If you don’t have Netflix, or prefer a short synopsis, here are some helpful tips that Marie discusses in this episode.


Grieving and Tidying

Marie starts by having Margie put all of her clothes in one big pile. From every closet and drawer, pile it all together. She instructs Margie to hold each piece of clothing in her hands and decide whether that items “sparks joy.” To understand what sparks joy in your life, Marie suggests starting with something that you love and wear all the time. For those items that do not spark joy, you say thank you to that item and let it go. Marie says that “by tidying, you can sometimes ease the pain of the past. Or even start thinking abut your future in a more positive way.”

It is a difficult process to be grieving and tidying. Marie recommends waiting to tidy the belongings of a loved one until the end. That way you have honed your “spark joy” sense.  This will help you decide what to keep and what to say thank you and goodbye to. The idea of thanking an item may seem strange at first, but for those who are going through items of a deceased loved one it is comforting. Rather than simply getting rid of items that your loved one once treasured, you are saying thank you to that item while remembering the good times it had in your life. Then you can be comforted in letting those items go. It won’t make the process easy, but it gives you tools to acknowledge the past without stopping the future.

In the show, Margie is able to donate many of her husband’s items to a Resale Shop run by the American Cancer Society. This is another way she was able to honor her husband while tidying up. Is there a favorite non-profit or Resale Shop that you could donate your loved one’s items to that can honor their memory?


Treasure Box

When it comes to sentimental items, Marie has some helpful ideas. She suggests storing sentimental items in a way that sparks joy. You could buy or make a beautiful box and store the sentimental items in that box.

Tips for storage:

  • Store items upright
  • Put accessories in small boxes inside the large box
  • Store box in a place that sparks joy

When it comes to photographs, you can categorize them by year or by event (or both!). Marie suggests only keeping the photos that spark joy. If you have multiple photos that are very similar, only keep one or two of that style. When looking at many photos from one special day, keep the ones that bring you fond memories and let go of the others.


Last Thoughts

One thing you hear in almost every show is how the person tidying feels excited and upbeat, even though they are exhausted from cleaning. You can see that the progress they have made is encouraging to them. If you have Netflix, this is definitely a show that you should watch. Margie’s journey through grieving and tidying is touching and will resonate with you. The show may even help you find what sparks joy in your life!

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