Inspiring Generosity


What Netflix’s “Tidying Up” Can Teach You About Joy

                       Mouse with Laura Ashley: A Study. By Cesie.

I admit it. I have become an acolyte of Marie Kondo.
I know this because last night around 9:00 amidst a mound of paper and stuff from the year 2015 (go figure), I asked my husband, “What about this computer mouse? Should we keep it?” He said (maybe not in these words, but I got the general gist), “When does this end? Who cares about a computer mouse at this time of night? What has Marie Kondo done to you? Please, go relax.” Relax? That's a thing?
So, with his blessing - and to save our marriage - I was off for another episode of Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Did I mention that Marie is my new best friend? My dear Tom has not made friends with her yet but I have faith they will be besties soon.
Marie Kondo is the author of the wildly popular 2014 best seller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Truth be told, I bought the book back then and it’s been on my shelf, yep, gathering dust and cluttering things up. Such good intentions.
Fast forward to January 2019 and Netflix drops eight episodes of “Tidying Up.” Marie Kondo is all about helping people get control over their lives. She really is the sweetest thing. Marie smiles constantly and doesn’t scold or shame her clients. We can relate to these people. They have let “stuff” overwhelm them and their homes. They are not hoarders – they are (sadly) typical American families who have bought into the notion that stuff equals happiness.
In his 2011 TED Talk, “Less Stuff, More Happiness,” Graham Hill says that Americans have three times the space we did fifty years ago and…it’s still not enough. Personal storage units are a 22 billion dollar industry.
Using the “KonMari” method, Marie – she’s like a pixie – helps people to let go of the stuff that weighs them down.

Three of her practices could be taken straight out of a faith playbook:
1. Before she starts, she likes to “introduce herself to the home.” To do that, Marie gets down on her knees as if in prayer. For about a minute she is quiet (eyes must be closed!) and then is ready to get to work. In the first two episodes, she invites the families she is working with to join her in this “prayer.”

Let’s just say, seeing people on their knees in meditation/prayer on a mainstream television show is a sight worth beholding. In other episodes, the families stand quietly and in reverence. Whether they’re standing or kneeling, it’s deeply moving.
2. Marie then asks people to dump all their clothes in one gigantic pile. Most people are aghast at the amount of clothes they own. She then tells them to hold each item to see if it “sparks joy.” Joy may be completely subjective, but it should make your heart sing. See how Marie defines “sparking joy.” If the item does spark joy, then you keep it.
3. If it doesn’t spark joy she advises that you thank the piece of clothing (or, ahem, the computer mouse) for its service and put it in a pile to give away. Marie, no doubt, would feel comfortable if you wanted to thank God for whatever you are holding in your hand as you send it to the Goodwill pile.
Marie Kondo has taught me about the beauty of letting go. I can give things away without guilt. Those shoes I wore once ten years ago that killed my feet? Time for them to go. That awesome Laura Ashley dress that will never come back in style? Bye, bye. The rock that was given to me by one of my children in a year I don’t remember? It’s time to find a special place for it in the garden. The beauty of it is that it’s all done in a spirit of thankfulness and joy.
So thanks, Marie Kondo. I’m still a work in progress. The basement has yet to be tackled, but you can bet that I feel great about making my first few steps to reclaiming a life of less stuff and more joy. And…thank goodness, there’s one less computer mouse to think about.
P.S. I’m so excited! Just out today, my interview with the Lewis Center for Church Leadership: “Toward a Culture of Joyful Generosity.” Give it a listen.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’s trying to determine if there is a computer mouse that will ever “spark joy” in her. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.