Advertisement
  1. Business

Ready, set, unclutter: Marie Kondo has Tampa Bay cleaning up

Goodwill reports a surge in donations after Netflix show inspires people to go through closets, drawers and memories.
Diana Blinkhorn cleans out her bedroom closet Marie Kondo-style on recent weekday.
Published Feb. 12

She opened the closet in her upstairs bedroom and stood, hands on hips, surveying her clothes.

On the left, dozens of dresses she'd worn over the last decade. On the right, a row of blouses, another rod filled with skirts and slacks. Shoes in the center. Plus, a pile of purses.

Diana Blinkhorn took a deep breath, then pulled everything out and threw it on her bed.

Just like Marie Kondo says.

"I did it three years ago, after a friend gave me her book," said Blinkhorn, a Tampa mom who writes a blog and home schools her three young daughters. "But I just can't keep up with all our stuff. The new Netflix show inspired me to go around again."

So on a recent weekday, while her husband was at work and her parents were downstairs watching her girls, Blinkhorn started sorting.

"This time," she said, "I'm going full-blown KonMari."

***

Marie Kondo's best-selling book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," encourages people to go through their possessions and discard everything that doesn't "spark joy." She wrote in her native Japanese, and it was translated to English in 2014. Since then, it's been published in 30 countries.

In January, Netflix debuted a series starring Kondo who, through a translator, helps families control their clutter.

The eight, half-hour episodes each have millions of views. The show sparked a deluge of before-and-after photos on social media, people documenting their attempts to follow the Kondo method. In the last month, more than 2 million people have mentioned her on Facebook. The site's Marketplace reports a huge increase in people selling things they no longer want.

Across Tampa Bay, Goodwill has seen a 3 percent increase in drop-offs throughout its 10-county region -- an additional 5 million pounds of clothes, furniture and other items in just one month. "Our donations departments keep getting calls from people saying they've been inspired to clean out their clutter," said Goodwill spokesperson Chris Ward. "At our Wesley Chapel store, donations have tripled."

***

Blinkhorn bent over her bed and untangled a web of hangers. Everything that was in the back of her closet was now on top of the mound. Some of the clothes, she hadn't seen in years.

That orange skirt was from college. She's 35. That striped dress she wore when she was pregnant. Her youngest daughter is now almost 3. She touched each item, just like Kondo says.

She didn't thank them for their service but savored the memories. That forest green dress used to make her feel so fancy. But it was pre-kids and doesn't fit anymore. It's got to go. That flowered sundress? She forgot she had that.

"I used to always think, what if I need this again? So I could never get rid of anything," Blinkhorn said. "Now I ask, 'Do I want to bring this into my future?' I don't think it's healthy to hold onto your past."

Her husband cleaned out the shed. She did the kitchen cabinets. Clearing the kids' room was hardest, she said. She didn't want to get rid of the crib, or baby swing, or even a pile of stained onesies. But she forced herself to "be intentional about what I kept" and allowed herself just one keepsake box for each of her girls.

[Like this story? Follow Florida's largest newspaper here]

She sold some items on Facebook's Marketplace and made $400, which will help pay for gymnastics classes. Other things she donated to a women's shelter. "Getting rid of all this stuff makes me feel lighter," she said.

About an hour after she started, Blinkhorn hung the last dress back in her closet and closed the door. On her bed were two piles: One to give away, one to try on. Her oldest daughter, Lucille, walked in and started rifling through them.

"Hey, Lulu, don't create more mess," Blinkhorn said, picking up a sweater the 6-year-old had flung to the floor. "This all has to go to someone else."

While Blinkhorn folded unwanted items into a bag, her daughter stepped into a pair of silver heels, wrapped herself in a black shawl, pulled out every dress that sparkled. When she found a peach one whose bodice twinkled with crystal beads, she stepped into it.

"I wore that the night your dad and I got engaged," Blinkhorn said. "Look how tiny it is. I'm sure I could never fit in it again."

She had planned to give that dress away. But now her daughter was wearing it, dancing in front of the mirror.

Sparking joy.

Contact Lane DeGregory at ldegregory@tampabay.com. Follow @LaneDeGregory.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A citrus grove in eastern Hillsborough County. [Times (2017)]
    The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is predicting a 3.3 percent increase for the struggling industry.
  2. Gas prices may go up as much as 5 cents this week, AAA, The Auto Club Group, said. Pictured is a man filling up at a gas station in St. Petersburg in 2017. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times  (2017)] SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Gas dropped 10 cents on average in Tampa Bay last week and 6 cents on average in Florida.
  3. Artist Danny Acosta completes re-lettering  of the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A. marker in Key West after much of the paint was stripped off in Hurricane Irma in 2017. [Florida Keys News Bureau via the Associated Press]
    Less than 10 percent of U.S. counties are "vacation home'' counties.
  4. The Maple Street Biscuit Company opened in April on the 600 block of Central Avenue. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    The popular Jacksonville biscuit shop has recently opened a handful of Tampa Bay locations.
  5. [Getty Images] PHOTOGRAPHER: RASMUS JURKATAM; RASMUS JURKATAM  |  Getty Images
    A frustrated business card user learns that his on-time payments don’t boost his personal credit score.
  6. Regina Temple is the new president and CEO at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. HCA West Florida
    Read this and more Pasco County business news.
  7. The City Council has called for consultants to design an outdoor concert pavilion with a fixed covering over 4,000 seats in the middle of its proposed overhaul of the downtown waterfront. That decision is causing some friction in the city as officials prepare to present preliminary design drawings to the public. City of Clearwater
    Some in the city are divided over Clearwater’s $64.5 million plan.
  8. Tampa Bay workers are more likely than employees in other metros to quit because of a boss they don’t like, according to a recent survey. Pictured are job seekers at a Tampa job fair in June. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa Bay and Miami tied for the percentage of employees who quit because of a boss.
  9. Recent sunny day flooding in Shore Acres, a St. Petersburg neighborhood vulnerable to rising sea levels. [Times] Susan Taylor Martin
    The organizations will explore the impact of climate change on Florida.
  10. The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - Pasco Extension opened an incubator kitchen on Sept. 23. It's  at 15029 14th Street in Dade City. The goal of the kitchen is to create educational opportunities for food entrepreneurs and help them to start new businesses. Whitney Eleamor (center left) developed the idea for the kitchen. PAIGE FRY  |  Paige Fry
    The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week for the Pasco County Extension Service community kitchen.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement