KonMari Method Sweeps Boulder County, Fills Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops
Something happened on Jan. 1.
In the new year, donation centers, nonprofits and consignment stores started seeing modest to large upticks in incoming goods. More people were donating household items and selling clothes at a time of year that some say is generally slower.
Their inspiration? Marie Kondo and her eponymous Netflix show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” that dropped on the first day of 2019.
Kondo is famous for her KonMari method, explained in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” The consultant teaches her clients around the world to only keep items that “spark joy,” and to thank the items they discard for their service.
The idea has apparently caught on in Boulder County.
“We definitely have seen a spike in donations, almost instantly, since the first of the month,” said Jennifer Greany, owner of ARES Thrift Store in Boulder. Up to 20 people each day mention Marie Kondo’s name as their inspiration for donating, she said.
At first, Greany was worried the supply and demand of organizational products would “get out of whack” as people started buying them to KonMari their homes. But then people also started to donate what they weren’t using that, presumably, didn’t “spark joy.”
The store is handling the influx “happily,” Greany said, and staff is staying late some nights to handle any large donations.
The year has been off to a good start at the Mountain States Children’s Home Thrift Store in Longmont as well, according to manager Jordan Schow. While he said there is usually a small surge after Christmas for donations children’s toys, this year “has been significantly more,” though donors have yet to mention Kondo’s name.
“I think there has definitely been an influx,” Schow said, adding he has heard the same from several other stores. “We were blessed the beginning of this year.”
Nonprofits and donation centers aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of KonMari. Common Threads in Boulder, a consignment store, even posted a Vogue article explaining the best ways to purge a closet after watching Kondo’s new show.
“It’s actually pretty busy compared to what it has been in the past for this time of the year,” said Sarah Strain, a manager at the store. “It’s funny, because when people bring us their consignment they mention the Marie Kondo book or the show.”
Strain said staff are grateful for the influx and, while they’re sometimes left “wondering what’s left in your closet,” they appreciate being able to cut down on waste by re-selling items.
Michelle Apodaca, manager at Plato’s Closet in Boulder, said the store has had a 30 percent increase in sellers this month.
“We always need inventory because we buy all seasons,” she said, so it’s not yet a problem. While the store hasn’t turned anyone away, it has been slightly stricter than usual regarding the condition of items it will accept.
In Longmont, Fabulous Finds Upscale Consignment is seeing the same trend. Patrice Rabe, an associate at the store, said some customers have come in after watching the show to sell dish sets and other cluttering items.
At the Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop and Consignment store, manager Diane McCarthy said it is hard to know what is KonMari-inspired purging and what is coming from people being turned down at other thrift stores.
Because the Boulder-area Salvation Army now handles all of its own inventory, instead of sending it to Denver for processing, McCarthy said it sometimes turns down donations.
Those people often come to Greenwood next, asking for a place to donate.
“Now, I don’t know if it’s just that or more of the show,” she said. “We do get a few people coming in saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m getting rid of everything.’”
But, she said, they hear that every day as people consolidate to smaller living places to take advantage of Boulder’s real estate market.
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, firstname.lastname@example.org