Thrift stores reporting an influx of donations as Iowans embrace Marie Kondo
If you have become obsessed with tidying up and getting rid of old clothes thanks to Marie Kondo’s technique just like the rest of the country, chances are you have a pile of items you wanna get rid of. Susana Victoria Perez has more. Buzz60
When Jodi White came into work the first week of January, she was shocked.
Typically, Januarys are quiet at Dress for Success, a Des Moines-based organization that collects weekly donations for women who need professional attire for job interviews and work.
But on this regular January day, more than double the average amount of donors came in with clothing to give away.
“It was so insanely busy,” White said. “I was like, ‘What’s going on?’”
Meet the "Marie Kondo Effect," a movement that's taken over the United States as a result of the Netflix show, "Tidying up with Marie Kondo."
The show features optimistic and peppy Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, author and now, streaming influencer.
In the show, she teaches the "KonMari" method and encourages people to declutter their spaces by keeping items they truly feel passionate about and that "spark joy."
Now, Iowa non-profit organizations and thrift stores are reaping in the benefits.
Even when there was torrential snow and ice, people were coming into Dress for Success with donations.
The non-profit organization typically sees five to 10 donations a week. Since the start of January, their weekly donations have doubled to 20 or more.
“I ended up watching the show and decluttering myself and learned how to fold my clothes at home,” White said.
Goodwill of Central Iowa received a 63 percent increase in donations the first week of January in comparison to last year. Kondo's show came out on Dec. 31 — signaling it may have made a difference.
Over the first three weeks of January, Goodwill saw an influx of 5,693 more donations than during the same time period in 2018.
“She talks about things that bring you joy and the great thing is that central Iowans are realizing that just because it doesn’t bring them joy, it doesn’t mean it won’t for someone else,” said Alison Cate, director of marketing for Goodwill of Central Iowa.
A simple line from Kondo in the Netflix show stuck out to Beth Dorsett, 51, of West Des Moines: "I love mess."
Dorsett is a self-described messy person. As an empty nester, her home reflected a house brimming with people. Each room had its own unique array of clutter, from papers to books, and her walk-in closet was, well, unwalkable.
"It was embarrassing to have people over. Finding anything would get really frustrating," Dorsett said.
Pulling out and sorting her clothing took eight hours over two days. Following the KonMari method, she put her clothes in a giant pile in a central location and then determined what items she truly felt emotions about.
In the end, she donated seven large bags of clothing and linens to Dress for Success, Goodwill and West Des Moines Human Services.
"You get into a spot where you realize, 'Wouldn’t it be better if someone else loved it?'" Dorsett said.
For Thao Pham, 27, of Urbandale, the decluttering process forced her to think about what items she felt passionately about. She ended up donating clothing to Goodwill and selling items at Stuff Etc., a consignment store.
"As cheesy as that sounds, in the long run, it’s a lot better to only own a few items that give you joy rather than a ton of items that give you mixed emotions," Pham said.
Emma Wright, 23, of Davenport, has lived in her grandparents' basement for the last two years and started accumulating more things than she needed.
The process of getting rid of things proved beneficial to her life and she plans on donating her clothing to Goodwill once the influx of items dies down.
"I’ve noticed it’s almost improved my mental health to have less stuff around," Wright said.
In the end, Dorsett said she even donated clothing items that still had a tag on or that she didn't own for very long. But after she realized they weren't benefiting her and didn't bring sentimental value, it felt better to give them away.
"It's great to have that weight lifted off of me," Dorsett said. "I feel like somebody can get better use out of them than I can."