New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Sparking Joy: NYU Students Tidy Up

Master Marie Kondo’s KonMari method while making money.
Julia McNeill
A pile of folded clothing, ready to be donated. (Staff Photo by Julia McNeill)

The new year brought about not only the typically neglected annual resolutions but the premiere of the Netflix original series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In the show, Kondo employs her tidying expertise to declutter the homes and lives of everyday people. 

Detailed in her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Kondo discusses her innovative way of decluttering — the KonMari method. This approach prioritizes the emotional value of an object over the item’s function, leaving only the products that are considered essential for one’s environment. In “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” she puts this method into practice.

Since the show’s release, viewers have been motivated to eliminate items they no longer use. Perhaps because a college student’s life is stereotypically synonymous with being messy and disorganized, many find that the new semester is the perfect time to say goodbye to the old.

The ideal place to start, argues Kondo, is by evaluating their already cramped closets and determining whether each item brings joy. Even though it may be difficult to part with items in a city where materialism seems mandatory, it can be beneficial to create a cleaner environment where everything in the space has a purpose.

After separating unwanted goods, the new challenge becomes “where should it go?” With regard to clothes, students often turn to one of three choices — donating them to charity, selling them to a thrift store or utilizing apps like Poshmark and Depop to curate an online shop.

GLS sophomore Meredith Chaffin practices the KonMari method with her mother, both getting rid of their excess clothes while deepening their mother-daughter relationship. 

“My mom watched ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,’ and she became obsessed,” Chaffin said. “She would hold a cloth to her and asks if it sparks joy. For me, I ask if it’s useful, and if it’s not, we donate it.”

Before turning to donating, Tisch School of the Arts sophomore Mae Schuberth lets her roommates have a first peek at her unwanted clothing items. They bond over sorting through their clothes together, yet they avoid getting too attached to their own wardrobes. 

“My roommates and I put all of our clothes together in a bag,” Schuberth said. “We go through the bag and keep clothes from each other. After that, we donate the rest.” 

Like Schuberth, NYU Shanghai junior Julia Myers first reaches out to her friends before giving her unwanted clothes away to thrift stores. 

“I gave some of my clothes to my friends through a clothing swap, and my sister dropped the rest at a thrift store,” Myers said. 

With thrifting, there is the option to not only sell but buy clothes. At Buffalo Exchange, they assign a price for the clothes brought in, and the person donating the clothes can walk away with either 30 percent of that amount in cash or 50 percent in store credit. Similar to Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet offers 35 percent in cash or 55 percent in store credit. 

The last option to make a profit is utilizing apps like Poshmark and Depop. Poshmark charges 20 percent of commission for each item over $15 and provides a shipping label once an item is sold. However, since these apps are becoming increasingly more popular, it is difficult for someone’s closet to stand out unless they have many friends willing to buy from them or a fanbase that follows them consistently. 

Because of this drawback, students are more likely to turn to donating and thrift stores as opportunities to tidy up their threads. Some, like Schuberth, do it for the simple and heartwarming reason of giving away their excess to those in need.

“I’ve considered [selling my clothes on apps], but I would rather give it to someone who needs them,” Schuberth said. 

A version of this article appears in the Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, print edition. Email Alexandria Johnson at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Alexandria Johnson
Alexandria Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
Alex is a senior double-majoring in Journalism and Public Policy. She is a New York native (representing Queens!), and she loves to talk about how songs have gotten shorter recently, trying to meet her celebrity crush (she'll never tell) and her passion for painting album covers. She's definitely NOT a professional artist, but it helps her pass the time. Follow her on IG and Twitter @a_johnson_2021.
Julia McNeill
Julia McNeill, Multimedia Editor

Julia McNeill is a senior studying Art History, Computing and Data Science, and Web Development. When she was a child, she used to study the pages of National Geographic and dream of becoming a photographer. You can usually find her eating mac ’n’ cheese, drinking seltzer, doing crossword puzzles and reading Wikipedia plot summaries before watching films. When she wants to relax, she resorts to meticulously organizing her Spotify playlists. She adores hiking and camping and would like to escape the city sometime soon. You can find her on her instagram @julia.mcneill.

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