Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: Why Do We Have So Much Clutter?

Marie Kondo’s hit Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has caused many people to stop and think about their spaces. Thrift stores have seen a rise in donations, Kondo’s name has become a verb, and the question of how many books to keep has sparked heated debates.

Marie Kondo|Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Marie Kondo|Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Clutter is a problem for a lot of people, both at home and in the office. Why are so many people plagued by clutter and what can be done about it? The Cheat Sheet spoke with Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, founder of AskTheMoneyCoach.com and personal finance expert for selling app Mercari. She gave us advice for how to get rid of clutter and get things in order. Khalfani also discussed the results of Mercari’s recent survey on clutter. Here’s a peek into our conversation.

Marie Kondo|Gary Gershoff/WireImage

The Cheat Sheet: Which survey results surprised you the most, and why?

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: I was most surprised by the huge number of people–20% of all Americans–who are paying rent for self-storage facilities. That’s a big red flag that many of us have way too much stuff–stuff that could be sold to make money, rather than spending money just to keep things we’re no longer using.  It makes no sense, financially or logically.

CS: Why do most American households have so much clutter? Is it a fear of giving away things we care about?

LK: There are certainly some things people keep for sentimental reasons. But Americans on average have 42 unused items in their homes–that’s because so many suffer from what we call “low sell-esteem,” the mistaken belief that we’re not good at selling or that nobody wants to buy our stuff.

Jimmy Kimmel and Marie Kondo|Randy Holmes via Getty Images
Jimmy Kimmel and Marie Kondo|Randy Holmes via Getty Images

CS: What’s the best way to get rid of clutter?

LK: The fastest, easiest, and simplest way to get rid of clutter is to sell stuff via an app like Mercari. It takes only about three minutes, on average, to list an item and you can do it right from your smartphone–without ever having to meet the buyer in person.

CS: Do you think following popular methods like the KonMari method is the solution to getting rid of clutter forever?

LK: I do think that the KonMari method can help reduce clutter. But people also have to be mindful to not overspend and buy so many things in the first place. By being smart about what you purchase or bring into your home, you’re basically curating the stuff in your life on an ongoing basis.

The KonMari Method explained

Marie Kondo| Marco Piraccini\Mondadori Portfolio\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Marie Kondo| Marco Piraccini\Mondadori Portfolio\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The main theme of the KonMari method is only keeping items that spark joy. As a result, you will be surrounded by objects that bring you happiness. Furthermore, this method instructs you to organize your home based on categories as opposed to location. The KonMari method has become so popular that Netflix collaborated Kondo to stream the seriesTidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Read more: Marie Kondo is Embarrassed to Admit She Has This 1 Clutter Habit

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!