Items That 'Don't Spark Joy' Piling Up at Secondhand Stores

Margie Shafer
January 29, 2019 - 3:33 pm
Donations at a Bay Area thrift store.

Margie Shafer/KCBS Radio

A Netflix show has started a cleaning revolution, and the de-cluttering is having an impact on area thrift stores.

Gary is a regular at the goodwill in San Mateo. He loves collecting porcelain items and paintings to decorate his Victorian home. These days, the line to donate items appears to be getting longer.

“I don’t know if it’s the store. I don’t know if it’s the area, but this store here, all day long, until maybe three o’clock comes the donations,” he told KCBS Radio.

Claudia was one of those people in line. She dropped off a bag of donations that included clothes with the tags still on.

“I’m just trying to make it so my house is less cluttered and my life is less cluttered,” she said. “It’s just all connected, right?”

The goods are coming in so regularly that some thrift stores in the East Bay are limiting the amount that people can donate, all because they have recently been inundated with people taking some of the clutter out of their lives.

It’s been dubbed "the Kondo effect.”

St. Mary's communication Professor Ellen Rigsby, who researches media and pop culture, says the Nexflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has hit a nerve because one of Kondo’s main principles is to ask yourself, "Does it spark joy?" 

“Her Netflix series just dropped recently and everyone is watching it, and everyone is talking about doing her method to some degree or why they’re not doing it or making fun of it,” Rigsby said. “It’s really part of the culture right now.”

Rigsby finds joy in reading and, like any avid reader, owns lots of books. One of Kondo’s suggestions is that people keep fewer than 40 books.

“I know that will never happen for me,” Rigsby said.

But she does say Kondo’s methods of setting up her house to accommodate all those books without being “a dust factory” is one piece of advice she can use and still keep her home library fully stocked. 

Written by Brian Krans.