Marie Kondo can teach us more than just how to fold

Tidying guru Marie Kondo helps people tidy up their homes in Netflix's  “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

If you’re anything like us, your cleaning habits have improved considerably over the past few weeks – and we have Marie Kondo to thank. Kondo is a Japanese best-selling author who recently came out with a show on Netflix called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” on Jan. 1. It’s quite possibly the most relaxing show since the days of Bob Ross. In each episode, Kondo shows people fundamental skills that allow them to clean up their lives both physically and mentally.

The common theme throughout the show is to be thankful for your surroundings and what you have. It’s a sweet reminder that isn’t commonly found in reality shows in which bitter fighting is the biggest selling point. However, reality shows like “Queer Eye” and “The Great British Bake Off” focus solely on human connection and positivity rather than conflict, as does Kondo’s show. More often than not, the lessons learned in those shows can be taken into the real world.

Sure, Kondo teaches us life skills like how to fold a fitted sheet, a feat we’ve previously deemed impossible, but she also teaches more valuable skills like how to figure out “what sparks joy” in our lives. It’s a skill that doesn’t really sound like a skill. We know what brings joy to our lives, right? Maybe not. Joy is an instant feeling that can’t really be described, but to Marie Kondo, it can be summed up by the feeling we get from holding an old T-shirt or a battered photo. Figuring out what sparks joy in our lives is a way to figure out what to hold on to and what to let go of. It’s a valuable life skill that can be used in our day-to-day lives.

As young adults, most of us are in a constant state of uncertainty. We’re often living in different places, changing jobs or being thrown into different groups of people, which makes it hard to hold on to and let go of things. So, we’re left to deal with the clutter that is our lives, not knowing what needs to be let go. Figuring out what sparks joy in our lives doesn’t only apply to a pair of jeans; it can apply to a career choice or even a class. What gives us joy is the path we should follow. We recently heard a phrase that stuck with us: “When is the last time you felt genuine joy in your life?”

Maybe it was simply sitting outside in the sun, or it was being surrounded by friends. It doesn’t really matter where, but it matters why. When we figure out what in our lives gives us that rush of happiness, then we can allow ourselves to make decisions that can positively affect us. Why were you happy at that moment? And how do you apply it to other aspects of your life? These are questions only you can answer for yourself, but they are something to think about when you’re having trouble with a decision.

We are nearing the end of the semester, a time when many of us will graduate and move to a different city. Before you’re off making serious life decisions, think about what makes you happy now and how to keep that feeling in your life. Don’t let yourself follow some path you think is the best for you because someone told you it was. Let go of the things in your life that are keeping you stagnant, and follow the things in your life that are creating sparks. Marie Kondo may be small, but her advice has a big impact.